"With any business, there is opportunity to exploit clients. Unfortunately, it takes just one instance to hurt all of us."
"No, to my knowledge, we have not," Moffitt emphatically stated when asked. "We have had corporate compliance in place since 2000 and a Hotline for tips to report anything that a person might think is outside regulations. We have one person who investigates these complaints and, generally, they are from a misunderstanding or not knowing our policies concerning patient care.
"We encourage reporting anything so we can investigate because we can be held accountable."
A check of
In the national article by
"We do not 'seek' out anyone. We get requests from patients, family members and referrals from doctors and hospitals," Moffitt said. "We make sure they are eligible for our services and we do ask if there is a pay source, whether it is private insurance or
Hospice became a
Hospice care is not designed to extend life, so the treatment offered is not intended to cure, but rather to provide comfort. Still, fewer patients have been dying within
"Fraudulence in the healthcare system is a national concern and organizations not abiding by rules and regulations should be held accountable," he said.
"As we begin the celebration of
Factors impacting care
The article also said that a
Moffitt said any number of factors are involved when a person leaves Hospice care or services.
"People are discharged from Hospice when they might be admitted gravely ill and get better with the expert care we provide," she said. "Of the 5.5 percent of our patients discharged, it is because they stabilize, and decide to try a more aggressive treatment such as surgery or chemotherapy. Unfortunately, they may come back to us later."
"Does everybody die who comes here? No," he said. "Are they discharged? It's true, with specialized care they can improve. It's a misconception -- all discharged are not death."
The average length of a stay under Hospice care rose to 86 days in 2011 from 54 days in 2000, MedPAC found -- a period that coincides with an influx of for-profit outfits into the industry.
The number of for-profit hospices nearly doubled from 2000 to 2012, according to MedPAC. By 2013, 3,925 hospices were in operation, up 5.3 percent from the previous year. Of those, about two-thirds were for-profit.
The average length of stay in a for-profit hospice was much longer than a nonprofit in 2013 -- 105 days versus 68 days, MedPAC reported.
Of greatest concern
"It's a broad brush and not fair to those of us trying to properly do our jobs," Moffitt said. "When you see Hospice Medicare fraud, readers think we are all under the same umbrella. We are not. We are a private not-for-profit hospice and operate under
Caughron added that the
"As the article shares, '... only about 40 percent of the people who are deemed eligible for hospice actually use the services.' We are fortunate that in
"The Hospice Medicare Benefit provides hospice care when someone has an anticipated life expectancy of six months or less, yet the majority of those who choose hospice care receive it for a tremendously shorter period of time.
"We appreciate the focus of this article because we too understand the importance of accountability and compliance within healthcare, specifically hospice care."
Myths about Hospice
* Myth: Choosing hospice care means giving up hope.
Truth: Hospice care is the beginning of a new hope ... a hope to make the most out of every moment. We call this "Hospice Hope." We encourage you to take a moment to read the Stories of Hope from our hospice families and learn about the Hospice Hope that our families experience.
* Myth: Hospice care is only for the last days of life.
Truth: Hospice care is most beneficial to those that receive hospice care for longer lengths of time so that they are able to receive medical, emotional and spiritual care.
* Myth: Hospice care is only available at home.
Truth: Hospice care is not limited to care in the home. The majority of patients do receive hospice care in their homes, but many receive hospice care in local assisted living facilities and skilled nursing facilities, local hospitals and at the Randolph Hospice House, a specialized in-patient facility.
* Myth: Hospice care is expensive.
* Myth: Choosing hospice care means giving up all medical treatment.
Truth: Hospice emphasizes comfort care instead of curative care. Hospice care focuses on pain and symptom management and keeping individuals as comfortable as possible.
* Myth: Hospice care is only for people with cancer.
Truth: Hospice care is available for anyone with a terminal illness and a limited life expectancy of six months or less as required by
* Myth: Only a physician can make a hospice referral.
Truth: Anyone can make a hospice referral. You know yourself and your loved ones better than anyone else. If you would like to learn more about hospice care or find out if hospice care can benefit you or your loved ones, please call
* Myth: I have to give up my physician when receiving hospice care.
Truth: The hospice team works closely with your physician to meet your care needs.
* Myth: Hospice care is only for the patient.
Truth: Hospice care supports the needs of the patient as well as their family members.
* Myth: Hospice care hastens death.
Truth: Research has shown that in many cases, the opposite is true. A 2007 study published in the
* Myth: Hospice care ends when a patient dies.
Truth: Following a patient's death, bereavement and grief support services are available to the family for 13 months or longer if desired. These services are always free of charge and open to the public.
* Myth: I must have a family member that received hospice care with
For more information about Hospice services, visit www.hospiceofrandolph.org or call 336-672-9300.
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