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Hospice of Michigan President and CEO Available for Comment on New England Journal of Medicine Article on Profits in Hospice Industry and Proposed Changes From MedPAC
Date:6/25/2009

DETROIT, June 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hospice of Michigan, the state's largest hospice and one of the largest non-profit hospices in the nation, will have spokespersons available to comment on the New England Journal of Medicine's article on profits in the hospice industry published in the June 25 issue. The article, which is titled "A New Era of For-Profit Hospice Care - the Medicare Benefit," focuses on the evolution of the hospice benefit from the time it was created in 1982 to today when outsized profits in the publicly traded and for-profit sectors of the hospice industry have resulted in government scrutiny of how the benefit is being applied.

What evolved from a grassroots, volunteer-run social movement designed to honor the individual and bring a sense of humanity to the end-of-life experience has become a big business. The number of hospice providers grew from 2,300 in 2000 to 3,200 in 2007. The article suggests that Medicare may have unintentionally provided a financial incentive in its hospice payment system for providers to create and follow a business model where they care for patients with diagnoses that result in longer lengths-of-stay.

For-profit hospices, including publicly traded hospices, have capitalized on the Medicare payment system - selecting patients with diagnoses that predict longer lives while needing less intensive care. The profits being enjoyed by for-profit hospices have gotten the attention of Medicare. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), which advises Congress, has recommended substantial changes to hospice payments to improve accuracy, accountability and to increase physician involvement in end-of-life care.

Dottie Deremo, president and CEO of Hospice of Michigan, said, "The transition of hospice as a social movement to becoming big business has occurred in just 27 years. The MedPAC report accurately reflects the cha
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SOURCE Hospice of Michigan
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