Hospice Patients Alliance: Consumer Advocacy


The following information about scams committed by funeral homes and hospices is provided here and was given to Hospice Patients Alliance by funeral home directors in our nation who are concerned about these abuses within their industry. When a terminally ill patient enters hospice, it is very helpful if the family takes action to make all arrangements for funeral services before the death of their loved one, if possible. At the time of death, family members are often quite emotionally upset and vulnerable to making hasty decisions without adequate planning and consideration. Can you "comparison shop" for funeral services when your loved one has just died? Not likely. .... and that is exactly what some rogue hospices count on when they set you up for a joint hospice - funeral home scam that can take advantage of you at a vulnerable time in your life. Such a scam may cost you many hundreds, or even thousands of dollars more than what you should have paid for such services!

One of the major scams committed by such rogue hospices is to refer the family to one particular funeral home, if they haven't made arrangements beforehand with another funeral home. The funeral home then charges their very highest rates for funeral home services and the family has no idea that they have been scammed, because they trust the "compassionate" hospice people. If individuals go to that funeral home directly inquiring about charges for funeral services, they get offered discounted rates, but hospice referrals get charged the highest rates.

Where does the extra money go (from being overcharged for services)? The funeral home that overcharges you will "kickback" or give back to the hospice that referred the hospice patient! So, both the hospice and funeral home get extra money. That may be shocking to think about, but we have confirmation from funeral home directors and owners that this is happening to vulnerable families. Those funeral home owners who are honest and do not participate in the illegal hospice-funeral home kickback schemes end up financially damaged, because the hospice refers exclusively to their co-conspirators in the kickback schemes.

To avoid any possible exploitation at the time of death, always make arrangements beforehand, do some comparison shopping and deal with funeral homes directly. Hospices are not supposed to recommend any particular funeral home. If a hospice does recommend one particular funeral home, be very careful to check out prices and ask the funeral home what the "full price" is, what the "discount price" is, and whether you are getting any discount or not. You do not have to use the funeral home "recommended" by a hospice. They should not be recommending any funeral homes...that is a decision for you to make, not the hospice.

How Hospices Use Funeral Homes to Cover Up Medical Killings

If you are certain that your loved one was actually medically killed (involuntary euthanasia) against his or her will, through overdosages of medications (narcotics and potassium are some common medications used), it is very important that you:

  • call the police to report the crime
  • refuse to allow the body to be taken to the funeral home,
  • not allow your loved one's body to be embalmed (destroying some evidence),
  • not allow your loved one's body to be cremated (destroying some evidence),
  • request an immediate autopsy.
  • have the coroner's office pick up your loved one's body,
  • get immediate legal advice from an attorney.

Those rogue hospices that have committed such medical killings often insist that the body be transferred to a particular funeral home and that the body is immediately embalmed or cremated, which will destroy some of the evidence of their crime. If you want to stop such medical killings from happening to anyone else, make sure to call the police at the time of the killing and make out an official complaint, get legal advice immediately and demand that an autopsy be performed by the coroner's office. Cremation or embalming may destroy some of the evidence, but a thorough investigation and autopsy may still be able to detect evidence of wrongdoing and overdosages. If you truly believe that your loved one was killed, that the death was hastened through intentional overdosing, don't let a hospice staff member talk you out of reporting the crime to the police, ... they would only be covering up their own crime!


Note: As an example of this type of problem, see the following article "Woman sues nursing home's previous operators": see archives of Kingston Free Press; kinston.com 01/13/2003, which reports details about a case where a patient was cremated without family permission, after the patient died due to alleged negligence on the part of a nursing home.

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