- Stevenson DG, Dalton JB, Grabowski DC, Huskamp HA. Nearly half of all medicare hospice enrollees received care from agencies owned by regional or national chains. Health affairs (Project Hope). 2015 Jan 1;34(1). 30-8. PMID: 25561641 [PubMed].
Analyses of ownership in the US hospice sector have focused on the growth of for-profit hospice care and on aggregate differences in patient populations and service use patterns between for-profit and not-for-profit agencies. Such comparisons, although useful, do not offer insights about the types of organizations within the hospice sector, including the emergence of multiagency chains. Using Medicare cost report data for the period 2000-11, we tracked the evolution of the US hospice industry. We not only describe the market's composition by profit status but also provide new information about the roles of regional and national chains. Almost half of all Medicare hospice enrollees in 2011 received hospice services from a multiagency chain. A handful of companies play a prominent role, although the presence of smaller for-profit and not-for-profit hospice chains also has grown in recent years. By focusing on the role of the diverse organizations that provide hospice care, our analyses can help inform efforts to monitor and assure quality of care, to assess payment adequacy and options for reform, and to facilitate greater transparency and accountability within the hospice marketplace.