Having a patient live longer Actually means Less Money for Hospice Providers
Basically, MediCare expects Hospice to be to only cost so much, and thus if someone lives longer, thus costing more money, the government wants their money back. I can truly understand the desire for saving money, but in reality, ethics should play a role in decision making. Those who are dealing with a disease process which could kill them shouldn't have to suffer simply because they don't die quickly enough. This kind of policy takes away resources people need.
What angers me most about this, and many other things involving painful and/or life-altering diseases and the government or society's responses to them is that there's an underlying assumption that people want to need these resources. It says "Wow, someone might get (insert terrible disease here), just to use these resources." It's similar to the assumption that people with RSD are just in it for the drugs. Most people I've known who needed hospice services are not in it for the hospice services. They're truly suffering. Some of them are ready to die, some aren't. But either way, hospice services provide that needed help to make the quality of life good.
A person can generally not control their need for resources any more than we can all control our need for water. There may be things you can do to help prevent diseases, but you can't completely prevent anything. If you can't prevent disease, how can you decide when you're going to die? If we truly knew when six months was coming up, it would probably allow many people to do things they can't currently do. People could say their good byes with just the right amount of time, get all of their affairs in order, decide or designate someone to decide when their funeral would be, figure out how to control their pain and get help lined up for all of their life needs until that day comes. But we don't know when we're going to die, and it's unreasonable to expect our doctors to know eather.
Yes, there are exceptions. There are people who would intentionally use these services inappropriately. But we need to insure that we don't become distrustful, just because we can.
This entry was written for
LJ Idol, Week #4