As hospice liaisons we are asked on a daily basis “are you a non-profit hospice?” After being asked this question day after day we thought what a great topic for our blog page. All of us at Front Range Hospice believe that knowledge is power, so visit our blog page frequently or like us on face book to get the answers to the questions you may have.
FOR-PROFIT AND NON-PROFIT HOSPICES
by Victor Montour
The Medicare Hospice benefit is a highly regulated program with very specific requirements that are monitored closely. This oversight is in part needed because approximately 90% of hospice patients are receiving services under their Medicare benefit.
Medicare pays all hospices a per diem rate, which is the dollar amount Medicare, has determined that will cover essentially all of the expenses related to the management of the patient’s care. This dollar amount varies from state-to-state and then from county-to-county. The rate is based on the location the care is provided not the location of the hospice office. There is no difference in the rate between for-profit or non-profit.
Perhaps the most significant difference between a non-profit hospice and for- profit hospice is that non-profits do not pay taxes. This is an exclusive quality of all non-profits no matter what the goals of that organization may be. A common misconception is that “non-profit” means monies are not exchanged or that the non-profit organization is run by volunteers, donations, and grant money. Some of this is true; however it is not completely true, as non-profits have employees that receive compensation. In the case of a non-profit hospice, Medicare pays them the exact same per diem that the for-profit hospices receive. They are just not taxed on that money due to how their business is structured. The taxes that are assessed to the for- profit hospices are paid to the county in which they are located; this money is then used to support local government, social programs, and special projects that benefit the community.
Every hospice must follow the guidelines that Medicare has designated, and every hospice is run differently and is special in its own way. This flexibility is an intricate part of the Medicare Hospice Regulations. There are regulations of what needs to be provided and there is flexibility in how this is provided. Beyond the Medicare criteria, every hospice has the ability to do things in their own special way. For example, aroma therapy, music and pet therapies are just some of the complementary therapies that a hospice may have to offer. You may find different complementary services throughout the other hospices of Colorado. It is these special extras that make each hospice unique and establishes a personal fit to those that are entering hospice. It is indeed these special “extras” that may help a person when they are deciding which hospice is right for themselves or their loved one.
When you really look at the differences between for-profit and non-profit hospice organizations, I believe you will see they really aren’t so different. Hospices, regardless of how they are organized, are here to help people live their lives with dignity and in comfort. They want to help the patient as well as the family, their caregivers, and their physicians. All hospice organizations follow the Conditions of Participation, have wonderful and caring staff members, and are prone to giving back to their community.
The major difference that really stands out is the one of personal choice. When you are choosing the hospice that is right for you, finding the organization that has the personal touches that appeal to you may be the motivating factor that you would want to consider.
Watch for our next blog – Front Range Hospice Non-Profit Memorial Fund
For more information call 303-957-3101 or 970-776-8080 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org