Stone continued: "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."
Such practices not only undermine the Samaritan traditions of the hospice movement, he said, but also put nonprofit hospices at a competitive disadvantage, threatening their financial survival. Nonprofits have been shown to provide a greater range of services than their for-profit counterparts, including continuous home care and bereavement services, he said.
Stone and Perry point to research documenting ethically questionable marketing practices used by for-profit hospice companies, including instances of company representatives going into nursing homes and offering free pens and coffee cups to staff and subsequently paying a commission to staff members who refer patients to them.
While more research on hospice quality needs to be done, Stone said, comparative studies of U.S. hospitals, dialysis centers and nursing homes have shown that nonprofit institutions, on average, provide a higher quality of care than do for-profits.
|Contact: Mark Almberg|
Physicians for a National Health Program