Rapid growth of for-profit hospices raises ethical concerns, study says

Share this article:
Nursing home dementia residents staying in hospice longer, analysis says
Nursing home dementia residents staying in hospice longer, analysis says
The success of the for-profit hospice industry has caused concern among ethicists who say that the goal of profitability interferes with their ability to provide quality end-of-life care, according to new research.

The for-profit hospice industry grew by 128% between 2001 and 2008, while nonprofits expanded only 1% and government-sponsored hospices jumped 25%, according to research published in the summer issue of the Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics. Not surprisingly, for-profit hospices generate higher revenue than their nonprofit competitors. Investigators say they do this by selectively recruiting long-term patients who don't have cancer, thus gaming the Medicare payment system. The study co-author, Robert Stone, M.D., says that other studies have shown that when for-profit hospices select longer-term patients, this results in overpayment, which, in turn, drains funds from the hospice program.

"Typically, the for-profit companies also pay lower salaries and benefits to a less-skilled staff, and employ fewer registered nurses. This raises quality concerns,” Stone said.

Stone and his co-author, Joshua Perry, J.D., M.T.S., contend that these practices put non-profit hospices' financial survival at risk. The study also highlights questionable marketing practices used by for-profit hospices. One tactic involves sending representatives into nursing homes and giving residents branded gifts. Another is paying nursing home employees for future hospice referrals.
Share this article:

More in News

Antipsychotics reduction goal is 25% by end of 2015, CMS and provider groups announce

Antipsychotics reduction goal is 25% by end of ...

Long-term care providers are being asked to reduce the use of antipsychotic medications among residents by 25% by the end of 2015, and 30% by the end of 2016. Providers ...

CDC issues new guidelines on pneumococcal vaccine, says LTC flu vaccination rates remain low

CDC issues new guidelines on pneumococcal vaccine, says ...

Long-term care workers continued to have low rates of flu vaccination last season, despite there being 92% vaccination coverage overall among physicians and nurses, the Centers for Disease Control and ...

AL operators accused of withholding $2M in unpaid overtime, minimum wages ...

Four California assisted living operators are facing eight felony charges related to wage theft, tax and insurance violations, according to local reports.