“We have found that palliative care teams, when working with the right population, are consistently effective in improving outcomes and care appropriateness across a variety of programs and different parts of the country.”
James Mittelberger, MD, MPH
Former Director and Chief Medical Officer, Optum Center for Palliative and Supportive Care
Integrating palliative care into the care of the top 5-10% of spenders in the U.S. can improve the quality of care delivered. Palliative care results in fewer symptom crises, reducing unnecessary utilization and bending the cost curve.
Listen to CAPC Director, Dr. Diane Meier, talk to the Catalyst for Payment Reform about the value of palliative care and why it is a secret "decoder ring" for the health care system.
Evidence Shows Palliative Care Improves Quality
Numerous studies show that palliative care significantly improves patient quality of life and lowers symptom burden. Apart from being the right thing to do for patients, this also means that an encounter with the health care system is less stressful and traumatic for families.
Palliative Care Delivers Value
Integrating palliative care into the care of seriously ill people (particularly the top 5-10% of patients who account for approximately 50% of spending) in the U.S. can improve the quality of care delivered. Palliative care results in fewer symptom crises, which reduces unnecessary utilization and bends the cost curve. This is good for consumers, providers, and payers of health care. Consider the published results from palliative care services implemented at a health plan and an accountable care organization. Despite different settings and different approaches, net savings—due to avoidance of preventable crises—are similar.
Aetna Medicare Advantage
ProHealth Accountable Care Organization
These results are consistent with a wide body of evidence showing improved patient experience, reduced emergency department (ED) visits, and reduced days spent in intensive care, among other quality and spending outcomes. The following resources summarize these findings:
- "Evidence on the Cost and Cost-Effectiveness of Palliative Care"
- "An Introduction to Palliative Care for Patients with Serious Illness"
- "Palliative Care Improves Quality of Life, Lowers Costs"
- "Achieving Value Through Palliative Care"
- "Paying to Keep Seniors Out of the Hospital"
- The Benefits of Palliative Care in Oncology Care Presentation to the Association of Community Cancer Centers, Community Oncology Alliance, and the Oncology Nurses Society
- "Palliative Care Consultation Teams Cut Hospital Costs for Medicaid Beneficiaries"
To learn more about palliative care and its benefits to population health management, please see the following palliative care resources: