NHPCO Releases New Facts and Figures Report on Hospice Care in America

Categories: Research.

Over half of hospice patients enrolled in hospice for 30 days or less.

NHPCO Facts and Figures (PDF), produced annually by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, provides an overview of hospice care delivery in the U.S. with specific information on hospice patient characteristics, location and level of care, Medicare hospice spending, hospice provider characteristics, and more.

Hospice professionals continue to be concerned about the number of people accessing hospice care late in the course of an illness. The NHPCO report indicates that 53.8 percent of Medicare beneficiaries received hospice care for 30 days or less in 2018. A quarter (27.9 percent) of beneficiaries received care for seven days or less, which is considered too short a period for patients to fully benefit from the person-centered care available from hospice.

Representative data shared in the new report:

  • 1.55 million Medicare beneficiaries received hospice care in 2018, an increase of 4 percent from the previous year.
  • 50.7 percent of Medicare decedents were enrolled in hospice at the time of death.
  • The average Lifelong Length of Stay (LLOS) for Medicare patients enrolled in hospice in 2018 was 89.6 days. The Median Length of Service (MLOS) was 18 days, which has changed little in the last fifteen years.
  • A principal diagnosis of cancer (29.6 percent) was the leading diagnosis among Medicare hospice patients, followed by principle diagnosis of circulatory/heart disease (17.4 percent) and dementia (15.6 percent).
  • Routine Home Care accounted for 98.2 percent of care provided. This includes care provided in the patient’s own home, an assisted living facility, nursing home, or other congregate living facility.
  • Over the course of 2018, there were 4,639 Medicare certified hospices in operation based on claims data. This represents an increase of 13.4 percent since 2014.
  • More than 55 percent of all providers have been certified for 10 or more years.

“This annual report provides a valuable snapshot of hospice care access and care, and also a reminder that we must continue to strive to make hospice care more equitable and accessible.  It is also important to remember that behind these numbers are people who rely on person- and family-centered, interdisciplinary care to help them during a time of great need,” said Edo Banach, NHPCO president and CEO.

Download the new report, NHPCO Facts and Figures (PDF).

More information about hospice care, including a Find a Provider search tool, is available from NHPCO’s CaringInfo.org website.


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