Hospice: What Gets in the Way of Appropriate and Timely Access

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Although hospice is viewed as highly effective in managing a good death, this service remains on the fringe of traditional medical care and is underutilized in the United States today. The same reimbursement criteria that facilitate access to hospice care for many also create barriers for others or exclude them altogether. The article examines who is and who is not receiving hospice care and why. Interventions and corrective actions arc proposed. Key words: access barriers, eligibility criteria, hospice, minority access, noncancer diagnoses, outreach interventions, reimbursement, terminality determination

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