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NEWS STORIES

Rising hospice care concerns?Submitted: 02/19/2014

Kalia Baker
Morning Anchor/Reporter
kbaker@wjfw.com

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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."








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 IN OTHER NEWS
Wisconsin may see the fewest number of traffic deaths since World War IISubmitted: 12/19/2014

MADISON - Wisconsin may see the fewest number of traffic deaths since World War II.

Traffic fatalities continue to decline across Wisconsin.

As of Wednesday, Wisconsin Department of Transportation Data showed there have been 480 road deaths so far this year.

That's compared to 527 in 2013.

The director of the transportation department's bureau of safety hopes there will be less than 500 fatalities by the end of the year.

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Flood Warning at Keshena may be extended againSubmitted: 12/19/2014

KESHENA - A flood warning effecting south central Menominee county could be extended again.

The warning for the Keshena area is due to run out at 10:00 p.m. Friday.

The warning will be extended if high water continues to be a problem.

The National Weather Service issued the warning after ice jams backed up water on the Wolf River.

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Couple sues county officials for putting down donkeySubmitted: 12/19/2014

BUTTERNUT - A Wisconsin couple is suing Ashland County officials for putting down their mammoth donkey named Jethro.

The Daily Press of Ashland (http://bit.ly/1w6ElCB) reports Patricia and Dwight Westmore have filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging the county unfairly seized Jethro and four horses from their property last year after a report of maltreatment. The complaint alleges Ashland County euthanized Jethro over the couple's objections. One of the four horses taken later died.

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Stranger donates $1,200 gold coin to Langlade County Salvation ArmySubmitted: 12/18/2014

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ANTIGO - Salvation Army workers in Langlade County don't know who to thank.

A stranger dropped a $1,200 gold coin into one of the red kettles in Antigo.

"The coin is in very good condition. Somebody knew what they were doing when they dropped it in the bucket," says Langlade County Salvation Army Volunteer Coordinator William Kelly.

Someone donated a 1922 Philadelphia mint Saint-Gaudens $20 gold coin at Fleet Farm in Antigo.

Volunteers don't know who made the donation.

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Wisconsin ranks 32nd in private-sector job growth during June 2013-14 stretchSubmitted: 12/18/2014

MADISON - Wisconsin ranks 32nd in private-sector job growth for the 12-month period ending in June.

The latest figures were reported Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

They show that Wisconsin grew private-sector jobs between July 2013 and the end of June this year by 1.45 percent. That lags the national average of growth at 2.3 percent.

Wisconsin ranks 32nd nationally and behind Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota.

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development also reported Thursday that unemployment dropped from 5.4 percent to 5.2 percent between October and November. The national unemployment rate for November is 5.8 percent.

The monthly also shows Wisconsin added 16,500 private sector jobs in November.

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Tree of Hope helps families in MerrillSubmitted: 12/18/2014

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MERRILL - Needy families in Merrill will have a better Christmas this year.

The Merrill Fire Department is sponsoring the Tree of Hope.

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2 Salvation Army red kettles stolen in HaywardSubmitted: 12/18/2014

HAYWARD - Two Salvation Army red kettles have been stolen in Hayward in recent weeks.

The Salvation Army says one of the kettles contained an estimated $400.

The most recent theft happened Wednesday at Walgreen's. Sawyer County Salvation Army director Debbie Huebner says surveillance video shows someone grabbed the kettle's stand and put the whole structure into the back of a vehicle.

Huebner says that kettle had been emptied right before the theft. But a few weeks ago, a thief cut a cable to steal a kettle from Walmart. Huebner estimated it contained $300 to $400.

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