The Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services has released a report backing a 2014 Washington Post Investigation that found that hospice companies recruit patients who aren’t dying in order to boost profits.
Hospices are paid a daily flat rate for patients, so they can earn more profit on healthier patients who require fewer services, the Post’s story said.
The paper found that more than a third of patients were considered “hospice survivors” at hundreds of hospices around America.
As Becker’s Hospital Review noted: “Sometimes patients’ health does improve unexpectedly, but according to The Washington Post, the rate of patients who leave hospice alive is typically around 15 percent. The newspaper observed high ‘hospice survivor’ rates most often at new, for-profit hospices, according to the report. The highest rates were noted in Mississippi (41 percent) and Alabama (35 percent).”
As usual, dubious healthcare billing is heavily concentrated at for-profit healthcare institutions in Red States whose political leaders have opposed the Affordable Care Act. The Feds, however, are stepping up efforts to fight healthcare fraud. With the huge increase in elderly patients, we can expect a huge increase in hospice-care scams.
Becker’s reported: “The OIG report … builds on the body of evidence. The OIG found many hospices had patients sign paperwork that did not make it clear the care provided would be palliative, or provide relief from pain, rather than curative.
“It also found physicians had limited involvement in determining if hospice care was appropriate for patients in 14 percent of hospice general inpatient stays.”
To read the Becker’s article, please hit this link.