Reports Show Hospice Saves Medicare Dollars
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- Hospice care has been growing by leaps and bounds and is becoming more common. New reports are showing this kind of service isn't just improving the care of many, but helping their wallets as well.
Officials say having the Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Colorado in town is an asset to Mesa County, as it continues to serve those who are seriously ill.
“What we really know without a doubt is that hospice saves money,” said Christy Whitney, president and CEO of Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Colorado.
Whitney and her staff offer services to an estimated 3,000 people of all averages, every year.
According to recent reports, if 1,000 additional beneficiaries enrolled in hospice 15 to 30 days prior to death, Medicare could save more than 6.4 million a year, and even more if they join sooner.
“People enrolled in hospice save thousands and thousands of dollars over the cost of care,” said Whitney. “If they have six months of hospice care, I’m sure they save well over $10,000 personally.”
Taking this kind of route over other options not just saves the overall Medicare trust fund of many, but enhances the comfort level of both the patient and their family.
“They’re sick, they're scared and the hospice team is right there for them,” said Terri Walter, chief administrative officer at Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Colorado. “They have had a lot of expenses in healthcare and now they have a hospice benefit that covers whatever they need related to the reason they are in hospice.”
Whitney says it has been proven that here in Mesa County, we have the lowest cost in the last two years of life in all of the country and the most people in hospice.
“Almost all medical beneficiaries who would have a condition that would allow them to get hospice care, get hospice care. Almost 100 percent,” said Whitney.
Under this kind of Medicare plan, everything is paid for which according to officials, doesn't happen in any other part of health care.