PLEDGE NOW
Big Business And Hospice Care

How dying became a multibillion-dollar industry.  We dig into the booming business in hospice care and big charges of fraud

Joe Takach, talks to his friend Lillian Landry, as she spends her last days in the hospice wing of an Oakland Park, Fla. hospital. (AP File)

Joe Takach, talks to his friend Lillian Landry, as she spends her last days in the hospice wing of an Oakland Park, Fla. hospital. (AP File)

When the end comes – and it comes for us all – we want it to be peaceful.  Dignified.  We want to be in calm and knowing hands.  Increasingly for Americans, that means turning, when death is near, to hospice care.  A generation ago, hospice was almost unknown.  A few non-profits here and there.  Today, hospice care has exploded into a huge, multi-billion dollar business.  With lots of distinctly, aggressively for-profit players.  Drawing billions from Medicare.  And charges of fraud and mistreatment.  This hour On Point:  what’s happened with American hospice care.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Ben Hallman, senior financial reporter and investigative reporter for the Huffington Post. His investigative piece is called “How Dying Became a Multibillion-dollar Industry.” (@ben_hallman)

J. Donald Schumacher, President and CEO of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. NHPCO represents both non-profit and for-profit hospices, including Vitas, one of the main national chains that reporter Ben Hellman highlighted in his report.

Dr. Diane Meier, Professor of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and Director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care. She is Principal Investigator of a National Cancer Institute-funded study on palliative care services for cancer patients and on the Board of Directors of non-profit Visiting Nurse Service of New York. She received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2008. She is the author of: Palliative Care: Transforming the Care of Serious Illness.

From Tom’s Reading List

Huffington Post: How Dying Became A Multibillion-Dollar Industry – Mounting evidence indicates that many providers are imperiling the health of patients in a drive to boost revenues and enroll more people, an investigation by The Huffington Post found.

New York Times: Differences in Care at For-Profit Hospices – For the terminally ill and their families, the disenrollment issue seems troubling. Some hospices now discharge 30 percent or more of their patients, withdrawing the services they’ve come to rely on.

The Washington Post: Terminal neglect? How some hospices treat dying patients – For more than a million patients every year, the burgeoning U.S. hospice industry offers the possibility of a peaceful death, typically at home. But that promise depends upon patients getting the medical attention they need in a crisis, and hundreds of hospices provide very little care to such patients, a Washington Post investigation has found.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Aug 31, 2015
A television photographer takes video of a memorial for the two slain journalist in front of the studios of WDBJ-TV7 in Roanoke, Va., Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward from the station were killed during a live broadcast Wednesday.  (AP)

Lessons from the Roanoke TV shootings. We’ll look at the way forward with the New York Times’ Nick Kristof and other top thinkers.

Aug 31, 2015
While the jury still deliberates, former St. Paul's School student Owen Labrie, left, leaves the Merrimack Superior Court at the end of day with security in tow Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, in Concord, N.H.  Labrie was convicted by a jury of several misdemeanors, but ruled not guilty in the most serious felony sexual assault charges. (AP)

A verdict in the New Hampshire prep school rape trial. And calls for changing sexual assault laws.

RECENT
SHOWS
Aug 28, 2015
Lightning first ignited the Meadow fire on July 20, 2014 in Yosemite. By September 8, the fire had charred 2,582 acres. Bernie Krause has recorded soundscapes of national parks destroyed by large areas of forest fires. Listen below.  (National Park Service)

A legendary natural sound collector shares his recordings. We’ll listen in.

 
Aug 28, 2015
WDBJ-TV7 meteorologist Leo Hirsbrunner, right, wipes his eyes during the early morning newscast as anchors Kimberly McBroom, center, and guest anchor Steve Grant deliver the news at the station in Roanoke, Va., Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were killed during a live broadcast Wednesday, while on assignment in Moneta. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

A deadly shooting on live TV. Wall Street’s roller coaster ride. Biden considers a White House bid. 10 years since Katrina.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: August 28, 2015
Friday, Aug 28, 2015

You say #hashtag, we say, #forwhat? That, plus Usain Bolt and the ominous lurking Segway cameraman. Friday!

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: August 21, 2015
Friday, Aug 21, 2015

Do you even click? (And other reflections on link sharing and web commenting).

More »
6 Comments
 
Do You Recognize Amazon’s Workplace Culture? Tell Us!
Tuesday, Aug 18, 2015

Do you recognize the workplace conditions described in a recent New York Times piece on Amazon? We want to hear from you!

More »
5 Comments