WOODRUFF - By 2015, 3 out of 10 people in Wisconsin will be considered part of the aging population.
But the issue of whether or not hospice facilities are draining Medicare for a profit is a nationwide issue.
"When those articles came out, those national articles, we were upset and hurt," said Leslie Schmidt, admissions coordinator at Seasons of Life Hospice Care. Unfortunately, our agency gets lumped into and we are very proud of what we do here at Ministry [Health Care]."
Schmidt is talking about a recent Wsshington Post article that states, "the number of "hospice survivors" in the United States has risen dramatically, in part because hospice companies earn more by recruiting patients who aren't actually dying."
Schmidt believes that accusation spoils the benefit of hospice care.
"It creates an inherit distrust for the services that are provided, that are legitimate, caring services that are provided by people who do good work, said Schmidt."
Some hospice patients are sent home because their Medicare benefits are revoked.
"That's why Medicare has very clearly defined guidelines of what the last six months of someone's life looks like."
Schmidt doesn't deny that Medicare fraud in the hospice care industry exists, but she doesn't want that to take away from good work that hospice care providers do.
"[Those] kinds of stories in particular are stories of interest. In that story, the people and the agencies that do good work, which are following the rules of Medicare, and other insurance programs get lost."
It's possible that the meaning of hospice is changing. Fewer people are dying in hospice care, but more people are relying on it.
"The biggest misconception is that hospice is a place that people go to at the end of life," said Melissa Salaam, who is the patience care supervisor at Ministry. Really, what it is, is the hospice teams comes to them, wherever they call home."
For registered nurse Chris Reed-Roeser, being a hospice caregiver is a dignified job to have.
"There are two things that I feel are the best part of my job. One being; that I work with an awesome group of people. I work with people who feel the same passion about end of life care as I do," said Reed-Roeser. "Secondly, going home at night and just knowing that you made a difference."
STEVENS POINT - Stevens Point Police are investigating an armed robbery.
Around 6 a.m. Sunday morning, police and Portage County Sheriff Deputies responded to a report of an armed robbery at the R Store in the 5400 block of HWY 10 E in Stevens Point. Police say during the initial investigation, they determined an armed suspect displayed a weapon and took money from the store.
LAKE TOMAHAWK - A 32-year-old woman had to be airlifted to a hospital after a snowmobile crash.
Oneida County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Tyler Young said emergency crews responded to the accident around 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning. It happened in an area off Highway 47 near Fawn Lake Rd in McNaughton.
EAGLE RIVER - A Snow Show in Eagle River reminded visitors of all that snowmobiling clubs do for Wisconsin. About 300 people stopped by the Eagle River Derby Track Sunday for the event. The Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs invited 15 vendors to help educate people about the economics and basics of snowmobiling.
"We just want everybody to be aware of all the work that goes into maintaining and upkeep of the snowmobile trails," said Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs President Dave Newman. It was the 5th annual Snow Show.
MINOCQUA - A major 'safety net' resource used by nearly 800,000 people in Wisconsin could get cut in half. The Trump Administration wants to radically change SNAP. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program formally known as food stamps. " It's a fundamental lifeline," said St. Germain Sentury Foods owner David Weber. Last Monday Weber found out a lifeline for some of his customers was at risk.
" In its current form it's a very vital necessity for the families," said Weber. Weber's store has supported the current debit card style SNAP or food stamp program since it started in the 60s. However, the Trump administration wants to radically change SNAP to a food box delivery styled program in its 2019 budget. " The boxes people would receive, would contain mostly shelve stable food it doesn't [provide] fresh vegetables," said Weber. With the change low- income Americans receiving at least $90 a month would get half their benefits in the form of a "USDA Foods package."
" There may be a need for change for the SNAP program, but I'm not sure the proposed changes are the way to go," said Weber. The box would include shelf stable milk, ready to eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, and beans, but no fruits or vegetables. " [It's a] disservice to the community and the people who receive that benefit," said Weber. Weber said right now the current SNAP program allows people to get the food their families need when they need it. Instead of the nearly 800,000 SNAP users in Wisconsin needing to wait for a pre-arranged box delivery. " If there is going to be changes they need to be realistic changes that won't hurt people," said Weber.
BOULDER JUNCTION - People from as far as Iowa and New York travelled to the Northwoods on Saturday to take on a unique challenge. Boulder Junction held a new winter sports event that proved to be quite a success.
"I'm just really happy to see this all come together," said Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Theresa Smith.
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