Washington Post buys hospice company

Talk about a dying industry. The Washington Post Co. risked becoming the punch line of an obvious joke this morning with the announcement that it has acquired a majority stake in a hospice company.

Hospice? Not as strange as it sounds if you know the company’s ways. It has a particular fondness for “a long-term investment horizon,” as Chairman Donald Graham said in a press release. Not knowing the particular competitive advantage of the company (Celtic Healthcare), my hunch is that Graham figured that people his age and mine are going to need hospice care. Later rather than sooner, we may hope, but the huge baby boomer cohort has rounded the corner to senior citizen status. And it is a fair bet that the government and insurers will cover hospice care since it is so much less expensive than an extended end-of-life hospital stay.

There is precedent. Kaplan Educational Services was small when the Post bought it in 1984 and grew slowly for 15 years or so before it took off to become the company’s largest division.

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  • Anonymous

    Their already abysmal ACA coverage will get even worse, just as their coverage of education is tied to making every trivial change in test scores into a “major crisis”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ratt-Johnston/100000680481349 Ratt Johnston

    Bingo Maureen, if this is the new norm then the State-run Media will be invested in ObamaCare and will feed the Public with all kinds of false information. I don’t want to see our country go to civil war, or civil unrest, but at this stage I really don’t see how to stop it.

  • Anonymous

    I see a link between the MSM’s purchase of a health company and Obamacare – maybe they have found a way for the Obama administration to support them given all the support they have provided Obama

  • Anonymous

    Old journalists never die – they just smell that way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sylvia-Kronstadt/1233698902 Sylvia Kronstadt

    I was disappointed a few years ago to learn that the Washington Post owns Kaplan Educational Services. This for-profit vocational school, like most others in the business, lures primarily low-income students with the promise of a dignified, self-sufficient life. Virtually all of its students pay with federal student loans. The company gets its money upon signing. The student gets a sub-par training for thousands of dollars. He or she is unable to get a job, despite the school’s promised “lifetime job placement assistance” (the ‘degrees’ and ‘certificates of completion’ are laughable to prospective employers), but these young people are still expected to pay for their “educations.” The federal government becomes the collections agent for an unsavory, cynical business that cruelly manipulates the hopes and dreams of low-income kids. The kids are worse off than before: Now they’re jobless AND in debt. It has been dismaying to watch Graham defend this disgraceful industry before Congress.
    In this context, the fact that the Post has now bought into the hospice industry is no surprise. Hospice, of course, began as a religious and volunteer effort to provide an alternative to dying in a hospital. It was a loving, enlightened “movement” that provided gentle palliative care,comfort and counseling to the patient and family in the comfort of home.
    But this “movement” really exploded when Medicare began paying for hospice services. Overnight, the number of for-profit hospice operations soared from nearly zero to 80 percent. Virtually all new hospice organizations launched in the past ten years are for profit, and they are — as one would expect — expertly designed to exploit every tiny provision in the Medicare compensation protocol.
    We had my father in hospice for several months. They were charging the government $5,000 a month for doing little other than helping him get dressed in the morning and walking him to breakfast (when we saw their bill to Medicare, we were shocked. It was a bunch of lies about the services and supplies they had provided). The firm billed itself as a nonprofit, but i learned that it had a ‘profit-sharing’ program for employees and an incentive/bonus program for those who signed up the most patients.They enlisted my dad in the program, even though it was illegal to do so unless a doctor had certified that he had less than six months to live.
    Hospice is just one more of hundreds of industries that have been developed expressly to exploit Medicare. They are raking in the money. Our money. Have a nice time, Mr. Graham.