Ending Unwarranted Variation in End-of-life Care in California

by Mark Smith

May 8, 2013
Californians frequently do not get the kind of care that they want at the end of their lives. In a 2012 survey, 70% of people said they would want to die at home, yet new data show that compared to the national average, Californians at the end-of-life experience more deaths in hospitals and more time in the intensive care unit (ICU). The data also reveal wide variation in the use of hospice, hospital, and ICU services in the last six months of life.

The California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF) hosted a Sacramento briefing designed for legislative staff and others interested in understanding practice patterns and variation in end-of-life care in the Golden State. Panelists explained why variation in clinical care at the end-of-life matters, examined how patient preferences are often at odds with the care they get, and explored how the new data might be used to meet the goals set out in the recent Let's Get Healthy California Task Force report.

This is the first in a series of four presentations, authored by Mark D. Smith, MD, MBA, founding president and CEO, CHCF.
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