Improving Value of Care for Older Adults With Advanced Medical Illness and Functional Decline: Cost Analyses of a Home-Based Palliative Care Program

Christina Y. Chen, James M. Naessens, Paul Y. Takahashi, Rozalina G. McCoy, Bijan J. Borah, Lynn S. Borkenhagen, Ashley K. Kimeu, Ricardo L. Rojas, Matt G. Johnson, Sue L. Visscher, Stephen S. Cha, Bjorg Thorsteinsdottir, Gregory J. Hanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Context: Identifying high-value health care delivery for patients with clinically complex and high-cost conditions is important for future reimbursement models. Objectives: The objective of this study was to assess the Medicare reimbursement savings of an established palliative care homebound program. Methods: This is a retrospective cohort study involving 50 participants enrolled in a palliative care homebound program and 95 propensity-matched control patients at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, between September 1, 2012, and March 31, 2013. Total Medicare reimbursement was compared in the year before enrollment with the year after enrollment for participants and controls. Results: No significant differences were observed in demographic characteristics or prognostic indices between the two groups. Total Medicare reimbursement per program participant the year before program enrollment was $16,429 compared with $14,427 per control patient, resulting in $2004 higher charges per program patient. In 12 months after program enrollment, mean annual payment was $5783 per patient among participants and $22,031 per patient among the matched controls. In the second year, the intervention group had a decrease of $10,646 per patient; the control group had an increase of $7604 per patient. The difference between the participant group and control group was statistically significant (P < 0.001) and favored the palliative care homebound program enrollees by $18,251 (95% CI, $11,268–$25,234). Conclusion: The Mayo Clinic Palliative Care Homebound Program reduced annual Medicare expenditures by $18,251 per program participant compared with matched control patients. This supports the role of home-based palliative medicine in delivering high-value care to high-risk older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)928-935
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of pain and symptom management
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • High-risk elder
  • homebound
  • palliative care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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