Immunotherapy using one's own T cells that are genetically engineered to express a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) is an emerging therapy for hematologic and non-hematologic cancer. CAR T cell therapy has induced rapid and durable clinical responses in otherwise fatal cancers, but is associated with unique, possibly severe, toxicities. This Fast Facts discusses the basics of CAR T cell therapy for clinicians, approved indications, and toxicities.
BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reimburses clinicians for advance care planning (ACP) discussions with Medicare patients. The objective of the study was to examine the association of CMS-billed ACP visits with end-of-life (EOL) healthcare utilization.
DESIGN: Patient-level analyses of claims for the random 20% Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) sample of decedents in 2017. To account for multiple comparisons, Bonferroni adjusted P value <.008 was considered statistically significant.
SETTING: Nationally representative sample of Medicare FFS beneficiaries.
PARTICIPANTS: A total of 237,989 Medicare FFS beneficiaries who died in 2017 and included those with and without a billed ACP visit during 2016–17.
INTERVENTION: The key exposure variable was receipt of first billed ACP (none, >1 month before death).
MEASUREMENTS: Six measures of EOL healthcare utilization or intensity (inpatient admission, emergency department [ED] visit, intensive care unit [ICU] stay, and expenditures within 30 days of death, in-hospital death, and first hospice within 3 days of death). Analyses was adjusted for age, race, sex, Charlson Comorbidity Index, expenditure by Dartmouth hospital referral region (high, medium, or low), and dual eligibility.
RESULTS: Overall, 6.3% (14,986) of the sample had at least one billed ACP visit. After multivariable adjustment, patients with an ACP visit experienced significantly less intensive EOL care on four of six measures: hospitalization (odds ratio [OR] = .77; 95% confidence interval [CI] = .74–.79), ED visit (OR = .77; 95% CI = .75–.80), or ICU stay (OR = .78; 95% CI = .74–.81) within a month of death; and they were less likely to die in the hospital (OR = .79; 95% CI = .76–.82). There were no differences in the rate of late hospice enrollment (OR = .97; 95% CI = .92–1.01; P = .119) or mean expenditures ($242.50; 95% CI = -$103.63 to $588.61; P = .169).
CONCLUSION: Billed ACP visits were relatively uncommon among Medicare FFS decedents, but their occurrence was associated with less intensive EOL utilization. Further research on the variables affecting hospice use and expenditures in the EOL period is recommended to understand the relative role of ACP.
Importance: Palliative care has shown benefits in reducing symptom intensity and quality of life in patients with advanced cancer. However, high-quality evidence to support palliative care policy and service developments for patients with long-term neurological conditions (LTNCs) is lacking.
Objective: To determine the effectiveness of a short-term integrated palliative care (SIPC) intervention for people with LTNCs.
Design, Setting, and Participants: Multicenter, phase 3, randomized clinical trial conducted from April 1, 2015, to November 30, 2017, with a last follow-up date of May 31, 2018, in 7 UK hospitals with both neurology and palliative care services. A total of 535 patients with LTNC were assessed for eligibility and 350 were randomized. Inclusion criteria were patients 18 years or older with any advanced stage of multiple sclerosis, motor neuron disease, idiopathic Parkinson disease multiple system atrophy, or progressive supranuclear palsy. Data were analyzed from November 2018 to March 2019.
Interventions: Patients were randomized 1:1 using minimization method to receive SIPC (intervention, n = 176) or standard care (control, n = 174).
Main Outcomes and Measures: Primary outcome was change in 8 key palliative care symptoms from baseline to 12-weeks, measured by the Integrated Palliative care Outcome Scale for neurological conditions. Secondary outcomes included change in the burden of other symptoms, health-related quality of life, caregiver burden, and costs. Data were collected and analyzed blindly by intention to treat.
Results: A total of 350 patients (mean [SD] age 67  years; years since diagnosis, 12 [range, 0-56]; 51% men; 49% requiring considerable assistance) with an advanced stage of LTNC were recruited, along with informal caregivers (n = 229). There were no between-group differences in primary outcome (effect size, -0.16; 95% CI, -0.37 to 0.05), any other patient-reported outcomes, adverse events, or survival. Although there was more symptom reduction in the SIPC group in relation to mean change in primary outcome, the difference between the groups was not statistically significant (-0.78; 95% CI, -1.29 to -0.26 vs -0.28; 95% CI, -0.82 to 0.26; P = .14). There was a decrease in mean health and social care costs from baseline to 12 weeks -$1367 (95% CI, -$2450 to -$282) in the SIPC group and -653 (95% CI, -$1839 to -$532) in the control group, but this difference was not statistically significant (P = .12). SIPC was perceived by patients and caregivers as building resilience, attending to function and deficits, and enabling caregivers.
Conclusions and Relevance: In this study, SIPC was not statistically significantly different from standard care for the patient-reported outcomes. However, SIPC was associated with lower cost, and in qualitative analysis was well-received by patients and caregivers, and there were no safety concerns. Further research is warranted.
Advance care planning is considered an important part of high-quality end-of-life care. Its cost-effectiveness is currently unknown. In this study, we explore the cost-effectiveness of a strategy, in which advance care planning is offered systematically to older people at the end-of-life compared with standard care. We conducted decision-analytic modelling. The perspective was health and social care and the time horizon was 1 year. Outcomes included were quality-adjusted life years as they referred to the surviving carers. Data sources included published studies, national statistics and expert views. Average total cost in the advance care planning versus standard care group was £3,739 versus £3,069. The quality-adjusted life year gain to carers was 0.03 for the intervention in comparison with the standard care group. Based on carer's health-related quality-of-life, the average cost per quality-adjusted life year was £18,965. The probability that the intervention was cost-effective was 55% (70%) at a cost per quality-adjusted life year threshold of £20,000 (£30,000). Conducting cost-effectiveness analysis for advance care planning is challenging due to uncertainties in practice and research, such as a lack of agreement on how advance care planning should be provided and by whom (which influences its costs), and about relevant beneficiary groups (which influences its outcomes). However, even when assuming relatively high costs for the delivery of advance care planning and only one beneficiary group, namely, family carers, our analysis showed that advance care planning was probably cost-effective.
Background: Palliative Care Day Services (PCDS) offer supportive care to people with advanced, progressive illness who may be approaching the end of life. Despite the growth of PCDS in recent years, evidence of their costs and effects is scarce. It is important to establish the value of such services so that health and care decision-makers can make evidence-based resource allocation decisions. This study examines and estimates the costs and effects of PCDS with different service configurations in three centres across the UK in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Methods: People who had been referred to PCDS were recruited between June 2017 and September 2018. A pragmatic before-and-after descriptive cohort study design analysed data on costs and outcomes. Data on costs were collected on health and care use in the 4 weeks preceding PCDS attendance using adapted versions of the Client Service Receipt Inventory (CSRI). Outcomes, cost per attendee/day and volunteer contribution to PCDS were also estimated. Outcomes included quality of life (MQOL-E), health status (EQ-5D-5L) and capability wellbeing (ICECAP-SCM).
Results: Thirty-eight attendees were recruited and provided data at baseline and 4 weeks (centre 1: n = 8; centre 2: n = 8, centre 3: n = 22). The cost per attendee/day ranged from £121–£190 (excluding volunteer contribution) to £172–£264 (including volunteer contribution) across the three sites. Volunteering constituted between 28 and 38% of the total cost of PCDS provision. There was no significant mean change at 4 week follow-up from baseline for health and care costs (centre 1: £570, centre 2: -£1127, centre 3: £65), or outcomes: MQOL-E (centre 1: - 0.48, centre 2: 0.01, centre 3: 0.24); EQ-5D-5L (centre 1: 0.05, centre 2: 0.03, centre 3: - 0.03) and ICECAP-SCM (centre 1:0.00, centre 2: - 0.01, centre 3: 0.03). Centre costs variation is almost double per attendee when attendance rates are held constant in scenario analysis.
Conclusions: This study highlights the contribution made by volunteers to PCDS provision. There is insufficient evidence on whether outcomes improved, or costs were reduced, in the three different service configurations for PCDS. We suggest how future research may overcome some of the challenges we encountered, to better address questions of cost-effectiveness in PCDS.
Objectives: We evaluated healthcare cost differences at the end of life (EOL) between language regions in Switzerland, accounting for a comprehensive set of variables, including treatment intensity.
Methods: We evaluated 9716 elderly who died in 2014 and were insured at Helsana Group, with data on final cause of death provided by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office. EOL healthcare costs and utilization, = 1 ICU admission and 10 life-sustaining interventions (cardiac catheterization, cardiac assistance device implantation, pulmonary artery wedge monitoring, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, gastrostomy, blood transfusion, dialysis, mechanical ventilation, intravenous antibiotics, cancer chemotherapies) reimbursed by compulsory insurance were examined.
Results: Taking into consideration numerous variables, relative cost differences decreased from 1.27 (95% CI 1.19–1.34) to 1.06 (CI 1.02–1.11) between the French- and German-speaking regions, and from 1.12 (CI 1.03–1.22) to 1.08 (CI 1.02–1.14) between the Italian- and German-speaking regions, but standardized costs still differed. Contrary to individual factors, density of home-care nurses, treatment intensity, and length of inpatient stay explain a substantial part of these differences.
Conclusions: Both supply factors and health-service provision at the EOL vary between Swiss language regions and explain a substantial proportion of cost differences.
BACKGROUND: Results of previous studies demonstrated that high-intensity end-of-life (EOL) care improves neither cancer patients' survival nor quality of life. Our objective was to assess the incidence of and factors associated with aggressiveness of care during the last 30 days of life (DOL) of lung cancer (LC) patients and the impacts of aggressiveness of care in EOL-care costs.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Using French national hospital database, all patients with LC who died between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2011, or between January 1, 2015, and January 31, 2016, were included. EOL-care aggressiveness was assessed using the following criteria: chemotherapy administered within the last 14 DOL; more than one hospitalization within the last 30 DOL; admission to the intensive care unit within the last 30 DOL; and palliative care initiated < 3 days before death. Expenditures were limited to direct costs, from a health care payer's perspective.
RESULTS: Among 79,746 adult LC patients identified; 57% had at least one indicator of EOL-care aggressiveness (49% repeated hospitalizations, 12% intensive care unit admissions, 9% chemotherapy, 5% palliative care). It increased significantly between the 2 periods (56% vs. 58%, P < .001). Young age, male sex, shorter time since diagnosis, comorbidities, no malnutrition, type of care facility other than general hospital, social deprivation, and low-density population were independently associated with having one or more indicator of aggressive EOL care. The mean EOL cost was €8152 ± 5117 per patient, but the cost was significantly higher for patients with at least one EOL-care aggressiveness criterion (€9480 vs. €6376, P < .001).
CONCLUSION: In France, a majority of LC patients had at least one criterion of aggressive EOL care that had a major economic impact on the health care system.
Palliative radiotherapy (PRT) makes up about half of all courses delivered in radiotherapy departments. It is effective in the management of common complications of cancer and is relatively inexpensive. About one third of cancer patients receive PRT within the last 2 years of life. One quarter of all patients who receive radiotherapy will undergo a second or subsequent course, mostly for palliative indications. There is considerable variation in practice, both within and between jurisdictions. This has been attributed to inconsistencies in guidelines, physician variation and differing financial incentives. Because of the widespread use of hypofractionation, variation in PRT fractionation has a lower effect on departmental capacity than variation in radical and adjuvant treatments. Excessive fractionation places an unnecessary burden on frail patients at the end of their lives and uses scarce healthcare resources. With appropriate case selection, the increased cost of fractionation or more conformal treatments can be justified where clinical benefit is expected.
Background: At a population level, conversations between clinicians and seriously ill patients exploring patients’ goals and values can drive high-value healthcare, improving patient outcomes and reducing spending.
Methods: We examined the impact of a quality improvement intervention to drive better communication on total medical expenses in a high-risk care management program. We present our analysis of secondary expense outcomes from a prospective implementation trial of the Serious Illness Care Program, which includes clinician training, coaching, tools, and system interventions. We included patients who died between January 2014 and September 2016 who were selected for serious illness conversations, using the “Surprise Question,” as part of implementation of the program in fourteen primary care clinics.
Results: We evaluated 124 patients and observed no differences in total medical expenses between intervention and comparison clinic patients. When comparing patients in intervention clinics who did and did not have conversations, we observed lower average monthly expenses over the last 6 ($6297 vs. $8,876, p = 0.0363) and 3 months ($7263 vs. $11,406, p = 0.0237) of life for patients who had conversations.
Conclusions: Possible savings observed in this study are similar in magnitude to previous studies in advance care planning and specialty palliative care but occur earlier in the disease course and in the context of documented conversations and a comprehensive, interprofessional case management program.
Implications: Programs designed to drive more, earlier, and better serious illness communication hold the potential to reduce costs.
Objectives: Hospice use reduces costly aggressive end-of-life (EOL) care (eg, repeated hospitalizations, intensive care unit care, and emergency department visits). Nevertheless, associations between hospice stays and EOL expenditures in prior research have been inconsistent. We examined the differential associations between hospice stay duration and EOL expenditures among newly diagnosed patients with cancer, congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and dementia.
Methods: In the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results–Medicare data, we identified 240 246 decedents diagnosed with the aforementioned conditions during 2001 to 2013. We used zero-inflated negative binomial regression models to examine the differential associations between hospice length of services and EOL expenditures incurred during the last 90, 180, and 360 days of life.
Results: For the last 360 days of expenditures, hospice stays beyond 30 days were positively associated with expenditures for decedents with COPD, CHF, and dementia but were negatively associated for cancer decedents (all P<.001) after adjusting for demographic and medical covariates. In contrast, for the last 90 days of expenditures, hospice stay duration and expenditures were consistently negatively associated for each of the 4 patient disease groups.
Conclusions: Longer hospice stays were associated with lower 360-day expenditures for cancer patients but higher expenditures for other patients. We recommend that Medicare hospice payment reforms take distinct disease trajectories into account. The relationship between expenditures and hospice stay length also depended on the measurement duration, such that measuring expenditures for the last 6 months of life or less overstates the cost-saving benefit of lengthy hospice stays.
Background: Many people with terminal illness prefer to die in home-like settings—including care homes, hospices, or palliative care units—rather than an acute care hospital. Home-based palliative care services can increase the likelihood of death in a community setting, but the provision of these services may increase costs relative to usual care.
Objective: The aim of this study was to estimate the incremental cost per community death for persons enrolled in end-of-life home care in Ontario, Canada, who died between 2011 and 2015.
Methods: Using a population-based cohort of 50,068 older adults, we determined the total cost of care in the last 90 days of life, as well as the incremental cost to achieve an additional community death for persons enrolled in end-of-life home care, in comparison with propensity score–matched individuals under usual care (ie, did not receive home care services in the last 90 days of life).
Results: Recipients of end-of-life home care were nearly 3 times more likely to experience a community death than individuals not receiving home care services, and the incremental cost to achieve an additional community death through the provision of end-of-life home care was CAN$995 (95% confidence interval: -$547 to $2392).
Conclusion: Results suggest that a modest investment in end-of-life home care has the potential to improve the dying experience of community-dwelling older adults by enabling fewer deaths in acute care hospitals.
BACKGROUND: Patients with advanced cancer, receiving at-home palliative care, are subject to numerous symptoms that are changeable and often require attention, a stressful situation that also impacts on the family caregiver. It has been suggested that music therapy may benefit both the patient and the caregiver. We propose a study to analyse the efficacy and cost utility of a music intervention programme, applied as complementary therapy, for cancer patients in palliative care and for their at-home caregivers, compared to usual treatment.
METHOD: A randomised, double-blind, multicentre clinical trial will be performed in cancer patients in at-home palliative care and their family caregivers. The study population will include two samples of 40 patients and two samples of 41 caregivers. Participants will be randomly assigned either to the intervention group or to the control group. The intervention group will receive a seven-day programme including music sessions, while the control group will receive seven sessions of (spoken word) therapeutic education. In this study, the primary outcome measure is the assessment of patients' symptoms, according to the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System, and of the overload experienced by family caregivers, measured by the Caregiver Strain Index. The secondary outcomes considered will be the participants' health-related quality of life, their satisfaction with the intervention, and an economic valuation.
DISCUSSION: This study is expected to enhance our understanding of the efficacy and cost-utility of music therapy for cancer patients in palliative care and for their family caregivers. The results of this project are expected to be applicable and transferrable to usual clinical practice for patients in home palliative care and for their caregivers. The approach described can be incorporated as an additional therapeutic resource within comprehensive palliative care. To our knowledge, no previous high quality studies, based on a double-blind clinical trial, have been undertaken to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of music therapy. The cost-effectiveness of the project will provide information to support decision making, thereby improving the management of health resources and their use within the health system.
Background: African Americans receive more aggressive end-of-life care than Whites. Little is known about how palliative care consultation to discuss goals-of-care (“PCC”) is associated with acute care utilization and costs by race.
Objective: To compare future acute care costs and utilization between propensity-matched cohorts of African Americans with and without PCC, and Whites with and without PCC.
Design: Secondary analysis of a retrospective cohort study.
Setting/Subjects: Thirty-five thousand one hundred and fifty-four African Americans and Whites age 18+ admitted for conditions other than childbirth or rehabilitation, who were not hospitalized at the end of the study, and did not die during index hospitalization (hospitalization during which the first PCC occurred).
Measurements: Accumulated mean acute care costs and utilization (30-day readmissions, future hospital days, future intensive care unit [ICU] admission, future number of ICU days) after discharge from index hospitalization.
Results: No significant difference between African Americans with or without PCC in mean future acute care costs ($11,651 vs. $15,050, p = 0.09), 30-day readmissions (p = 0.58), future hospital days (p = 0.34), future ICU admission (p = 0.25), or future ICU days (p = 0.30). There were significant differences between Whites with PCC and those without PCC in mean future acute care costs ($8,095 vs. $16,799, p < 0.001), 30-day readmissions (10.2% vs. 16.7%, p < 0.0001), and future days hospitalized (3.7 vs. 6.3 days, p < 0.0001).
onclusions: PCC decreases future acute care costs and utilization in Whites and, directionally but not significantly, in African Americans. Research is needed to explain why utilization and cost disparities persist among African Americans despite PCC.
BACKGROUND: Psychological distress is highly prevalent among patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.
AIMS: To perform an economic evaluation of a combined screening and treatment program targeting psychological distress in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer in comparison with usual care.
DESIGN: Societal costs were collected alongside a cluster randomized controlled trial for 48 weeks. A total of 349 participants were included.
SETTING: Participants were recruited from oncology departments at 16 participating hospitals in the Netherlands.
METHODS: Outcome measures were the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and quality-adjusted life-years. Missing data were imputed using multiple imputation. Uncertainty was estimated using bootstrapping. Cost-effectiveness planes and cost-effectiveness acceptability curves were estimated to show uncertainty surrounding the cost-effectiveness estimates. Sensitivity analyses were performed to check robustness of results.
RESULTS: Between treatment arms, no significant differences were found in Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale score (mean difference: -0.058; 95% confidence interval: -0.13 to 0.011), quality-adjusted life-years (mean difference: 0.042; 95% confidence interval: -0.015 to 0.099), and societal costs (mean difference: -1152; 95% confidence interval: -5058 to 2214). Cost-effectiveness acceptability curves showed that the probability of cost-effectiveness was 0.64 and 0.74 at willingness-to-pay values of €0 and €10,000 per point improvement on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, respectively. The probability that the intervention was cost-effective compared to usual care for quality-adjusted life-years was 0.64 and 0.79 at willingness-to-pay values of €0 and €20,000 per quality-adjusted life-year, respectively.
CONCLUSION: The intervention is dominant over usual care, primarily due to lower costs in the intervention group. However, there were no statistically significant differences in clinical effects and the uptake of the intervention was quite low. Therefore, widespread implementation cannot be recommended.
Background: Socioeconomic inequalities in access to, and utilization of medical care have been shown in many jurisdictions. However, the extent to which they exist at end-of-life (EOL) remains unclear.
Methods: Studies in MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, ProQuest, Web of Science, Web of Knowledge, and OpenGrey databases were searched through December 2019 with hand-searching of in-text citations. No publication date or language limitations were set. Studies assessing SES (e.g. income) in adults, correlated to EOL costs in last year(s) or month(s) of life were selected. Two independent reviewers performed data abstraction and quality assessment, with inconsistencies resolved by consensus.
Results: A total of twenty articles met eligibility criteria. Two meta-analyses were performed on studies that examined total costs in last year of life – the first examined costs without adjustments for confounders (n = 4), the second examined costs that adjusted for confounders, including comorbidities (n = 2). Among studies which did not adjust for comorbidities, SES was positively correlated with EOL costs (standardized mean difference, 0.13 [95% confidence interval, 0.03 to 0.24]). However, among studies adjusting for comorbidities, SES was inversely correlated with EOL expenditures (regression coefficient, -$150.94 [95% confidence interval, -$177.69 to -$124.19], 2015 United States Dollars (USD)). Higher ambulatory care and drug expenditure were consistently found among higher SES patients irrespective of whether or not comorbidity adjustment was employed.
Conclusion: Overall, an inequality leading to higher end-of-life expenditure for higher SES patients existed to varying extents, even within countries providing universal health care, with greatest differences seen for outpatient and prescription drug costs. The magnitude and directionality of the relationship in part depended on whether comorbidity risk-adjustment methodology was employed.
We assessed the trend of palliative care (PC) referrals and its effect on hospitalization cost and length of stay (LOS) in ruptured aortic aneurysm (rAA). The Nationwide Inpatient Sample from 2005 to 2014 was used to identify admissions with age =50 and rAA. A total of 54 134 rAA admissions were identified and 5019 (9.3%) had PC referrals. During the study period, PC referral rate increased from 0.97% to 15.3% (P trend < .0001). Length of stay (1.7 vs 2.8 days, adjusted mean ratio [aMR] = 0.62, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.58-0.66), and cost (US$7778 vs US$13 575, aMR = 0.57, 95% CI: 0.52-0.63) were significantly lower in rAA admissions that did not undergo interventions. In the percutaneous repair group, LOS was similar but the cost was higher (US$61 759 vs US$52 260, aMR = 1.18, 95% CI: 1.05-1.30), whereas in surgical repair group, LOS was shorter (4.6 vs 5.9 days, aMR = 0.77, 95% CI: 0.73-0.82) but the cost was higher (US$59 755 vs US$52 523, aMR = 1.14, 95% CI: 1.02-1.28). Palliative care could shorten LOS and save hospitalization cost in rAA admissions not a candidate for repair. Further studies are required to investigate the variable effects of PC on rAA.
Objective: In breast cancer patients, treatment at the end of life accounts for a major share of medical spending. However, little is known about the variability of cost trajectories between patients. This study aims to identify underlying latent groups of advanced breast cancer patients with similar cost trajectories over the last year before death.
Methods: data from deceased advanced breast cancer patients, diagnosed between 2010 and 2017, were retrieved from the Southeast Netherlands Advanced Breast Cancer (SONABRE) Registry. Costs of hospital care over the last twelve months before death were analyzed, and the variability of longitudinal patterns between patients were explored using group-based trajectory modeling. Descriptive statistics and multinomial logistic regression were applied to investigate differences between the identified latent groups.
Results: We included 558 patients. Over the last twelve months before death, mean hospital costs were €2,255 (SD = €492) per month. Costs increased over the last five months and reached a maximum of €3,614 in the last month of life, driven by hospital admissions, while spending for medication declined over the last three months of life. Based on patients’ individual cost trajectories, we identified six latent groups with distinct longitudinal patterns, of which only two showed a marked increase in costs over the last twelve months before death. Latent groups were constituted of heterogeneous patients, and clinical characteristics explained membership only to a limited extent.
Conclusions: The average costs of advanced breast cancer patients increased towards the end of life. However, we uncovered several latent groups of patients with divergent cost trajectories, which did not reflect the overall increasing trend. The mechanisms underlying the variability in cost trajectories warrants further research.
A dominant health policy narrative is that end-of-life (EOL) spending is a key driver of health care cost growth. Recent studies suggest that EOL care intensity is rising and that increased spending on hospice care costs more than it saves, raising concerns that per capita expenditures on EOL care might further accelerate.
Nonetheless, between 2000 and 2014, annual fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare spending growth was lower for decedents than for survivors, and real reductions in per capita Medicare FFS expenditures attributed to decedents accounted for most of Medicare’s cost growth mitigation between 2009 and 2014. We sought to determine whether that pattern has continued.
PURPOSE: This study evaluates whether an intervention to identify Canadian patients eligible for a palliative approach changes the use of health care resources and costs within the final month of life.
METHODS: Between 2014 and 2017, physicians identified 1,187 patients in family practice units and cancer centers who were likely to die within 1 year based on diagnosis, symptom assessment, and performance status. A multidisciplinary intervention that included activation of community resources and initiation of palliative planning was started. By using propensity-score matching, patients in the intervention group were matched 1:1 with nonintervention controls selected from provincial administrative data. We compared health care use and costs (using 2017 Canadian dollars) for 30 days before death between patients who died within the 1-year follow-up and matched controls.
RESULTS: Groups (n = 629 in each group) were well-balanced in sociodemographic characteristics, comorbidities, and previous health care use. In the last 30 days, there was no differences in proportions between the two groups of patients regarding emergency department visits, intensive care unit admissions, or inpatient hospitalizations. However, patients in the intervention group had greater use of palliative physician encounters, community home care visits, and/or physician home visits (92.8% v 88.4%; P = .007). In the 507 pairs with cancer, more patients in the intervention group underwent chemotherapy (44% v 33%; P < .001) and radiation (18.7% v 3.2%; P = .043) in the last 30 days. Mean cost per patient was similar for the intervention group (mean, $17,231; 95% CI, $16,027 to $18,436) and for the control group (mean, $16,951; 95% CI, $15,899 to $18,004).
CONCLUSION: Even with the limitations in our observational study design, identification of palliative patients did not significantly change overall costs but may shift resources toward palliative services.
RATIONALE: Even though Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a disease with high morbidity and mortality and no cure, palliative care is rarely implemented, leading to high symptom burden and unmet care needs. In 2012 we implemented a Multidisciplinary Collaborative (MDC) care model linking clinic and community multidisciplinary teams to provide an early-integrated palliative approach, focusing on early symptom management and advanced care planning (ACP).
OBJECTIVES: This study evaluates the differences in resource utilization and associated costs of end-of-life care between early-integrated palliative and conventionally treated IPF patients.
METHODS: Using administrative health data, we identified all patients in Alberta who presented to hospital with an IPF diagnosis between Jan 1, 2012 and Dec 31, 2018 and died within this timeframe. We compared 3 groups of patients: those who received (1) MDC care (our clinic patients), (2) specialist care (SC; respirologist), and (3) non-specialist care (NSC; no contact with a respiratory clinic). The primary outcomes were health care resource utilization and costs in the year before death.
RESULTS: Of 2,768 patients across three groups, MDC patients were over 3 times more likely to have received anti-fibrotic therapies over SC patients (OR=3.0; 95%CI 1.8-5.2), almost twice as likely to receive pulmonary rehab (OR=1.9; 95%CI 1.1-3.4) and 36% more likely to receive opiates (OR=1.4; 95%CI 0.8-2.3) in the last year of life. The median total health care costs in the last 3 months of life were approximately $7,700 CDN lower for MDC patients compared to those receiving specialist care, driven primarily by fewer hospitalizations and ED visits. MDC patients were also less likely to die in hospital (44.9% MDC vs 64.9% SC vs 66.8% NSC, p<0.001) and had the highest rates of no hospitalization in the last year of life.
CONCLUSIONS: An integrated palliative approach in IPF is associated with improvements in the quality of end-of-life care and reduction in costs. Transformation of care models is required to deliver a palliative approach in IPF. Multidisciplinary collaborative teams within such models can address the high burden of unmet needs for symptom management, advance care planning (ACP) and community support in this complex population.