It turns out private equity firms are buying up hospice providers. And it turns out the for-profit hospices do not, in general, provide as much care for dying patients as the nonprofit hospices, according to Kaiser Heath News:
“Patients in nonprofits had more nursing, social worker, and therapy visits. For-profit hospices, the report found, had longer lengths of stay by patients, discharged more patients before death, and had profit margins nearly seven times higher. Other studies have found that for-profit hospices have higher rates of complaints and deficiencies, provide fewer community benefits, and have higher rates of emergency room and other hospital use.”
Why are private equity firms buying up hospices? Obviously, they want to make money, and they are not particularly concerned with the details of providing hospice care:
“With the U.S. population rapidly aging, hospice has become a boom industry. Medicare — … which pays for the vast majority of end-of-life care — spent $22.4 billion on hospice in 2020…. That’s up from $12.9 billion just a decade earlier. … But with limited oversight and generous payment, the industry is at high risk for exploitation. Agencies are paid a daily rate for each patient — this year, about $200 — which encourages for-profit hospices to limit spending to boost their bottom lines. For-profit hospices tend to hire fewer employees than nonprofits and expect them to see more patients.”
Read the article, and I think you’ll be convinced that if you ever need a hospice provider, you’ll really, really want to find a nonprofit.