May 5, 2014

Medicare Records Suggest Many Hospice Patients Don’t Get Proper End-Of-Life Care.

The Washington Post(5/3, A1, Whoriskey, Keating) reports on its front page in an article of nearly 3,400 words on its findings after examining hospice care in the US, partly through Medicare billing records. The Post found that many hospice providers fell short of what patients and their families expected, especially for patients who were actively dying and needed continuous medical care. Instead, it found that Medicare billing associated with more than 2,500 hospice organizations showed that roughly one in six hospice agencies provided only routine care, which “can be very profitable” because of Medicare payment standards. The Post says that the hospice industry is a $17 billion business on an annual basis, and “the vast majority of that revenue comes from the government.” The industry has grown without much oversight typical in healthcare settings, leaving “hospices…among the least inspected organizations” in American healthcare, “with most operating for years before an inspector calls.”