End-of-life care spending linked to patient's curve of decline

An article by FierceHealthcare
June 16, 2016

It's expensive to provide care to an aging population. It's particularly costly during the last year of life.

That's the conclusion of a new study in the journal Health Affairs. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan and the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College concluded that the Medicare program's end-of-life spending runs about $40,000 to $50,000 in the last year, compared to about $7,000 per year among those beneficiaries who are not dying. But among those who were high-cost patients to begin with, the spending tended to trend even higher.

The study used a random sample of about 100,000 Medicare beneficiaries between the ages of 66 and 99 who died between 2011 and 2012. It broke them into three categories: Beneficiaries whose spending in the year before they died was persistently high; those whose spending was moderately higher than average; those whose spending ramped up gradually; and those whose spending soared suddenly as they approached death. Just under half of the group were considered persistently high spenders.

 

Read more about it here

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