New legislature aims to improve service, prevent problemsA battle is being waged in Washington over a bill that, if passed, would force Medicare and Medicaid to test a new payment system over a two-year period. The bill has come about as a direct results of alleged shady dealings by for-profit hospice care programs, the largest of which are Vitas and Gentiva. These two organizations, which spend a combined total of nearly $1.2 million dollars a year lobbying Congress to prevent this type of legislation, are both currently undergoing fraud investigations as well.
This quote from a USA Today article describes the reason Sen. Ron Wyden created this new bill:
The change in billing rules comes in response to complaints that for-profit hospice agencies “cherry-pick” patients who will require less-expensive care, such as for Alzheimer’s or neurological disorders, rather than cancer patients, but then receive the same flat rate of $143 a day as do non-profit hospices that tend to take on more-expensive patients. Medicare spending on hospice rose 70% from 2005 through 2009 to $4.31 billion, Medicare records show. In 2009, 56% hospices were for-profit, up from 13% in 1992.
Trade groups representing hospice companies have joined forces to promote this bill under the banner of The Hospice Action Network, believing that honesty, integrity, and patient care are top priority.
As always, Hospice Care Corp is a 100% not-for-proft program whose efforts have set the benchmark for service and experience in communities across Western Virginia.