Use of the Hospice Benefit by Rural Medicare Beneficiaries. UMN RHRC Working Paper #43.

Publication Date: September 1st, 2002
Publication Type(s): Working Paper
Topic(s): ,
Author(s): Virnig, B., Moscovice, I., Kind, S., Casey, M.

Medicare beneficiaries in rural areas are less likely to receive hospice care prior to death than their urban counterparts. Within rural environments, declining rates of hospice use are associated with lower population density and greater distance from urban areas. In contrast, in-hospital death rates for Medicare beneficiaries do not show any urban/rural gradient. Medicare hospice payment policies must be adjusted if the hospice benefit is to be an option for all terminally ill beneficiaries regardless of where they live.

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