Palliative care increases patient and family satisfaction, improves quality, and can help extend survival. The resulting cost savings are an unintended but welcome consequence of providing high-quality care.

The Palliative Care Hospital Impact Calculator is designed to help you project overall cost savings for your inpatient palliative care consult service. The projected savings are reductions in direct costs to the hospital for Medicare Part A services.

To estimate cost savings, the Calculator uses a mix of data you provide—including annual admissions, annual new consults, and total interdisciplinary team (IDT) full-time equivalents (FTEs)—and data reference points from the National Palliative Care Registry™ (summarized in the publication How We Work: Trends and Insights in Hospital Palliative Care), cost savings from national studies, and representative estimates for the average cost per IDT FTE and average billing revenue per episode of care.

Calculations assume that a team has adequate staffing of specially trained interdisciplinary staff to provide timely and appropriate care for complex patients, including sufficient follow-up visits.

Cost savings will vary by institution and are impacted by the service quality of your program and by the mix of patients served by your team. Best results come when palliative care needs are identified early in the hospital stay and when there is a significant palliative care presence in the intensive care unit (ICU).

Discharges and admissions are very similar, so you can use discharges if you have that number.
Refer to the FAQ below for a shortcut to help you estimate this data.

Please limit to FTEs for physicians, advanced practice registered nurses, registered nurses, social workers, and chaplains.
Higher FTEs are associated with higher penetration rates, timely follow-ups, and higher savings.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can estimate annual admissions using the following shortcut:

[(Staffed Beds x 365 days) * Average Occupancy Rate] / Average Length of Stay = Estimate of Admissions

Or, look up discharges on a free website, the American Hospital Directory.

Inpatient palliative care has been examined in numerous studies to assess the impact on hospital costs. The most comprehensive study was published in 2008, and was based on a multisite study of 43,000 live discharges and 4,700 deaths, reporting on impact on "direct costs."

Many other studies have reinforced the findings of this study and drilled into specific impact areas, such as the reduction in the use of ICU beds and the importance of early engagement with patients.

These savings have been adjusted for 2016 at an inflation rate of 1.4 for use in the calculator.

This calculator uses figures and definitions from the National Palliative Care Registry™ (summarized in the publication How We Work: Trends and Insights in Hospital Palliative Care). Please access the website and review for context and definitions.

Check out the CAPC webinar How to Use CAPC’s Impact Calculator. In addition, CAPC members have access to other resources, such as a recurring Virtual Office Hour on demonstrating value through measurement and tools and technical assistance on financing, demonstrating value, and making the case for palliative care.

Hospital Impact Calculator