Op-Comic: The perils of a profit motive in hospice care

split panel of a hospital exterior and a row house with a conversation explaining the transition to hospice

a family member pushes a man in a wheelchair out the door. both express the hope that hospice will take care of him

headlines about predatory practices in hospice. home care is hard enough without having to worry about scams.


Hospice workers are dedicated to providing support where they can, from snowy suburbs to urban areas to far-flung mountains.

For-profit hospices have taken a larger portion of the market. Many do good work, but this structure is poses risks.

The main source of profit is the difference between cost of care and fixed daily insurance payments.

On average, for-profit hospices spent less per day on care and employed fewer skilled staff like social workers and RNs.

Those who have options should look for an agency that checks the boxes for as many important features as possible.


When the last days are painful, no one should have to wonder whether their loved one received the best possible care.

End-of-life care deserved continued development, simultaneously enhancing guardrails and standards for hospice providers.

A list of sources for information presented in this comic.

Nathan Gray is an assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and an artist who draws comics on medical topics. @NathanAGray