How we use hospice: Hospice enrollment patterns and costs in elderly ovarian cancer patients

Gynecol Oncol. 2019 Mar;152(3):452-458. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2018.10.041.


Objective: To describe disparities in patterns of hospice use and end-of-life costs among ovarian cancer patients.

Methods: Using Texas Cancer Registry-Medicare data, ovarian cancer patients deceased 2005-2012 with >12 months of continuous Medicare coverage before death were included. Descriptive statistics and multivariable logistic regressions were used to evaluate patterns of hospice use. Cost and resource utilization was obtained from Medicare claims and analyzed using a non-parametric Mann-Whitney test.

Results: 2331 patients were assessed: 1788 (77%) white, 359 (15%) Hispanic, 158 (7%) black and 26 (1%) other. 1756 (75%) enrolled in hospice prior to death but only 1580 (68%) died with hospice. 176 (10%) of 1756 patients unenrolled and died without hospice. 346 (20%) unenrolled from hospice multiple times. From 2008 to 2012, patients were less likely to unenroll from hospice prior to death. Black patients were more likely to unenroll from hospice prior to death (OR 2.07 [1.15-3.73]; p = 0.02) compared to white patients. The median amount paid by Medicare during the last six months of life was $38,530 for those in hospice compared to $49,942 if never enrolled in hospice (p < 0.0001) and was higher for black and Hispanic patients compared to white patients. 30% hospice unenrolled patients and 40% multiply enrolled hospice patients received at least one life extending or invasive care procedure following unenrollment from hospice.

Conclusion: Recently, more patients remain enrolled in hospice, but black patients have a higher risk of unenrollment. Hospice enrollment was associated with lower costs as long as a patient did not unenroll from hospice.

Keywords: Cancer care disparities; Hospice; Ovarian cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • African Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs
  • Healthcare Disparities / economics
  • Healthcare Disparities / statistics & numerical data
  • Hispanic Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospices / economics
  • Hospices / methods
  • Hospices / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Medicare / statistics & numerical data
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / economics
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Terminal Care / economics
  • Terminal Care / methods
  • Terminal Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Texas
  • United States