Authors: Zueger PM, Holmes HM, Calip GS, Qato DM, Pickard AS, Lee TA
Title: Medicare Part D Use of Older Medicare Beneficiaries Admitted to Hospice.
Journal: J Am Geriatr Soc 66(5):937-944
Date: 2018 May
PubMed ID: 29509282
Abstract: OBJECTIVES: To describe medications that older hospice beneficiaries receive through Medicare Part D and assess patterns in Part D use for individuals admitted to hospice for cancer and noncancer causes. DESIGN: Descriptive cohort analysis using the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER)-Medicare linked database. SETTING: U.S. hospice programs PARTICIPANTS: Part D-enrolled Medicare beneficiaries aged 66 and older who were admitted to hospice and died while under hospice care between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2013 (N = 88,957). MEASUREMENTS: We determined the 25 most commonly dispensed medications and the prevalence of at least 1 dispensing through Part D after hospice admission. The prevalence and temporal trends in receipt of opioid analgesics and several preventative medication classes are described. RESULTS: More than half of individuals admitted to hospice for cancer (53.5%) and noncancer causes (52.9%) received at least 1 medication through Part D after hospice admission. The prevalence of receiving at least 1 Part D medication after admission was greatest in individuals admitted for debility or failure to thrive (63.5%) and dementia (61.5%) and lowest in those admitted for ischemic stroke (35.4%) and renal disease (36.0%). Beta-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, proton pump inhibitors, and statins were among the most common preventative drug classes received overall, although prevalence differed according to admission diagnosis. Nearly 1 in 6 individuals received opioids through Part D after admission, with prevalence steadily decreasing over the study period. CONCLUSION: Receipt of medications through Medicare Part D after hospice admission is common, particularly for preventative medications, and varies according to admission diagnosis. Further research aimed at better understanding individual-, provider-, and healthcare system-level contributors to nonpalliative medication use in the hospice population is warranted.