Thursday, February 18, 2010

Why Are Fewer Patients Enrolling in Hospice? - Kaiser Health News

by Howard Gleckman, Senior Research Associate at the Urban Institute

Suddenly, many hospices are admitting fewer patients. Others are increasingly caring for people for just days or hours before they die. The result: cash-strapped hospices are cutting back on nurses and aides, and patients are missing out on critical end-of-life care.

It is not clear why it’s happening, but some hospice officials blame both a bad economy and Medicare rules that unintentionally discourage doctors from referring all but those who are about to die.

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