The Washington Post published an extensive investigative story on hospices the other day. The takeaway: Hospices (mostly for profit) are making big bucks by manipulating their case loads to maximize Medicare payments. In short, they are taking on many patients who are frail but not dying and thus staying on hospice care for a very long time.
But the post article misses a bigger question: Why are growing numbers of people willing to enroll in hospice – and often forego traditional medical treatment – long before they are dying? Part of the reason may be because they thrive on the care hospice provides – care they rarely can get anywhere else in our medical system.