The difference between for-profit and nonprofit hospices

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Gerald M. Hill, Chief Financial Officer author of "The difference between for-profit and nonprofit hospices"

Gerald M. Hill, Chief Financial Officer

This last day of National Hospice and Palliative Care Month is a great time to highlight the differences between a not-for-profit and a for-profit hospice organization. In 2019, the national data showed about 71 percent of hospices were for-profit, 26 percent were nonprofit, and 3 percent were government owned.

While “not-for-profit” or “for-profit” are truly only tax status designations by the IRS, they do represent real world differences that are important to patients and families. For example, a for-profit hospice organization’s goal is to provide hospice care while simultaneously providing an annual stakeholder profit share (or return on investment). This means that all financial decisions are made and measured by the need to deliver a profit along with the delivery of patient care.

Not-for-profit hospice organizations, like Hospice of the Chesapeake, reinvest all proceeds to the hospice program to further enhance care to patients and their families. This means all financial decisions are made and measured by the need to deliver the highest quality and most extensive patient and family care possible.

What does this really mean for patients and families of Hospice of the Chesapeake? It means highly valued and needed grief support programs, veterans programs, and children’s programs are still available to patients and families, even if they are not fully funded by Medicare or insurance. It means that patients who are underinsured or uninsured are never turned away for their inability to pay. It means that our mission of caring for life throughout the journey with illness and loss is our only goal. We measure every financial decision by asking, “is this the right thing for the patient?” and not, “is this the right thing for the shareholder?”

Reality in 2022 means we rely on donors and sponsors to support all the “extra programs” we provide. They are a key part of our strategy to far surpass the minimum requirements set by Medicare. They help us to stand strong — ready to ensure we are there when you need us — at the right time, in the right place, with the right care, on your terms.

We are grateful for each of our donors’ and community’s support of our mission.

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