Friday, November 26, 2010


I just had the misfortune of serving a family that fell directly under this scam.

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 comes under hospice care, 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 and funeral homes 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 rogue funeral home, if they haven't made arrangements beforehand with another funeral home. The rogue 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. In Arizona, if you have not decided, they are requiered BY LAW to present you with the name of "three" of the most afordable funeral homes availiable. If a hospice does recommend one particular funeral home, THIS IS ILLEGAL! 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 homes "recommended" by a hospice (considering this is an illegal practice). They should not be recommending any funeral homes...that is a decision for you to make, not the hospice. If a specific funeral home is continuously recomended as being "very fair" or "they will take good care of you" BE CAREFULL! Consider asking for verification of this illegal procedure from the hospice supervisor or nursing supervisor.

If someone is recomending, then someone is getting a kickback...

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