In the video below (and the videos that follow), it seems that what Mitford documented 5+ decades ago continues unabated and across the United States:
Described this way, hospice care and those who provide it "minister" to the dying. In The Motley Monk's experience, the nurses and other hospice staff he has observed over the years are very compassionate, caring, and consummate professionals.
That said, most hospice revenue comes from the federal government via Medicare, generally reimbursing hospice firms on a flat basis of ~$160/day. Payouts are adjusted, based on location. Costs are highest at the beginning when a patient is enrolled in hospice and as the end nears. Once a care routine is established, the days in the middle yield the greatest profit.
The "take away"? Hospice firms make more money from patients who live a longer time than those who die quickly.
Huffington Post reports that medicare data suggest:
- for-profit hospice firms seek out healthier patients to book greater profits while non-profits are more likely to serve short-living patients where death is imminent and the cost of care is more expensive;
- patients at for-profit hospices live longer than those at nonprofits, not a function of quality of care, but patient selection;
- families have been pressured into hospice care without fully understanding that doing so meant forgoing curative treatment, leaving loved ones mistreated or ignored;
- federal prosecutors have accused hospice companies of billing fraud, alleging patients who didn't qualify were enrolled and signed up for extra-expensive levels of care;
- although federal regulators and Congress have taken steps to increase oversight and accountability, hospice firms are under-regulated when compared to other healthcare providers; and,
- hospice firms that break Medicare health and safety rules are almost never punished.
Hospice care can be a ministry that tends to the emotional and spiritual needs of both the terminally ill and their families. However, those family members need to know there are unscrupulous hospice firms and to protect both themselves and their beloved from fraud.
Let the discussion begin...
To read the 2015 Huffington Post article, "The Business Of Dying Has Never Been More Lucrative," click on the following link:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/hospice-report_55b1307ee4b0a9b94853fc7a?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000618
To read the 2014 Huffington Post investigation, "Hospice Inc.," click on the following link: