Investigation Reveals Rampant Fraud by Privatized Hospice Groups

A Washington Post investigation into the world of hospice care published Thursday found that what was initially intended to be a peaceful end-of-life alternative led by religious and community organizations, has now evolved into a $17 billion for-profit industry ripe with scams and abuse.

Hospice care, which focuses on providing comfort to the terminally ill rather than finding a cure, is funded primarily by Medicare—which makes an estimated 85 to 90 percent of all payments to hospices.

Quick to capitalize on this booming industry, since 2000 the number of hospices run by for-profit companies has jumped from 30 percent to nearly 60 percent—with an even larger share of the patients; during the same period, Medicare expenditures on hospice jumped from $2.9 billion to $15.1 billion.

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