Hospice Care in America.

November 2013, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) released its annual report, “NHPCO Facts and Figures: Hospice Care in America,” detailing hospice trends and information about the growth, delivery and quality of hospice care in the United States.

Highlights of this report include:

Who Receives Hospice Care?
An estimated 1.5 to 1.6 million patients received hospice services in 2012. This number has steadily increased over the past several years with only 1.25 million hospice patients just four years prior. 66% of hospice care is provided in the place that the patient calls “home,” while the percentage of hospice patients receiving care in an inpatient facility is a little over 27%. Cancer is the primary diagnosis for nearly 37% of hospice patients.

Who Provides Care?
The number of hospices continues to increase each year. Today, there are over 5,500 hospice program, compared to 4,450 four years ago. Most hospices today are independent, freestanding agencies and more than a third of hospices care for more than 100 patients per day.

Who Pays for Care?
Medicare is the largest source of payment for hospice care, with nearly 84% of patients covered. 93.1% of hospice agencies have been certified by CMS, accounting for more than 3,700 hospices nationwide. In summary, hospice care continues to grow, allowing for more patients to have access to quality care at the end-of-life.  This growth also means increased competition for referrals as well as increased scrutiny by CMS. Hospices will want to carefully manage their businesses so that they can remain profitable and successful in the face of these changes.

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