FutureFocus May 16, 2018: Patient’s Right to Freedom of Choice: Key Findings

Lisa Remington

In this week’s FutureFocus, we continue our discussions on patient's rights and their preferences to where they want to be cared for. A review of 57 studies provide key findings. The focus on palliative care consultations comes to the forefront in a study of 130,000 adults with serious illness. The study analyzed adults receiving palliative care consultants, and those that did not and the impact to hospital savings. A new rule protecting DME, expanding telehealth and focusing on improved care was announced giving emphasis to rural healthcare.

Lisa Remington, President, Remington Health Strategy Group

Results from a JAMA Internal Medicine study examining 130,000 adults with serious illness found palliative care consultations within 3 days of a hospital admission, reduced hospitalization costs, compared to a group that did not receive this care.

The estimated association was greater for those with a primary diagnosis of cancer and those with more comorbidities compared with those with a noncancer diagnosis and those with fewer comorbidities.

The study titled, Economics of Palliative Care for Hospitalized Adults With Serious Illness, found when palliative care was added to a patient's treatment, hospitals saved an average of $3,237 per patient over the course of a hospital stay compared to patients who did not receive palliative care. Additionally, for cancer patients, hospitals saved an average of $4,251 per stay. For non-cancer patients, hospitals saved an average of $2,105 per stay.

Savings were higher in patients with four or more illnesses than in those with two or fewer. The study concludes these results suggest "it may be possible for acute care hospitals to reduce costs by expanding palliative care capacity."

According to the release, palliative care teams "provide an extra layer of support to patients, and families of patients, with complex health needs. Palliative care provides expert pain and symptom management guidance in the treatment of serious illness as well as communicating care options before and after discharge.


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