Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Story about Hospice

Huffington Post ran an article on June 19, 2014 about hospice.  Hospice, Inc.: How Dying Became A Multibillion-Dollar Industry focuses on the growth of the use of hospice and how companies sign up new patients.  The article tells the story of one patient and the care she received. The article covers the lawsuits brought by the Department of Justice against hospice providers. The article also has an interactive chart that allows the reader to look at hospice in the reader's geographic area.  The article has a lot of data and charts to illustrate the numbers.  The article discusses the inspections process  "[t]he types of violations vary, with many involving improper training or record keeping, such as not preparing written care plans for patients. Others involve threats to patient life or safety."'

As far as the issue with longevity, the article notes that "[t]he Medicare Payment Advisory Commission has urged the federal government to restructure the hospice benefit to remove such incentives by reducing payments for longer stays, warning that such changes are “imperative.” The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ... has not adopted the proposed changes."

As far as oversight and quality of care,

[t]he government is only now starting to collect basic data to gauge the quality of care, more than 30 years after the benefit was introduced. New measures, ushered in under the Affordable Care Act, require hospice operators to submit data that measure seven different conditions for hospice patients, such as pain or shortness of breath...   Still, these new requirements, which go into effect in July, are unlikely to capture many of the oversights and abuses alleged by hospice patients and employees. Several of the measurements are “yes or no” questions that simply determine whether hospice providers are screening patients for various ailments.


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