The Saint Agnes Medical Center also has found success in reducing costs and in palliative and hospice programs, says Nisco of the Saint Agnes Medical Center Hospital and Hospice and Palliative Care Services. The hospital has saved at least $1,800 per patient in its palliative care versus other programs.
For a hospital system, putting together a palliative care program may become invaluable as the healthcare moves from fee for service to value based systems, Nisco adds. "When you net out all the cost savings, with what you can achieve with a program like this, it's kind of cost neutral: it doesn't wind up costing a lot of money."
Nisco acknowledges that hospital financial chiefs may still be reluctant to embrace palliative care. "It may not immediately result in reduced costs to excite your CFO because everybody is looking for the kind of dollars [in savings] that makes your eyes sparkle," Nisco says.
"But a forward-thinking CFO is going to see this as an important thing to emphasize as the priorities of healthcare change. It is being a little ahead of the curve, having an integrative palliative care program in your healthcare system."
For many, it's simply a matter of "raising their palliative care IQ," Nisco says.
(A HealthLeaders Media Webcast, Develop an Innovative and Integrated Palliative Care Program is slated for Tuesday, April 23, 2013, with Brad Stuart, MD, chief medical officer of Sutter Care at Home in Emeryville, CA and Michael Nisco, MD, MBA, medical director for Saint Agnes Medical Center Hospice and Palliative Care Services, in Fresno, CA.)