One in six terminal cancer patients enroll in hospice only during their last three days of life, according to a new study from a team from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Their findings, published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, also reveal a profile of patients who may be most at risk of these late admissions.

The study comes amid the National Quality Forum and the American Society for Clinical Oncology’s joint endorsement of quality measures for end of life care in cancer patients. Eventually, Penn Medicine experts say, oncology practices and health systems may be measured and reimbursed in part on their percentage of patients who enroll near the end of life and be linked to pay-for-performance initiatives.

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