Friday, February 19, 2016

Hospice care episodes increasing in length, increasing bills for Medicare

Christopher Weaver, Anna Wilde Mathews, and Tom McGinty have a booklet-length article in the Wall Street Journal Friday, February 19, 2016, “Lengthy Hospice Care Boosts Medicare Bills; more dementia patients and others who die slowly are receiving care, causing costs to rise”

Hospice care (which usually starts at home with visits) is supposed to be offered when life expectancy is six months are less.  My own mother started it in November 2009 and passed away in December, 2010, using it thirteen months (the extensions had to be applied for two weeks at a time).  She spent four days in the actual facility, but the day before she declined suddenly to the point of going in (there are very definite signs that death is imminent), her signs had been the best for a long time.  In some cases, people might recover well enough to come out for a while.

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