Legendary broadcaster Paul Harvey delivered a popular feature called “The Rest of the Story.” He would hook listeners with a catchy opening, provide some vague details and then reveal an often surprising ending. His concluding line was always: “And now you know… the rest of the story!”
How about this for an attention getting headline? “Government Spending More Than $12 Billion On Hospice Care.”
In 2011, ABC News reported that the amount Medicare pays hospice care organizations had increased 53% from 2005 to 2009. The main reason, says the report, is the number of patients using hospice also increased significantly.
The amount that Medicare paid hospices in 2009 was over $12 billion dollars, according to the ABC News report. That’s billion with a “B.” That’s a lot of money. That’s a figure that gets attention.
ABC News, to its credit, goes on in the report to explain what hospice care is, then quotes Robert Field, a health management professor from Drexel University in Philadelphia. He says that hospice care “is used more and more because it’s worked out for many people.”
The story also quotes the Don Schumacher, head of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, who makes the excellent point that “hospice still saves the government money.”
The ABC report concluded with two telling quotes:
“For every patient admitted to hospice, it saves approximately $2,250 compared to patients with similar illnesses not admitted to hospice care,” said Schumacher.
“The fact that the government is spending more on hospice care might be a good thing,” said Field. “That could be money we’re not spending on long-term care or hospital care.”
Yes, Medicare spending on hospice care has increased because more people are using hospice. More people are using hospice because more people know about it and have been told about its benefits. Because more people are using hospice instead of spending time in hospitals, hospice is actually saving the government money!
And now you know…
….the rest of the story!