KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Hospice Care Often Provides Benefits For Survivors, Too

A pair of Chicago Sun-Times stories outline new research findings regarding hospice care. Meanwhile, an Arizona lawmaker pushes to restore hospice care to the category of Medicaid-covered services, arguing that the care is not only better, but more cost-effective.

Chicago Sun-Times: Study: Hospice Care Benefits Survivors
Hospice care doesn't only benefit the dying. It also improves outcomes for their survivors as well, a recent study of cancer patients found. Researchers from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute found that patients who died in the hospital or intensive care unit experienced more physical and emotional distress and worse quality of life in the final months of their life than patients who died at home (Thomas, 3/13).

Chicago Sun-Times: More Terminally Ill Choosing To Die At Home, Report Finds
When asked, most Americans say they'd rather die at home than in a hospital. A government report suggests that's happening more than in the past, though nearly 40 percent of deaths still occur in hospitals - a shift that experts say has been fueled by a greater acceptance and availability of hospice care (Thomas, 3/13).

The Arizona Republic: Arizona Lawmaker Wants Return Of Medicaid Hospice Care
Restoring hospice care to Medicaid-covered services in Arizona would provide better and more cost-effective care for dying patients, a lawmaker said. Rep. Matt Heinz, D-Tucson, authored a bill that would allow for individuals covered by the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System to receive end-of-life services at in-patient hospice facilities. "It is a lot more cost-effective as compared to an acute-care facility, a hospital or a hospital's ICU," he said (Salazar, 3/11). 

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