Healthcare Market Resources Analyzes Medicare Hospice Claims thru 2Q 2016 & Finds Significant Variation between Disease Groupings in Key Metrics

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Leading home health and hospice market research expert, Healthcare Market Resources, analyzed the most recent hospice claims data release from Medicare which provides data up through June 20, 2016 in terms of days, death and length of stay (LOS).

Dresher, PA – Healthcare Market Resources, a leading provider of custom market data for hospices and home health agencies, examined the latest hospice data available from Medicare (3Q2015 through 2Q2016) and found significant variations among disease groupings in hospice days, deaths and length of stay (LOS).

The company first looked at days per discharge, which is calculated by dividing total days billed by hospice with the total hospice discharges. Interestingly, there are essentially three tiers within the diseases. Alzheimer’s patients have the highest days per discharge at 134, whereas cancer patients have one of the lowest at under 50 days. Liver/kidney patients are at a similar low level. Chesney speculates “this is likely because dialysis patients are reluctant to go off service.” The majority of disease groups are in the 90 – 100 day range with the overall average being 81.6 days.

Slide1The company next analyzed of all discharges how many were discharged alive. Chesney comments, “Once again, we are looking at this two tiered approach where you have cancer, kidney and other being in the 11% range and the remainder being near 20% and above. Further, the national average is 17% and this is up from several years ago when it was 15%.”

The final analysis compares the percent of hospice days and the percent of hospice deaths for the various conditions. Chesney states, “You would expect to see an equal balance but that does not happen.” Alzheimer’s, for example, has nearly double the percent of days as deaths, whereas the reverse is true with cancer. This analysis can be taken to the next level if organizations compares their percent of hospice deaths by diagnosis to their county/state data deaths by cause of deaths to obtain a relative level of penetration.


In May 2016, Medicare changed their data release policy enabling Healthcare Market Resources to obtain claims data in a more timely manner, which includes quarterly releases versus the historic annual pattern. In response to the new availability of data from Medicare, the company has transitioned the entire suite of reports—market profiles, facility and physician behavior for home health, hospice and skilled nursing facilities – to a rolling 12 month basis, which means that reports will reflect the 12 most recent months of data available.

“We believe that as users come to use the quarterly data for both tactical and strategic planning, they will want to have more flexible data purchase options,” observes Chesney. “To keep pace, we are offering annual subscription plans which entitle purchasers to four quarters of any reports, and we are offering report bundles on an annual or multi-year basis.” This frequency allows users to more closely monitor referral source and competitor behavior.