Non-Profit vs. For-Profit Hospices

Non-Profit vs. For-Profit Hospices: Which One to Choose?

When it comes to hospice care, choosing the right provider is crucial. You have the option to select either a non-profit or for-profit hospice. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of hospice care and the key things you should consider when choosing a provider. Understanding the differences between non-profit and for-profit hospices can help you make the best decision for your loved one.

Understanding Hospice Care

Hospice care is all about providing comfort and support to patients with terminal illnesses. Did you know that since 1983, the Medicare Hospice Benefit has allowed Medicare beneficiaries to access high-quality, end-of-life care services? About 90% of hospice patients are Medicare beneficiaries, and over 1.5 million Americans received hospice care last year.

Non-Profit vs. For-Profit Hospices

Here’s how it works: Medicare pays hospices a daily rate to cover all aspects of a patient’s care, from medical services to medications. This rate varies by state and county but is the same whether the hospice is for-profit or non-profit. Plus, all hospices must follow the same state and federal regulations to ensure they provide quality care.

Non-Profit Hospices

Non-profit hospices focus on providing compassionate care and serving the community. Here are some highlights:

  • Mission-Focused: Their main goal is to offer high-quality care to patients and families. They often have a mission statement that reflects their commitment to serving the community.
  • Use of Funds: Non-profits don’t pay taxes on the funds they receive from Medicare. This means more money goes directly to patient care and community services.
  • Community Support: They can raise funds through donations and events. These funds are used for patient care and other support services like grief counseling and support groups. For example, VITAS Healthcare uses donations to fund its charity care program, which supports patients who can’t pay for services.
  • Reinvestment in Care: Any extra funds are reinvested into improving patient care, expanding services, and enhancing facilities. Hospice of the Valley in Arizona is a great example—they reinvest surplus funds into comprehensive grief support services and innovative care programs.

For-Profit Hospices

For-profit hospices operate as businesses aiming to generate profits for their shareholders. Here’s what sets them apart:

  • Profit-Driven: Their main goal is to make a profit, which can affect how they allocate resources.
  • Regulatory Compliance: They must follow the same regulations as non-profit hospices, ensuring a certain level of care quality.
  • Use of Profits: Profits are often used to expand the business and increase shareholder returns, rather than directly enhancing patient care.
  • Separate Foundations: For-profit hospices can’t use donations for direct patient care. Many set up separate non-profit foundations to raise funds for specific missions, like providing special supplies or education. For instance, Amedisys has a foundation that funds education programs and special patient care initiatives.

Key Differences

Understanding the key differences can help you make an informed decision:

  • Care Quality: A study in the Journal of Palliative Medicine found that non-profit hospices tend to provide more comprehensive care and have higher patient satisfaction scores compared to for-profit hospices. However, many for-profit hospices also deliver excellent care.
  • Resource Allocation: Non-profit hospices reinvest surplus funds into patient care and community services, while for-profit hospices use profits for business growth and shareholder returns.
  • Community Services: Non-profit hospices typically offer additional support services, like grief counseling and support groups. For-profit hospices may also offer these services but focus more on business expansion and profitability.
  • Cost of Care: Non-profit hospices might offer services at a lower cost or provide sliding scale fees based on a patient’s ability to pay. For-profit hospices may have different pricing structures aimed at profitability.

Choosing the Right Hospice

When selecting a hospice provider, consider the following:

  1. Quality of Care: Research and compare the quality of care offered by different hospices. Look for patient reviews and ratings. Medicare’s Hospice Compare tool can be a valuable resource.
  2. Services Offered: Check the range of services available, including pain management and emotional support.
  3. Mission and Values: Understand the hospice’s mission and values to ensure they align with your expectations for compassionate care.
  4. Accreditation and Licensing: Make sure the hospice is accredited and licensed to meet necessary care standards.

Choosing between non-profit and for-profit hospices is an important decision that affects the quality of care your loved one will receive. At Shining Light Hospice, we are dedicated to providing exceptional, mission-driven care that prioritizes our patients’ well-being and dignity. For more information or to discuss your hospice care needs, please contact us at 702-906-0044 or visit our office at 3265 N. Fort Apache Rd, Suite 150, Las Vegas, NV 89129.

Contact Us

Shining Light Hospice
3265 N. Fort Apache Rd, Suite 150, Las Vegas, NV 89129
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 702-906-0044

For more information, visit our website or follow us on social media.


  1. National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
  3. Journal of Palliative Medicine
  4. VITAS Healthcare
  5. Hospice of the Valley
  6. Amedisys Foundation
  7. Medicare Hospice Compare
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