by Cheryl Clark | inewsource

Health care providers in the San Diego region rank poorly in how they care for older, dying patients in three important ways, according to a national report released Wednesday.

First, Medicare beneficiaries with dementia should not have feeding tubes inserted during their last six months of life. Yet among those patients treated here, 7.8 percent had that unpleasant experience, more than the 6 percent national average. The region scored lower than 208 of the 306 hospital regions in the country.

Second, during their last six months of life, more beneficiaries spent time receiving aggressive, expensive care in intensive care units here than did beneficiaries in 252 other regions of the country, 4.4 days compared to the national average of 3.6.

And third, dying Medicare patients should not have to wait until their last three days of life before being enrolled in hospice services. Yet in San Diego, 16.8 percent did not receive hospice services until then. Despite the large number of hospice services available here, the region’s rating was equal to the national average.

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