USE CASE: Cost Savings Resulting from Palliative Care

Since its creation, CIVHC has supported palliative care as a means of addressing all three pieces of the Triple Aim. Unfortunately, reimbursement for palliative care is inadequate and as a result, palliative care is not provided as frequently as it should be to benefit patients. CIVHC facilitates a palliative care task force to promote palliative care provision and is involved in several studies to help gather the needed empirical and cost data to support that promotion.

Project Summary: This project used claims data to analyze a recent palliative care project to make a case for expanded palliative care reimbursement. The analysis could allow CIVHC to examine the cost of care for the 6 months before receiving palliative care, the cost of care during the palliative care intervention and the cost of care 6 months after receiving palliative care. The results were compared to a matched set of patients that did not receive palliative care.

Benefit to Colorado: CIVHC hoped to use this analysis for a number of purposes:

  • establish that palliative care provision saves more than it costs in total cost of care over time
  • Examine the impact of palliative care provision on behavioral health care utilization
  • Make the case for a Colorado Medicaid adult palliative care benefit
  • provide the statistical support for a much larger federal grant application that would enable a long term and in-depth evaluation of the impact of each palliative care service on total cost of care, longevity, quality of life and overall health.