Hospice of the West Examines Financial Impact of End-of-Life Care: Overall Economic Burdens and Trends, Need for Advanced Illness Management

PHOENIX–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Hospice of the West (HOW), a leading community-based hospice and palliative care organization in Maricopa County, Arizona, points to the overall economic burdens, demographics and factors associated with end-of-life care, and the value of Advanced Illness Management (AIM) to enhance care quality and address costs. HOW assesses the impact of a rapidly growing senior population, the likelihood that many will experience some form of serious, life-limiting illness, and the fiscal impact on health systems, healthcare payers and at-risk provider organizations serving seniors.

“The senior population in America will grow by 135 percent by 2050, representing a significant trend since Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions are the heaviest users of healthcare services,” says Dr. Lucia Gregorio, associate physician, HOW. “A pattern of intense spending and over-medicalization of an aging society has resulted in exorbitant costs for the healthcare system. Approximately 35 percent of the Medicare fee-for-service spend occurs in the last year of life, and one out of every four Medicare dollars – over $125 billion – is spent on care near the end-of-life.”

The management of multiple diseases and disabilities puts a significant strain on health systems and health plan/payer resources. As functions deteriorate and the outlook for recovery dims, many patients receive care that is fragmented, uncoordinated or inadequate to meet their growing needs and personal wishes.

“Patients often suffer through unnecessary, costly and even harmful treatments despite overriding expert opinion that when patients have a terminal illness, at some point more disease treatment does not equal better care,” she adds.

She cites the growing recognition of AIM as an important element of a population health approach, a potential solution to ensuring quality while easing economic burdens.

“AIM is becoming critical for this vulnerable population,” she concludes. “Outcomes and services are measured and valued at a population level rather than just service encounters between individual clinicians and patients.”


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