Policy & Law

Study: Many Medicare Beneficiaries Obtain Surgeries in Last Year of Life

1 Mins read

A new study out of Harvard finds that approximately a third of all Medicare beneficiaries in the last year of life chose to have a major surgical procedure. The operative (excuse the pun) issue here is whether such timed, elective surgeries are necessary — implying a possible increase in life expectancy. Problem is, no one knows when the beneficiary will die.

A new study out of Harvard finds that approximately a third of all Medicare beneficiaries in the last year of life chose to have a major surgical procedure. The operative (excuse the pun) issue here is whether such timed, elective surgeries are necessary — implying a possible increase in life expectancy. Problem is, no one knows when the beneficiary will die.

By analyzing Medicare claims data the study authors found that, in a group of almost 2 million elderly beneficiaries, all of whom died in 2008, almost one-third had inpatient surgery in the year before they died, almost one in five in the last month of their lives and almost one in 10 in the week before they took their last breath.

The study itself is a good lesson in who exactly “benefits” in these cases. As futile as these findings may sound, there is no question that any procedure done within FFS Medicare coverage remains a reimbursement cache for the provider and hospital, crudely suggesting a financial incentive. While this scenario is entirely possible, it really doesn’t seem to be the impetus for the study’s findings, in my humble opinion. Besides being reflective of a cynical and laconic way of approaching the study’s results, it really makes no sense in a healthcare delivery system increasingly focused on positive outcomes (read: anything but mortality or unacceptable morbidity). The study, however, does usher in the need to discuss the perennial issue of quality of life versus the “appropriateness” of acute surgical treatment among consenting patients with significant chronic illness.

Related posts:

  1. Study: Screening Mammograms Underutilized in Insured Women With research findings such as this, is it any wonder…
  2. Hospitals to Face HAI Reporting Requirements Hospitals that accept Medicare funding will eventually have to report…
  3. Medicare to Reimburse Voluntary Physician Counseling of End-of-Life Care Remember the “death panels” the GOP and other right-wing pundits…

 

Related posts
Health carePolicy & Law

Health Insurance Schemes: Find the Right One for Your Family by Doing This

3 Mins read
Besides being a major catastrophic failure, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a reality check for people worldwide. The overburdening costs of hospitalization,…
eHealthMedical EducationMedical InnovationsPolicy & Law

Grow Your Medical Practice Online: 6 Practical Steps

3 Mins read
Business models have changed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The same is true even for the healthcare sector. The internet…
Policy & Law

The EU Regulations for Clinical Trials-Everything you Need to Know

2 Mins read
European Union is made up of 27 countries sharing an economic and quasi-political eco-system. The EU allows for free trade between its…