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Hospice care, once provided primarily by nonprofit agencies, has seen a remarkable shift over the past decade, with more than two-thirds of hospices nationwide now operating as for-profit entities. The ability to turn a quick profit in caring for people in their last days of life is attracting a new breed of hospice owners: private equity firms.
That rapid growth has many hospice veterans worried that the original hospice vision may be fading, as those capital investment companies’ demand for return on investment and the debt load they force hospices to bear are hurting patients and their families.
“Many of these transactions are driven by the motive of a quick profit,” said Dr. Joan Teno, an adjunct professor at Brown University School of Public Health, whose work has focused on end-of-life care. “I’m very concerned that you’re harming not only the dying patient, but the family whose memory will be of a loved one suffering because they didn’t get adequate care.”