In an article appearing in The Washington Post, “Hospice firms draining billions from Medicare,” (12/27/2013) reporters Peter Whoriskey and Dan Keating distill a very complex and varied set of clinical, emotional and personal decisions involving patients and families opting for hospice care, into a single motivating factor: Deriving profits from long-stay patients.
Any examination of hospice care and its primary source of reimbursement, the Medicare hospice benefit, require analysis of many factors, none of which should be taken lightly when the future outcome – whether imminent or longer term – is death.
In a public response to The Washington Post article, NHPCO offers some additional points that should be factored into any discussion of hospice provision.
In summary, NHPCO stated “If we take away one message from this article, it ought to be that patients and families should not hesitate about discussing their end-of-life wishes and when appropriate, in the judgment of the families’ medical team, along with the clinicians at a hospice program, seek the high quality and compassionate end-of-life care that hospices have delivered for the past 40 years.”
Read NHPCO’s response online.