In the Business of Dying: Questioning the Commercialization of Hospice

Perry, Joshua E.; Stone, Robert C.
June 2011
Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics;Summer2011, Vol. 39 Issue 2, p224
Academic Journal
This article critically questions the commercialization of hospice care and the ethical concerns associated with the industry's movement toward 'market-driven medicine' at the end of life. For example, the article examines issues raised by an influx of for-profit hospice providers whose business model appears at its core to have an ethical conflict of interest between shareholders doing well and terminal patients dying well. Yet, empirical data analyzing the experience of patients across the hospice industry are limited, and general claims that end-of-life patient care is inferior among for-profit providers or even that their business practices are somehow unseemly when compared to nonprofit providers cannot be substantiated. In fact, non-profit providers are not immune to potentially conflicting concerns regarding financial viability (i.e., 'no margin, no mission'). Given the limitations of existing empirical data and contrasting ideological commitments of for-profit versus non-profit providers, the questions raised by this article highlight important areas for reflection and further study. Policymakers and regulators are cautioned to keep ethical concerns in the fore as an increasingly commercialized hospice industry continues to emerge as a dominant component of the U.S. health care system. Both practitioners and researchers are encouraged to expand their efforts to better understand how business practices and commercial interests may compromise the death process of the patient and patient's family - a process premised upon a philosophy and ethical tradition that earlier generations of hospice providers and proponents established as a trusted, end-of-life alternative.


Related Articles

  • 'Are we getting it right?'  // Paediatric Nursing;Apr2004, Vol. 16 Issue 3, p4 

    Reports on the quality assurance tool called Are we getting it right? launched by the Association of Children's Hospices for use in children's hospice services in England. Description of the tool; Users of children's hospice services; Information on the project.

  • TRENDS: National Trends In Adult Hospice Use: 1991-1992 To 1999-2000. Han, Beth; Remsburg, Robin E.; McAuley, William J.; Keay, Timothy J.; Travis, Shirley S. // Health Affairs;May/Jun2006, Vol. 25 Issue 3, p792 

    This study examines hospice use among adult hospice patients based on the 1992-2000 National Home and Hospice Care Surveys, the 1997-1999 National Nursing Home Surveys, and the 1991-2000 annual Underlying and Multiple Cause-of-Death Files. The total number of adult hospice patients tripled...

  • HISPANICS' EXPERIENCES IN THE HEALTH SYSTEM PRIOR TO HOSPICE ADMISSION. Adams, Carolyn E.; Horn, Kathryn; Bader, Julia // Journal of Cultural Diversity;Winter2007, Vol. 14 Issue 4, p155 

    National data document that Hispanics are under-represented in hospice. Policy makers often attribute the under-representation to Hispanics' cultural values and preferences, however, another reason may be healthcare system barriers encountered by Hispanics. We explored Hispanics' versus Whites'...

  • Hospice Quality Data Submission Debuts.  // Eli's Hospice Insider;Mar2012, Vol. 5 Issue 3, p22 

    The article reports on the move of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) which began collecting quality data for hospices in January 2012 in the U.S. According to the CMS, the voluntary reporting of structural measure data with specific quality indicators would allow them to learn...

  • HOSPICE.  // Crain's Cleveland Business;12/19/2011 Book of L, Vol. 32 Issue 51, p0063 

    The article presents health care establishments that offer hospice care in Ohio including Crossroads Hospice in Valley View, Hospice and Palliative Care of Visiting Nurse Service in Akron, and the Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio Hospice in Cleveland.

  • Hospices getting discounts via buying group. Chi, Judy // Drug Topics;4/8/96, Vol. 140 Issue 7, p53 

    Focuses on the drug price discounts received by hospices in the United States through the organization, the Hospice Provider Group. Membership of HPG; Membership fee paid by retail pharmacists in exchange for the discounts; Other health products covered by HPG; Historical background.

  • 'Home' Setting is Key to Hospice Care. MEILING, BRITTANY // San Diego Business Journal;2/9/2015, Vol. 36 Issue 6, p1 

    The article reviews the BonitaView Home hospice care facility opened by Sharp HospiceCare in the South Bay area of San Diego County, California.

  • Kudos for Friends of Karen.  // Westchester County Business Journal;6/29/2009, Vol. 48 Issue 26, p34 

    The article announces that Friends of Karen has received the Team Award from Hospice Care Network.

  • Hospice can save your life. Humble, Loretta // Malakoff News (TX);7/3/2015, Vol. 106 Issue 27, p2 

    The author shares how the Hospice of East Texas save the life of her parolee friend Don, and reflects on receiving a lot of attention from family and friends on her 77th birthday in June 2015.


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics