States With the Highest Hospice Medicare Spending

Different states account for varying levels of Medicare spending on hospice patients, with Southern states in particular having the highest standardized Medicare payments per hospice beneficiary.

That’s according to a new data set from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The Hospice Utilization and Payment Public Use File, or “Hospice PUF,” contains information on services hospice providers administered to Medicare beneficiaries. Specifically, the data set includes information on more than 1.3 million hospice beneficiaries, 4,025 hospice providers and more than $15 billion in Medicare payments for 2014.

The data, among other things, detail the state-by-state differences in total standardized payments per hospice beneficiary in 2014. That year, South Carolina recorded the highest spending at $14,778 per beneficiary, followed by Alabama at $14,361 per beneficiary and Mississippi at $14,100 per beneficiary. The states with the lowest spending per hospice beneficiary, meanwhile, were Wyoming ($7,132), South Dakota ($7,252) and Alaska ($7,442).

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Additionally, in 2014, Medicare spent an average of $11,393 per hospice beneficiary for an average of 70 days of hospice care, the data show. There were about 1.3 million hospice beneficiaries in 2014, and 33% had more than 60 days of hospice care, 13% had more than 180 days of hospice care and 11% experienced a live discharge from hospice care.

For each of the 4,025 hospice providers included in the data set, CMS lists the total number of days of care that that hospice provided, the distinct number of beneficiaries that hospice served, the hospice’s total charges, the hospice’s total Medicare payments, and the hospice’s total Medicare standardized payments. The Hospice PUF also includes data on sites of service, primary diagnoses and the demographics of hospice beneficiaries.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson