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A New Medicare End-Of-Life Benefit For Nursing Home Residents

A New Medicare End-Of-Life Benefit For Nursing Home Residents

Abstract

Many elderly people spend their final days in nursing homes. For them, high-quality end-of-life care is an important component of their overall care. Unfortunately, the Medicare hospice benefit—the primary source of palliative care coverage for Medicare beneficiaries—is a poor fit with the nursing home setting. We recommend creating a separate end-of-life Medicare benefit for nursing home residents based on documented need for services that neither requires physicians to certify a person’s prognosis, nor requires beneficiaries to choose it or to agree to forgo curative care. Nursing homes would be paid directly for end-of-life care services and held accountable for their quality.
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