Hospice benefits and phase I cancer trials

Ira Byock, Steven H. Miles

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Medicare denies hospice coverage to patients with terminal illnesses who enroll as participants in phase I studies, which assess the toxicity and dosing of potential treatments for incurable diseases. Federal regulations require patients to forgo curative therapies, and they interpret phase I agents as treatment for the terminal condition for which hospice care was elected. Thus, by enrolling as a participant in a phase I trial, a patient otherwise eligible for hospice is rendered ineligible. Private insurers have similar provisions for children and adults younger than 65 years of age. Such exclusions are not defensible on ethical or clinical grounds. Policymakers, insurers, and institutional review boards all have a role in resolving this problem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-337
Number of pages3
JournalAnnals of internal medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 18 2003

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