To The Point

The value of ambulatory palliative care

Inpatient palliative care is costly and removes patients from their home

A simple, straight-forward definition of palliative care is a multidisciplinary approach working with those that have serious illnesses. It focuses on improving the quality of life of people by not only focusing on symptom relief, but also the psychosocial issues that are present in those with such illnesses.

Historically palliative care has been focused on inpatient treatment, which is wonderful, but really not where the focus needs to be. Since most of those with serious, chronic conditions want to spend their time outside of the inpatient setting, ambulatory palliative care is a model that is embraced by MissionPoint Health Partners for both improving the quality of care and lowering costs.

After tracking 53 Members who received ambulatory palliative care service, MissionPoint Health Partners validated that palliative care is often the right financial choice for patients as well. MissionPoint reviewed the costs incurred by the 53 patients up to and after their participating in ambulatory palliative care. Costs for these patients during their three months of enrollment in palliative care were $4,648.87 less per Member when compared to the three months of care prior to enrollment, and after factoring in the additional cost of the program, the average per Member savings was $4,196.30 over the three-month period.

These results are consistent with other findings in the literature. We believe that delivering care that is holistic in nature and encompasses all the needs of those we serve will increase not only the quality of their life, but also reduce health care costs, thus truly delivering value.

This To The Point was written by Jordan Asher, MD, MS, Chief Clinical Officer and Chief Innovation Officer. You can read more of Dr. Asher’s thoughts on value-based healthcare and healthcare reform at his blog, The Positive Contrarian.