In the 1980s and 1990s nonprofits provided nearly all hospice care in the United States, but today there are more than 4600 hospices operating in the US and approximately 70% of them are for-profit corporations. Although both nonprofit and for-profit hospices care for patients and families at the end of life, for-profit corporations are in the hospice business to turn a profit and pay dividends to their stockholders. Nonprofit hospices put their resources back into services that benefit their patients and the community they serve. Patients – not profits – are what matter to us.
What exactly are the differences between for-profit and nonprofit hospices? A recent report by the National Partnership for Hospice Innovation found that…
- Nonprofit hospices provided patients with 10% more nursing visits, 35% more social worker visits, nearly three times as many physician or nurse practitioner visits, and twice as many therapy visits per day than their for-profit counterparts.
- For-profit hospices spent 300% more on advertising than its nonprofit counterparts.
- Nonprofit hospices spent more per day on direct patient care than for-profits.
- The live discharge rate for for-profit hospices (patients discharged from hospice before dying) was almost twice as high as that of nonprofit hospices. (A high live discharge rate may indicate that patients are pushed out when their care becomes expensive or that they are dissatisfied with their care.)
- Nonprofits spent more on services such as grief support services, volunteer programs and palliative care programs.
At Lumina, we invest in clinical education to enhance care, offer additional therapeutic treatments and caregiver and grief support, and believe that receiving quality end-of-life care should never be predicated on an individual’s ability to pay.
Not all hospice care is the same. You have a right to be informed and choose the very best care for your loved ones. Medicare requires that patients and families be given all available choices when hospice care is being considered. It is your right to choose.