Estimating Costs for a Palliative Care Program
A major cost for the palliative care program will be staffing. Determine how many FTEs are needed in each staff category—whether comprised of part-time, full-time or both—based upon projected daily census. (See Estimating Program Volume)
The downloadable spreadsheet, Sample Consult Service Budget can be used to create a program budget. The references below are taken from this spreadsheet. The Department Administrator or Human Resources can provide average salary rates to use in:
- Budgeting (A), as well as
- Benefits percentages (B).
- Salary plus benefits can now be determined (A+C=D).
The staff expense (D) is then pro-rated by the actual number of FTEs (F) to determine the total cost of each staff category. That is, if salary plus benefits equal $216,000, then the staff expense of 0.3 FTE is equal to $216,000 x 0.3 or $64,800(F). Summing the total cost for each staff category provides the total staff and overhead costs.
Budgeting for a Palliative Care Inpatient Unit is similar, but depends upon the size of the unit. In most cases, a cost efficient inpatient unit needs to be of a certain size due to the need to staff for continuous direct clinical care (3 shifts, 24/7). Achieving economic efficiencies with a small unit will be difficult unless staff can be shared with an adjacent unit or the unit's beds can be used by others (inpatient hospice or float overflow from other services).