Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hospices are Incurring Medicare Debt Because Their Patients are Living Longer


Hospices across the United States are facing hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicare debt because their patients are living longer than expected.

According to Kevin Sack, In Hospice Care, Longer Lives Mean Money Lost, NYTimes.com, Nov. 27, 2007:

In the early days of the Medicare hospice benefit, which was designed for those with less than six months to live, nearly all patients were cancer victims, who tended to die relatively quickly and predictably once curative efforts were abandoned.

But in the last five years, hospice use has skyrocketed among patients with less predictable trajectories, like those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.***

Medicare’s coverage of hospice, which began in 1983, has become one of the fastest growing components of the government’s fastest growing entitlement. Spending nearly tripled from 2000 to 2005, to $8.2 billion, and nearly 40 percent of Medicare recipients now use the service.***

A number of hospice providers said ethical and legal constraints would prevent them from discharging patients who outlived their profit potential. But some said they sometimes delayed admission for those patients with illnesses that might result in longer stays.***


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They are not looking out for the health of their patients. Medicare just wants to collect whatever money they can, now based upon the fact that someone didn't die when they thought they would?! They are way out of hand on a lot of issues, this is why AARP has set up http:// www.thisissoridiculous.com so that we can sign a petition to make our voice heard. They also have updated news, video and while your there you can e-mail your congressman to let him know how you feel! I'm working to help ARRP promote better Medicare. It's an important issue in the US right now, and we really need to be heard on this, or it’s just going to get more and more out of hand!

Posted by: Heather | Nov 29, 2007 11:40:03 AM

Well, hospice should be happy because their patients are getting stronger and recovering from their illness. It's indeed a place where ill people find comfort and hopes.

Posted by: Henry County Hospice | Nov 3, 2011 2:10:49 AM

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