Changes in Medicare Costs with the Growth of Hospice Care

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Use of hospice services amongst nursing home residents significantly increased between 2004 and 2009 providing an opportunity to examine changes in Medicare expenditures in the last year of life. Pedro Gozalo and colleagues recently published in N Engl J Med the results of an observational study assessing overall spending, the use of the ICU in the last 30 days of life as well as feeding-tube use and hospital transfers for patients with advanced dementia within the last 90 days of life.  The study concluded that the growth in hospice care for nursing home residents was associated with less aggressive care near death but at an overall increase in Medicare expenditures.

Link to abstract: Changes in Medicare Costs with the Growth of Hospice Care in Nursing Homes (05/2015)

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