Palliative Care Reduces Hospital Costs at End of Life

Topic: Measuring Impact and Value


Alinea health 6 pc reduces costs end of life.jpg

Study information:  Net hospital costs in 2011 were tabulated for patients who died in the hospital, with length of stay of 4 days or greater, and who received palliative care consultation at least 2 days prior to death.  Costs were measured for the final 3 hospital days, with data specific to hospital, patient diagnosis, and allocation of costs. A comparison group are patients with the same inclusion criteria, but who did not receive palliative care consultation.

Study results:  The table below provides a summary for the 4 hospitals.  The average cost for the final 3 hospital days was always greater for patients with no palliative care, regardless of diagnosis or hospital. There were a total of 475 palliative care consults provided meeting study inclusion criteria, compared to 239 patients were not seen by palliative care.  This study group represents only 13% of total consults seen, and demonstrates cost avoidance that exceeds total program costs. 

Savings per consult    Net savings    Expense    Team size

      Abbott    $ 3,702     $ 685,000        $ 317, 000   7.3

      United    $ 1,721     $ 215,000        $ 210,000    2.6

      Mercy    $ 1,935     $ 122,000        $ 104,000    3.0

      Unity    $ 1,734      $ 110,000         $ 124,000    1.6

TOTAL        $ 1,132,000    $ 775,000


  • Joe Amberg, MD
  • Medical Director Palliative Care
  • Allina Health Hospice and Palliative Care
  • 1055 Westgate Dr., Suite 100
  • St. Paul, MN 55114
  • (612) 262-7693


  • Lori Motschenbacher, Manager, System Financial Analysis

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