Palliative care patients spend less time in the ICU, incur less cost

Patients who received palliative care incurred $6,900 less in hospital costs during a given admission than their counterparts, according to a study in Health Affairs. 

According to the study, which examined Medicaid data for four New York Hospitals over three years, the patients who received palliative care also spent less time in intensive care, were less likely to die in intensive care units, and were more likely to receive hospice referrals than those who did not. 

The authors estimate that if all hospitals in New York with 150 beds or more implemented a palliative care program, New York could save between $84 million to $252 million annually in Medicaid costs. 

(Sources: Health Affairs, http://content.healthaffairs.org, March, 2011; AHA News Now, http://ahanews.com, March 8, 2011)