Open Accessibility Menu

Can hospice be saved?

  • Season: Season 4
  • Posted On:

Mission and margin and the soul of caring

At the end of last year,The New Yorker and ProPublica documented fraud and mistreatment in some for-profit hospices across the country. The exposé shouted something that has been whispered for a long while in circles concerned with the care of the dying: hospice needs saving.

Begun as a visionary mission run by charities, hospice care has morphed into a 22 billion dollar industry where margin trumps mission. On today's program, host Seán Collins discusses the state of hospice, its future, and ways to preserve quality of care when caring for people at the end of their lives. Guests are Drs. Ira Byock and Glen Komatsu, longtime hospice physicians and thought leaders in the field.


The nature of suffering and the goals of medicine

Glen Komatsu, M.D.

Chief Medical Officer

Providence Hospice, Los Angeles County

Torrance, Calif.


Ira Byock, M.D., FAAHMP

Emeritus Professor of Medicine

Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth

Author, Dying Well (1997), The Four Things That Matter Most (2004), and The Best Care Possible (2012)

Missoula, Mont.




How Hospice Became a For-Profit Hustle by Ava Kofman (New Yorker)

Endgame: How the Visionary Hospice Movement Became a For-Profit Hustle by Ava Kofman (ProPublica)

Joint statement from The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) and National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) responding to Ava Kofman's reporting.

Dr. Tara Friedman's response to the New Yorker article (President, American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine)

Hospice Needs Saving by Ira Byock (STAT First Opinion)

National Hospice Locator

A simplified description of the person from Dr. Eric Cassell's "The Nature of Suffering and the Goals of Medicine."



  • Ira Byock M.D.
  • Seán Collins
  • Glen Komatsu M.D.


  • propublica
  • hospice
  • for-profit hospice
  • the new yorker
  • hospice reform
  • fraud
  • mission