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For-Profit Hospice See More Live Discharges than Nonprofits

Posted on Monday, November 25, 2019 1:52 PM

According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), live discharges are more frequent among for-profit hospices than nonprofits.  They were less likely to visit a patient the last three days of their life. 

GAO reports that in 2017 more than 22% of Medicare beneficiaries in hospice were discharged alive, compared to 12% among nonprofit providers. Over 460 for-profit providers discharged half of their patients or more prior to death, compared to 10 nonprofits that had similar rates.

“Given the various reasons for live discharges, we expect that hospices will have some live discharges, but interpret a high rate of live discharges as potentially suggestive of quality of care issues,” the report indicated. “A high live discharge rate could in some cases be an indicator of poor quality of care provided or of provider misuse of the benefit, in that they may be enrolling beneficiaries who are not eligible for hospice.”

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