Stein Hospice cuts staff

Reductions in Medicare reimbursements hit hospice hard
Melissa Topey
May 28, 2014

Stein Hospice cut 32 employees from its payroll last week, leaving a staff of 290 employees to care for 350 clients.

“It was heartbreaking,” said Jan Bucholz, CEO at Stein Hospice.

The employee cuts were felt in all departments to minimize the impact to any one department, she said.

The reduced levels, 12 percent of staffing, will have no impact on patient care because the agency has 17 percent fewer patients than it did last year, she said.

Bucholz referred to the move as "right-sizing," adding that Stein Hospice remains committed to providing the highest-quality care.

The reduction came as a result of significant cuts in reimbursements from Medicare, which affected the entire hospice industry. Those cuts affect Stein Hospice significantly because 90 percent of the patients are Medicare clients.

The last Medicare cuts happened about eight months ago, and Bucholz expects them to occur again in the coming years.

That loss of funding was combined with a second punch: a trend of quick deaths. About 68 percent of hospice patients die within the first 14 days, Bucholz said.

“That is difficult,” Bucholz said.

It's difficult for all involved emotionally, but it's also tough on the agency's finances.

The first two weeks with a patient require a lot of payroll because staff work to make the patient comfortable, as well as moderating medications and building relationships with the patient and the family.

Still, the difficult cuts today have helped ensure the agency's performance for the next few years.

“The good news is we won't be having this conversation again next year. We are positioned to weather this for the next couple years without having staff go through this again,” Bucholz said.


Dinghy Gal

Why? It's the 500 "Billion" Obama Care hijacked from Medicare.


Re: "the 500 "Billion" Obama Care hijacked from Medicare."

The Obama admin. took it from Medicare, added it to the ACA budget and then called it 'savings.'

Some called it double counting.


Um, no. The Medicare cuts were in the works before Obama was even elected. this has little to do with Obamacare.


This cut in medicare reimbursements has been going on for years and preceded the institution of the Affordable Care Act. Ask any physician whose patients are primarily the elderly and they've been experiencing this for years.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

That may very well be, but for how much longer can things not be attributed to it? Leaving the ACA out of it for now per your supposition, this is still exactly the type of trend that we see when governments run such intimate, personal details like one's choice of healthcare or in this case, hospice service. It's not only unfair to the patient but the staff and infrastructure that are jerked around by the same distant chess-players in D.C.

Everyone seems to lose in this case. I hope for those that were let go that you are able to find work elsewhere. I suppose the good side is that there seem to be plenty of job openings in the medical field.

Pterocarya frax...

Seriously??? Conservatives p*ss and moan about waste and fraud in government social programs, but when the ACA cuts some of that out, you try to twist it the other way. Absolutely pathetic! I am sorry, but you cannot have it both ways.

And now you are using the Daily Caller as your source in another story? You have really gone over the edge of reasonableness.


Re: "when the ACA cuts some of that out,"

Stein cares for the terminally ill.

Where is the bleeding heart liberals' 'p*ssin' & moanin'" about cut-backs in social programs?

The hypocritical, heartless, liberal SOBs! :)

H*ll, the Soviets were more murderous than the Nazis.


Pterocarya frax...

Thanks. I knew I could count on you for yet another communist reference.

Did you read the article? It mentioned that no reduction in care would happen, and another term was used: "rightsizing". That means the waste is being chopped, and not the care. Now who is the heartless SOB?


Re: "yet another communist reference."

Do you believe in the wisdom of BIG govt. and central planning?

As George Santayana so famously stated:

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

So what EXACTLY is the "waste" that is being "chopped"?


The "waste" isn't being "chopped." It's being moved (where it remains waste and, worse, negatively impacts healthcare for ALL). I'd also note that the BIGGEST wastes in Medicare and Medicaid involve FRAUD (easier than it ought to be due to mismanagement of the overall program).

Some interesting scenes in a new TV series the other night (Night Shift on NBC, which I watched accidentally when I left the TV on) involving the impact of Obamacare not just on patients but on hospitals. Being TV, it worked out okay in the end. I wouldn't count on that happening in reality, though!

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Pter, where above did I reference the Daily Caller? I didn't yet you invoke it here? Fine I'll provide context here for it for you at the end of my reply to you. Now back to the topic...I will bemoan waste and fraud in any government program all day long, but just how did the ACA do that? Waste and fraud can't be legislated out, and if they can, who legislated illegal activity into law? Just cutting a program doesn't decrease waste, fraud, abuse, etc. That's a lesson Republicans can take, too.

So far I don't seem to have anything both ways. In fact in my above post I wasn't even considering the ACA one bit. My point completely excluded it. So far it seems I am not only having things both ways, I am not even having it "my way" since I probably would bring the ACA into the mix. Instead I kept my reply on topic to what I was addressing.

On a similar note...

= = = = = = = = = =

The Hero Zone
THU, 05/29/2014 - 1:08AM
"You or another reader can take this article with a grain of salt from the source,..."

So not only did I preface my reference with a nod that it comes from what we both can agree would be a biased source but I also included the full story and a link so others could read it for themselves for context. Pter, where is that unreasonable? Here, how about this? Does this make you feel more comfortable?

Estimates of Available Budget Resources Compared with Actual Amounts

Office of Budget

The VA has plenty of money, just bad leadership

VA Budget Skyrockets Despite Federal Spending Cuts

What’s in Veterans Affairs’ $164 Billion Budget?

There we go, do you feel less offended? It would seem the point I was making STILL stands and that I STILL don't have things both ways.


underthebridge, you would be great as Obama's press secretary.


Re: "the agency has 17 percent fewer patients than it did last year,"

With approx. 10,000 of the estimated 78 million baby boomers turning age 65 every day, we'll just see how long these percentage reductions last.


"Rightsizing". How many of you know what that means? If you can lose 22 employees and care is not affected what does that actually say? Medicare reimbursements have dwindled for lots of years. You can't blame it on the ACA. Eye doctors were some of the biggest recipients of big Medicare dollars but Medicare does not cover vision or dental. Very creative billing! What's one less boat or mansion. The doctors will be okay, it will be the staff that suffers.


Re: "Medicare reimbursements have dwindled for lots of years."

Yep! Squeeze the health care providers - THAT'S what the Obama admin. calls 'cost savings.'

Medicare and Medicaid lose an estimated $60 - $100 billion annually through waste, fraud and abuse.

They use a system that's been termed: Pay and chase.

Looks like a lot more "rightsizing" needs to be done like as in ditching these boondoggle programs.


Re: "22 employees"

32 dolt.


Just say no pooh. You don't know what "rightsizing" means. It's okay! I always knew you were not the sharpest tool in the shed!


Re: "rightsizing"

H*ll, you don't know what it means, Sport.

It means 32 (not "22" you dolt), employees lose their jobs because of the Obama admin. attempts to wring smoke and mirror budget saving by paying healthcare providers less.

Why are numerous doctors increasingly refusing to see Medicare and Medicaid patients?


Let me clue you in. Since you love to read, read this!


32, NOT "22". H*ll, you're illiterate. :)


Re: "will have no impact on patient care,"

FYI: Talked to someone last night.

Employees are takin' pay cuts and YES services are being reduced.


Correction: they are being forced to accept pay cuts.

Dr. Information

Osamas ultimate plan to keep destroying this nation.