Non-Profit vs. For-Profit Hospices: What Is the Difference?

undefinedEach November during National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, organizations across the country raise awareness about the many benefits of this philosophy of care and the important factors patients and families should consider when choosing a provider. All patients will have the option to select a for-profit or non-profit hospice. It’s important to understand the similarities and differences between the two types of providers.

Established in 1983, the Medicare Hospice Benefit provides Medicare beneficiaries with access to high-quality, end-of-life care services. About 90 percent of hospice patients are Medicare beneficiaries, and over 1.5 million Americans received hospice care last year.

Medicare pays all hospices a per-diem or per-day rate that covers all aspects of a patient’s care, from clinical services to medications. The per diem rate varies by state and county, but does not change if a hospice is for-profit or non-profit. All hospices must also comply with the same state and federal regulations regarding the quality of care patients should receive.

What is the Difference Between For-Profit and Non-Profit Hospices?

The biggest difference between for-profit and non-profit hospices is that non-profit hospices are not required to pay taxes to state or federal governments on the funds they receive from Medicare. Tax exemption is a standard of all non-profits and is not exclusive to hospice care.

Another difference is that for-profit hospices are prohibited from using charitable donations from the community for direct patient care, while non-profit hospices may hold fundraisers, solicit donations from the community, and utilize those funds for patients care and other purposes. Many for-profit hospices establish a separate non-profit Foundation that can collect donations. Each Foundation has a specialized mission, such as securing supplies to help patients with special needs, or providing hospice education to area healthcare providers.

Hospice providers, regardless of their business structure, are unified by the mission to provide the highest quality of end-of-life care to patients facing life-limiting illnesses and their families. The profit status of a hospice is not nearly as important as the care provided. When choosing a hospice, it’s important to learn how services are provided, the structure of the care team, and the special programs available to you or your loved one. By interviewing a variety of providers, you can determine what organization best meet your needs. Find out more about what makes Crossroads Hospice unique.

During November, Crossroads Hospice is offering a toll-free hotline in recognition of National Hospice Month. It’s staffed 24/7 by Crossroads specialists who can answer any of your questions about hospice care, when the time is right to consider hospice, and how comfort care can benefit you or your loved one. The toll-free number is 1-855-FAQ-HOSPICE.