Re “Concerns About Costs Rise With Hospices’ Use” (June 28): In 1996, suffering from inoperable cancer, my father received hospice care in the last three weeks of his life from a nonprofit agency. The physical comfort those dedicated nurses and social workers gave him — and the emotional support they offered to the whole family, strengthening our own ability to care for him — was extraordinary, incalculable, life-changing. The thought that for-profit health care chains are cynically exploiting this model of care to fill their own pockets, and might even endanger Medicare funding for hospice, is beyond appalling. They are vandalizing sacred ground.


Anne Berrill Carroll
Manhattan
       
To the Editor:
      
Studies show that health care costs are far less for those enrolled in hospice at death compared to those who are not, and that hospice patients have a better quality of life. The larger concerns that need to be addressed are that only 41 percent who die are on hospice (only about 25 percent in New York State) and that too many patients are enrolled for a very short time, less than three weeks on average. When hospice use increases, as it should, greater cost savings will result. David C. Leven
Pelham, N.Y.
The writer is executive director, Compassion & Choices of New York.