Hospice Cares More and Costs Less
On December 14, 2012 the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals announced the elimination of the Medicaid Hospice Care Benefit through June 30, 2014. The cuts go into effect February 1, 2013.
Jordan's Crossing Hospice has joined forces with the Alliance for the Advancement of End-of-Life Care and other Hospice Providers to launch a statewide campaign against this legislation.
Governor Bobby Jindal claims that by eliminating Medicaid payments for hospice care he will save the state money. This is false!
Numerous studies have been conducted in other states that were considering this, which found it would cost them more.
They chose to continue to provide funding for hospice care. Arizona tried eliminating their hospice coverage and costs went up nearly 5%
in just one year, so the state reinstated hospice care benefits.
In the game of numbers it is easy to see that Hospice Care, while not only being the most efficient method of care, is the most cost effective way to help those in need of end-of-life care.
Louisiana's Medicaid program reimburses hospice providers at a rate of $137 per day. This pays for:
- Home visits from the Hospice Medical Director, Nurses, CNAs, Social Workers and Chaplains
- Medications needed for symptom control and pain management
- Medical equipment necessary for the patient's comfort and safety
- Medical supplies
- Education and assistance with Medical Documents
- Spiritual and Bereavement support for the entire family
Without hospice services, terminally ill patients will, in a medical crisis, seek treatment in hospital emergency rooms. Data released by MEPS (Medical Expenditure Panel Survey) concluded that the average/mean cost of an Emergency Room visit in 2009 was $1318 (meps.ahrq.gov/mepsweb/data_stats/tables_compendia_hh_interactive.jsp) One visit to the E.R. at this cost is equal to approximately 9 days of hospice care. In addition, charges for a hospitalization soared from an average $17,390 in 2000 to $33,079 in 2010. (www.facethefactsusa.org/facts/hospital-costs-nearly-double-in-decade/ ). One hospital stay at a cost of $33,079 is equal to over 8 months of hospice care. And to think that these numbers do not include the medications or medical supplies that terminally ill patients need!
We are calling upon the public, family members of terminally ill patients, hospice and healthcare professionals, policy-makers and legislators to join us to save this compassionate care.
On January 23, 2013, just moments before the scheduled Candlelight Vigil, Louisiana DHH announced that they would not stop Medcaid Hospice Benefits!!!!
We are extremely pleased with the turn of events. DHH has stated that they will be reviewing, and plan to make changes to, the Medicaid Hospice Benefit very soon. We at Jordan's Crossing Hospice, along with the Alliance for Hospice and LMHPCO, will be watching for any announcements that will effect Hospice Care. We will update our website with information as it becomes available.
Click the link below to see the DHH Press Release