Palliative Care Reduces Hospital Costs at End of Life
Topic: Measuring Impact and Value
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
- Lori Motschenbacher, Manager, System Financial Analysis