Reliable, High-Quality, Efficient End-of-Life Care for Cancer Patients

Economic Issues and Barriers

Published in: Improving Palliative Care For Cancer / Edited by Kathleen M. Foley, Helen Gelband (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2002), p. 67-95

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2001

by Joanne Lynn, Ann O'Mara

Living with, and eventually dying from, a chronic illness ordinarily runs up substantial costs for the patient, family, and society. Those with cancer have approximately 20 percent higher than average costs. Even though our society is spending a great deal on end-of-life care, dying cancer patients are not getting the care they need. Many factors contribute to this situation and in this chapter, the authors discuss how the financial arrangements covering care for people with advanced cancer contribute to the shortcomings of end-of-life care. Among the issues discussed are how the services most needed by dying cancer patients are often not covered by Medicare or other insurance and how the Medicare hospice program could be modified to improve its usefulness. The authors conclude by offering strategies to improve financing for care of patients coming to the end of life with cancer.

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