Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hospice care is on the rise along with fraud

Hospice care allows those who are terminally ill to receive pain medicine without receiving treatment to prolong their lives. This has been shown to both extent the life and comfort of the patient while saving money on treatment. However, with pain medication use on the rise, experts are fearful of the rise in fraud. In 2000, Medicare paid $2.9 billion in hospice care bills. In 2009, those cost increased by a whopping $9 billion.

Based on fears of fraud and the drastic increase in budget, Medicare adopted a rule that if an individual stays longer than six months on pain medicine, they will meet a doctor or nurse face-to-face in order to determine if the patient is suffering from a terminal condition. The New York Times wonders if this will cause those who really need palliative care to seek treatment elsewhere. What do you think?

Studies show that almost a third of Medicare’s $327 billion annual budget is spent on end of life care. The Medicare Congress will provide you with strategies to control costs associated with end of life care as well as other expensive populations.

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