If you work in the hospice and palliative care industry, you undoubtedly read, or at least heard about, an article published in The New York Times,“Concerns About Costs Rise With Hospices’ Use.” The article alleges that some hospice organizations, although it was a few for-profit hospice companies that were named, fraudulently enrolled patients in hospice. This claim intends to support the more than $9 billion rise in costs of the Medicare hospice benefit from 2000 to 2009.
However, nearly 1.1 million Medicare patients are served by a hospice program a year. Each day, more and more people come to learn about and experience the immense value hospice providers bring to patients and families near the end of life.
The article states, “Indeed, advocates say more patients should be receiving hospice services earlier in the course of the illness.” This is evidenced by the fact that “the median time spent in hospice care now is just 17 days.”
We agree about the need to manage costs, yet it is vital to ensure patients and their families receive the expert level of care and support you provide at the end of life. This is a benefit to them only if your care and support are received for months not days.
How many times have you heard a family member say, “We just wish we knew about hospice sooner?”
While comments like these may be both pleasing and disappointing to hear, they are a testament to the deep appreciation families feel for the care and support you provide during challenging times.
Testimonials from families can be a compelling way to educate healthcare decision-makers and physicians about what you do and how you do it each day. Tell those stories! If a family is willing to share their story publicly, pitch the idea for an interview to your local media. Have the family share their story on video and post the video to your website and Facebook page.
Use The New York Times article as an opportunity to tell your story about your hospice program’s philosophy of care and educate your local community about the importance of engaging with hospice sooner rather than later.
Transcend is a leading marketing public relations firm focused solely on the hospice industry. We help hospice organizations increase admissions and length of stay, which generates more revenue to fund their mission.
Marketing hospice care is a balance of educating audiences about what hospice programs provide, while promoting those advantages with the utmost dignity.