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In the business of dying: Questioning the commercialization of hospice

Does it matter which hospice program you choose for your loved one? Joshua Perry, J.D., M.T.S., and Robert Stone, M.D., gave participants some points to consider when they spoke at the Health Care Ethics Seminar on Sept. 15.

Perry and Stone

Joshua Perry and Robert Stone

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Perry and Stone examined the issues raised by for-profit hospice providers whose business model appears to have at its core an ethical conflict of interest between shareholders doing well and terminal patients dying well. Analyzing the business practices of the for-profit hospice industry, they critically assessed the "commercialization" of hospice care and the move toward "market-driven medicine" at the end of life.

Perry is an assistant professor and life sciences research fellow in the Department of Business Law and Ethics at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business.

Stone is an assistant clinical professor of emergency medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine, the director of Hoosiers for a Commonsense Health Plan and the assistant medical director at Indiana University Health Bloomington Hospital Hospice.

Perry and Stone's findings were published in summer 2011 in the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics; 39(2); 224-34. The link to the PubMed page is: "In the Business of Dying: Questioning the Commercialization of Hospice." The link to full text is in the upper right hand corner. Then click on the volume number, scroll to the article and choose PDF.