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Rising hospice care concerns?Submitted: 02/19/2014
Story By Kalia Baker

Rising hospice care concerns?
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

RHINELANDER - Nicolet College's Motorcycle Basic Rider Course teaches folks to safely hit the road on their bike.

The class is in full swing for the season.

Nicolet College Rider Coach Mike Murray says even experienced riders can use a "safety brush-up" this time of year.

Riders should always wear their helmet, long pants and shirts, gloves, and boots.

It's also important to keep your eyes moving for critters that come out of the woods,especially deer.

"If you know you're going to hit it: let off your brakes, hit it with your handle bars straight ahead looking straight ahead so that your bike stays straight up," says rider coach Mike Murray.

The course covers the basics about motorcycles and riding techniques.

It's meant to build confidence when you ride, so that you're prepared for emergencies on the road.

"I've been a rider for a long time. When I completed the class, I had to look back and say man there is a lot of stuff I learned here and a lot of things I was doing the wrong way," says program coordinator Mark England.

You have until October to sign up for the Basic Rider Course at Nicolet.

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MADISON - Wisconsin's prisons for young offenders could see some changes in the way they punish inmates.

A lawsuit is challenging punishment methods at the Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake prisons in Lincoln County.



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EAGLE RIVER - Yoga typically means twisting and bending your body in all types of positions. But for Katie Hawke, she teaches a simpler kind of yoga - one for kids.

"Yoga is the glue that glues together your thoughts, your body and your breathing," said Hawke.

She is a teacher at MHLT in Minocqua and even uses it in her classroom.

"I've seen remarkable results," said Hawke.

Youth yoga essentially teaches children the same things it teaches adults.

"It helps teach them breathing techniques and self-calming techniques," said Hawke.

And of course with kids, they do and say the darnedest things.

"A lot of them, they like to make up their own yoga poses," said Hawke.

But Hawke mainly wants to get kids up and moving, and teach them that yoga has no boundaries.

"Yoga is something that is for every body and every age," said Hawke.

All donations from the yoga classes went to The Warehouse Art Center in Eagle River.

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NORTHWOODS - Some people turn to the internet, social media and newspapers to find a job. 

 However, the job hunt can still bring challenges. 

Some employers say it's not easy on their end either.

It is Steven Pletta's first year owning Hoggie Doggies in Woodruff. 

"I haven't had any luck with any conventional advertising, Craigslist, newspapers or the Wisconsin Job Service. None have really produced any quality applicants," said Pletta.

Pletta wants a bigger work team.

 He's not the only local employer that's been looking. Ferron Fisher faces the same problem at Steigerwaldt Tree Farm in Tomahawk.

"We usually bring on eight to 12 [people] in the summer," said Pletta. 

However, they are four people short.

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STEVENS POINT - Just shy of turning 96, Will Lehner's body doesn't quite work like it used to.

He's done a lot in his years, but on Wednesday, he did the one thing he never thought possible, he traded in his walker for some wings.

"Thank God that I'm here," Lehner said with a laugh.

The Pearl Harbor Navy Veteran climbed into a 1944 Boeing Stearman biplane--with a few helping hands--and took off over the skies of Stevens Point.

"I was anxious to keep going," said Lehner.

Lehner was able to enjoy this flight thanks to pilot Darryl Fisher.

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EAGLE RIVER - People usually go to the gym to get strong or lose weight. But you normally don't see people training to drive a motorcycle.

"When a person buys a bike, they don't realize how big it is and how out of control it can be," said Dave Sixel of Sixel's Circuit Fit Eagle River.

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MILWAUKEE - A Milwaukee jury has acquitted a former police officer of first-degree reckless homicide in the shooting of a black man last year that ignited riots in the city.

Jurors on Wednesday found that Dominique Heaggan-Brown, who is also black, was justified when he shot 23-year-old Sylville Smith after a brief foot chase following a traffic stop Aug. 23. Smith had a gun when he ran, but prosecutors said Smith had thrown the weapon over a fence and was defenseless when Heaggan-Brown fired the shot that killed him.

Heaggan-Brown's attorneys argued the officer had to act quickly to defend himself. Bodycam footage showed 1.69 seconds passed between a shot that hit Smith in the arm - as he appeared to be tossing his gun - and the one that hit his chest.

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