KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Study Finds Medicare May Favor Skilled-Nursing Facilities Over Hospice

According to findings published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, almost a third of Medicare beneficiaries getting end-of-life care use their benefits to pay for nursing home services.

Reuters: Do Seniors Turn To The Right Places At The End Of Life
A new study says almost one third of Medicare's beneficiaries use the program to pay for end-of-life care at nursing homes, which may not be equipped to treat or prevent pain and suffering. Those palliative care services are usually associated with hospice care, while nursing homes are typically for rehabilitation and long-term care (Seaman, 10/1).

Modern Healthcare: Medicare Benefit Structure May Favor SNFs Over Hospice Care, Study Finds
The benefit structure of Medicare and Medicaid may encourage post-hospitalization Medicare beneficiaries to go into skilled-nursing facilities instead of hospice, even though hospice may be more appropriate, according to a study published online by the Archives of Internal Medicine. The study of more than 5,100 Medicare patients found that of patients who lived in the community and had used Medicare's SNF benefit, 42% died in a nursing home, while of those patients who lived in the community and hadn't used the SNF benefit, only about 5% died in a nursing home (Barr, 10/1).

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