CMS releases new hospice spending, utilization data

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released new data explaining how $15 billion on hospice care was spent in 2014.

The Hospice Utilization and Payment Public Use File, published Thursday, breaks down hospice costs and usage data by geographic location, beneficiary demographics, costs and individual provider characteristics. In 2014 alone, 1.3 million Medicare beneficiaries received a total of 92.3 million hospice care days, with each stay averaging about $11,393 per beneficiary.

In the state database, California ranks as the state with the most hospice providers at 499, totaling to more than $1.7 billion in Medicare payments. Of the 120,194 beneficiaries that received hospice care in California in 2014, 9,810 of those received care in a skilled nursing facility, while an additional 8,055 received hospice care in a non-skilled long-term care facility.

Alaska had the fewest hospice providers of any state, with four organizations providing care to 732 beneficiaries in 2014.

Releasing the state and individual provider data will help improve data transparency and help providers make informed decisions about their location and the patients they serve, CMS said in a news release.

“CMS believes that greater data transparency leads to a more effectively functioning health care system, which leads to better care and smarter spending,” noted CMS Chief Data officer Niall Brennan.