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Hospice Outreach to Minorities Could Save Medicare $270 Million

Posted on Monday, October 7, 2019 12:41 AM

New research has found that reaching out to minorities and underserviced communities could save Medicare $270 million, while also providing quality care at the end of their lives.

“We all know the quality of life benefits but seeing the economic potential can be helpful,” researcher Courtney Hughes, associate professor at Northern Illinois University, told Hospice News. “We looked at the Medicare population and found that if we close that gap between white individuals who elect hospice and racial ethnic minorities it would result in an additional $270 million in savings in a year.”

According to the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization, 87% of Medicare decedents were Caucasian in 2016, 8% were African American, 2.1% were Hispanic and 1.2% were Asian. 

Medicare spends almost 20% more for care in the last year of life among black and Hispanic patients than white patients due to low utilization of hospice.  If more minority patients choose hospice it would save approximately $2,105 per Medicare hospice enrollee, the study found.

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