Hospice Compare: Input and Advocacy: Hospice Leaders’ Opportunity to Guide the Process Given that both…
5. Profiteering: Patient-Centered vs. Profit-Driven Hospice Care – Part 5
ADVOCATING FOR CHANGE, TRANSPARENCY TO ENSURE QUALITY HOSPICE CARE FOR ALL
Providing all terminally ill patients with compassionate, quality care at the end of life was the vision of Dame Saunders and is the commitment not-for-profit hospices have made to patients and families for years. Still, hospice and palliative care continue to suffer from a lack of full understanding and from a range of misperceptions – all of which lead to fewer than half of terminally ill hospitalized patients receiving a referral to hospice.33
News coverage about hospice deficiencies, while vital to advancing information, adds to the confusion and erodes the trust that is so important between patients, families and hospice care providers. Unless we in the hospice field recognize the urgency of addressing these problems and take effective action, the original patient-centered hospice movement could be permanently damaged by profit-driven motives of a growing segment of the industry.
Ultimately this question cannot be ignored: Does it exceed the ethical boundaries of the hospice movement, whose legacy lies in putting the patient first, to allow market-driven companies to control end-of-life care? Certainly the statistics presented here should raise concern among those who believe that the dying deserve to be treated with dignity and compassion and not as a target for potential profits.
Now is the time to stand up, together, for the rights of dying patients, support patient-centered hospice organizations who are providing quality care for those patients, and reject the profit-focused practices of the companies who are exploiting this situation of need. Policymakers, regulators, community leaders, and healthcare providers must take up the cause and protect the legacy of compassionate, high-quality care for the dying.
About National Hospice Cooperative
Our mission is to provide world-class, business support services, maximizing financial and process efficiencies to empower community-based, not-for-profit hospice providers to focus their resources on the delivery of quality care.
CEO BrandWeavers for Health
Karen M. Wyatt MD
Physician and author of
What Really Matters
President of the
National Hospice Cooperative