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Hard Days for Hospice

OPB | Aug. 19, 2008 midnight | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 8:43 p.m.

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How will budget cuts affect hospice care?

Preparing for death is one of the hardest things we have to do. When the end of life is not sudden, but gradual, families are often faced with choices about how to make their loved one most comfortable in their last days. The numbers of people dying in hospitals has been falling steadily in Oregon over the past decade as many more people choose to finish their lives at home or in a hospice care facility.

More than half of the Oregonians on Medicare use the benefit to cover end-of-life hospice care — making up approximately 80 percent of the budget for hospice organizations. With more and more people across the country using Medicare to cover hospice each year, the costs to the federal program have also been on the rise. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid announced earlier this month that they would be making cuts in reimbursments for hospice care over the next three years.

Has your family used hospice care? Are you using it now? Why did you make that choice? What can you tell us about your experience? Do you work for a hospice organization? How will the cuts affect you?

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Photo credit: gregor_y / Flickr / Creative Commons

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