Factors Associated with the Adoption and Closure of Hospital Palliative Care Programs in the United States

Maggie M. Rogers, Diane E. Meier, R. Sean Morrison, Jaison Moreno, Melissa Aldridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: In the United States, the percentage of hospitals over 50 beds with palliative care programs has risen substantially from 7% of hospitals in 2001 to 72% in 2017. Yet the dynamic nature of program adoption and closure over time is not known. Objective: To examine the rate of palliative care program adoption and closure and associated hospital and geographic characteristics in a national sample of U.S. hospitals. Design: Adoption and closure rates were calculated for 3696 U.S. hospitals between 2009 and 2017. We used multivariable logistic regression models to examine the association between adoption and closure status and hospital, geographic, and community characteristics. Setting/Subjects: All nonfederal general medical and surgical, cancer, heart, and obstetric or gynecological hospitals, of all sizes, in the United States in operation in both 2009 and 2017. Results: By 2017, 34.9% (812/2327) of the hospitals without palliative care in 2009 had adopted palliative care programs, and 15.0% (205/1369) of the hospitals with programs had closed them. In multivariable models, hospitals in metropolitan areas, nonprofit and public hospitals (compared to for-profit hospitals), and those with residency training approval by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education were significantly more likely to adopt and significantly less likely to close palliative care programs during the study period. Conclusions: This study indicates that palliative care is not equitably adopted nor sustained by hospitals in the United States. Federal and state interventions may be required to ensure that high-quality care is available to our nation's sickest patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)712-718
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Palliative Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021


  • health services
  • hospital administration
  • hospital legislation
  • hospitals
  • palliative medicine
  • program closure


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