fbpx

Why Dying is Good for Business

HospiceThe profit motive in hospice has become a greater concern as for-profits hospices have expanded.

Hospice care can provide a great benefit to many families and their dying loved ones, and Medicare has been generally praised for its support through reimbursements to providers over the past 28 years. However, according to a recent article by Kaiser Health News and The New York Times, there is growing concern now about misuse of the program by for-profit hospice providers.

 Hospice care is intended to provide dying patients with palliative care in their own homes, or in a hospice facility or nursing home.

As hospice has moved into the mainstream, concerns about excessive costs and misuse have mounted. A primary concern is that Medicare’s flat-fee payment system encourages hospices to seek out patients likely to live much longer than the six month time period for which hospice was originally intended. Medicare pays a flat fee ranging from $147 to $856 a day, depending on the level of care, whether a hospice actually provides services or not.

For-profit hospices in particular tend to have longer-staying patients. "The financial incentives do in fact dictate behavior," said Eugene Goldenberg, a research analyst for BB&T Capital Markets who follows the hospice industry. "It's a lucrative business, at least under the current reimbursement system."

 In response, Medicare has adopted a restriction: It won’t pay for hospice beyond six months unless a physician or nurse practitioner visits the patient and attests that his or her condition is still terminal. This requirement, part of the health care law passed last year, has provoked a backlash from hospice providers who say that sending a doctor or nurse practitioner out to see every patient at the six-month mark is too expensive. Given the financial and political pressures facing Medicare, government officials are concerned that hospice care may be misused. The inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services looked at one fast-growing segment — hospice patients in nursing homes — and found hospices routinely failed to document that those patients belonged in a hospice or that they were getting the care to which they were entitled.

If you or a loved one is considering hospice care, be sure to thoroughly investigate the care provider before making a commitment. Perhaps the most chilling aspect of these findings is not that people are using a hospice benefit for too long – but that they may be enrolling too soon …perhaps before giving other, more aggressive medical procedures a chance to work. Reference: The Kaiser Health News (June 27, 2011) “Growing Hospice Care Costs Bring Concerns About Misuse”

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment

LIKE THIS POST?

We have a LOT more where that came from!

We hate spam too. We will never share or sell your information.

Call Now ButtonCall Us Now https://jsfiddle.net/7h5246b8/

Request a free consultation

We hate spam too. We will never share or sell your information.

We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
  • We launched the rollout of our on-demand webinar early so that new clients and our allied professionals can view the important component parts of ‘an estate plan that works’ at their convenience.  That is available on our website.
  • Live video workshops will be produced as quickly as possible and certainly ahead of our previous schedule; we will keep you posted as these events become available. Given the ‘boutique’ nature of the firm, we rarely have more than ten people in our office including team members at any one time. During this period of ‘social distancing,’ we promise to have no more than 8 people at any time.   This allows us to comply with the Governor’s directive to limit in-person gatherings.
  • The best way to communicate with us is still by phone during regular office hours of 8:30 to 5:00, Monday through Friday, or, you can email any of our team members (that is, their first name followed by @zarembalaw.com).  We will respond to these emails as quickly as possible.
  • Please continue to follow the directives of our local, state, and federal agencies. For your health and in consideration of our team who is assisting you, if you’ve scheduled an office appointment or planned to drop off paperwork and are experiencing a fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath, please contact your primary care doctor for guidance and then our office to reschedule.

Thank you, Walt and the Zaremba Team

Coronavirus/Covid-19
Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.