DYING FOR DOLLARS


By Anne O'Meara
February 2021
 
In the article, End-of-Life Care Rife with Fraud,” the authors, Kim Christensen and Ben Poston, describe a hospice system that is beset with greed.
 
The concept of hospice care started gaining traction in the mid-1970’s, but it wasn’t until 1983 that hospice really started thriving. In 1983, Medicare had announced they would begin covering hospice services. Once this happened, for-profit hospice providers quickly popped up to meet a growing need. The growth of for-profit organizations quickly outpaced the capacity of non-profit organizations who had started the hospice model.

As the authors of this article discuss hospice fraud and deceptive practices, they reference that “Much more than money is at stake.” Did you know that some patients who enroll in hospice care later discover they have signed away their rights to lifesaving emergency medical treatment? “Others endured excruciating pain in their final days when providers failed to deliver the comforting care they desperately needed. Still others suffered the consequences of neglected, festering sores that developed maggots or resulted in hospitalizations. Privacy laws and government reports that keep the names of patients, doctors and hospice administrators confidential make it difficult to quantify and humanize many of the cases.”

The dying deserve better.


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