To document the presence of hospice and palliative physicians in Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) ACOs, a group of researchers conducted a cross-sectional analysis of 2014 MSSP ACO provider networks. The study found that approximately three-quarters of MSSP ACOs did not formally contract with a hospice or palliative care physician in that year. Inclusion of a hospice or palliative physician was associated with other specialists that commonly refer to hospice and palliative care, such as oncologists.
“Both hospice and palliative care have been shown to reduce costs and improve the patient experience, making them potentially powerful tools in an ACO’s arsenal. However, the MSSP ACO model has not emphasized care of seriously and terminally ill individuals, and thus it is not surprising that there has been consistently low inclusion of hospice and palliative care physicians in MSSP provider networks,” say the researchers.
More information on this study can be found in the latest issue of the Journal of Palliative Medicine.