By Robin Stawasz
It is awkward to try to translate the tremendously visceral and emotional spirit of hospice into dollars and cents, but as the field strives to find their place in the overall healthcare continuum it is vital that the financial impact is understood as well. The work to find how to best spend our resources and still get the high quality outcomes benefits us all – as providers, consumers, and tax payers. This latest research from the NORC at the University of Chicago as requested by NHPCO and NAHC is a substantial step in that direction.
Overall, the study found a 3.1% savings on total Medicare spend for those who were on hospice vs. those who were not, which can translate to a $3.5 billion savings for Medicare. Savings were seen for hospice length of stays over 15 days with the break-even day (when the hospice day started to cost less than a non-hospice day) occurring on day 10. Diving a bit into the data shows some interesting diagnosis-related trends. Savings were greatest for renal and respiratory disease, and not as significant for cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, with circulatory diseases coming in around the average point. These details, and more which can be found in this research, are powerful tools for hospices to leverage when demonstrating the ROI that hospice can bring potential payer and provider partners when building networks and contracts.
The benefit of hospice went beyond the financial, with hospice bringing increased satisfaction, quality of life, and pain control while reducing physical discomfort, emotional distress, and prolonged grief disorder. While all of this may be well understood for hospice providers, data such as what is contained in this study is essential for proving this value to others.
If you would like to talk more about the value of Hospice, Acclivity is here for you – please contact us.
Source Material: “Value of Hospice in Medicare” by NORC at the University of Chicago and posted by NHPCO on March 22, 2023 (https://www.nhpco.org/hospiceworks#resources)