Saturday, December 24, 2011

Washington Post spurs debate on integrity of hospice care


Today, in the Washington Post, several parties weighed in on the ethics if the hospice care industry, primary link (for a letter from the National Hospice and Palliative Care organization, here.  

All of this refers back to a Dec. 18 Post Business story “The big payoff of pushing patients into hospice”.
 
It is true that a doctor must sign off on the prospect that the ordinary course of a patient’s illness means a life expectancy of less than six months.  It can be renewed. 

My own mother entered hospice Nov. 24, 2009 and stayed at home, actually entering the facility Dec. 10, 2010, four days before she passed away from aortic stenosis and congestive heart failure just after her 97th birthday. 

Admission to the program required an interview and examination by a nurse and detailed review of medical records, including recent tests (such as echocardiogram, where there are specific metrics predictive of probable survival when heart function is already severely impaired). 
 
Hospice home care typically results in billing to Medicare of $3000 to $4000 a month. 

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