A National Study of Live Hospice Discharges between 2000 and 2012

Elizabeth Prsic, Mike Plotzke, Thomas J. Christian, Pedro Gozalo, Joan M. Teno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: Live hospice discharges represent a potential vulnerability in the Medicare hospice benefit. Little is known about how live discharges have varied over time. Objective: To identify trends in live hospice discharges between 2000 and 2012. Design, Setting, Patients: Retrospective cohort study of Medicare hospice discharges. Measurements: In this study, we examined live discharges in the first six months of 2000, 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012. A live discharge was classified as a burdensome transition if hospice discharge was followed by hospital admission, and then there was a hospice readmission within 2 days of hospital discharge. The adjusted rate of overall live discharges and burdensome transitions was examined with a multivariate mixed-effects logistic model that adjusted for age, gender, race, and hospice primary diagnosis. The model contained an interaction term for year and hospice tax status. Results: The unadjusted overall rate of live discharges increased from 13.7% in 2000 to 18.1% in 2012. For-profit hospice programs had an adjusted live discharge rate of 17.7% in 2000 and 22.7% in 2012. During the same period, the adjusted live discharge rate for nonprofit hospice programs increased from 15.2% to 16.3%. The overall rate of burdensome transitions increased from 2.9% in 2000 to 5.3% in 2012. Similar to the overall rate of live discharge, for-profit hospices had a higher rate of burdensome transitions (6.4%) than nonprofit hospices (4.0%) in 2012. Conclusions: Live hospice discharges and burdensome transitions increased between 2000 and 2012. For-profit hospice programs demonstrated larger increases than nonprofit hospice programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)987-990
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of palliative medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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