Hospital Characteristics Associated with Palliative Care Program Prevalence

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Over the past two decades, the number of hospitals with palliative care has increased significantly. Objective: This study analyzes the availability of palliative care in U.S. hospitals and examines the variation by hospital characteristics, community-level socioeconomic demographics, health care markets, and geographic characteristics. Methods: Data were obtained from the American Hospital Association Annual Survey Database for 2017 and supplemented with 2016 for nonresponders, the United States Census Bureau's 2017 American Community Survey, the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care's 2016 Spending and 2011 Hospital and Physician Capacity datasets, the National Palliative Care Registry™, state-level directories on palliative care, and web-based searches. Multivariable logistic regression and average marginal effects were used to examine predictors of hospital palliative care programs. Results: Seventy-two percent of hospitals with 50 or more beds had palliative care programs. Hospital and geographic characteristics were significantly associated with the presence of palliative care. Most notably, nonprofit hospitals were 24.5 percentage points more likely than for-profit hospitals to have palliative care, and metropolitan areas were 15.4 percentage points more likely than rural areas, controlling for other variables. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that availability of palliative care in U.S. hospitals is determined by where patients live and the type of hospital to which they are admitted. Equitable and reliable availability to quality palliative care must improve across the nation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1296-1299
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Palliative Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • access
  • availability
  • hospital palliative care
  • program development


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