Hospice reviews: an occasional feature
While recently researching hospice services I found that reviews do not seem to be easily available or readily accessible.
Medicare maintains a site, Nursing Home Compare, with detailed information on nursing homes
A similar Hospice Compare site is needed.
In the absence of such a service, the Madison Healthy Living Examiner is inaugurating this occasional feature to share information and links which can be used to evaluate hospices.
Southern Care, Inc.
In January , 2009, Southern Care, Inc. paid a $24.7 million settlement to the U.S. government for fraudulently billing Medicare for hospice services.
Southern Care, Inc. is based in Birmingham, Alabama, and provides hospice services in 15 states from about 99 locations.
Individual patient care is not alleged to have been compromised.
The size of this fraud raises questions as to what else was this corporation willing compromise in pursuit of profit and how high was of a priority was placed quality patient care.
In the absence of independent reviews such as the results of regulatory compliance surveys and comparisons to other hospices, a judgment on the quality of their patient care cannot be made.
At this time, decisions about the use of Southern Care can only be based on information such as this fraud settlement.
A hospice with this history should be viewed with extreme caution and other agencies, especially non-profits, should be considered first.
For more information:
“Largest Hospice Fraud in U.S. History” by Kathleen Eckelt, Forensics Talk: A Forensic Nurse’s Weblog
The post includes a link to news release by the law firm which represented the employees who blew the whistle on Southern Care.