An average rating of hospice services used by Southern California’s Korean-Americans is 93.4 percent. The figure is on par with the nation’s average of 92.6 percent. However, some businesses have received low ratings in certain areas, prompting critics to point out that further improvements must be made.
The findings are the result of the analysis conducted by the Korea Daily on recent data provided by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The data was released between October 2015 and September 2016 on the CMS website (https://www.medicare.gov/hospicecompare/). The Korea Daily looked into seven locations most frequently used by Korean-Americans.
The ratings are based on the customers’ satisfaction on each business. The hospice businesses are required by law to report its customer feedback. The areas of ratings break down to preferred treatment methods, counseling on religion and faith, disability in breathing and four other criteria.
Some hospices are operated directly by Korean-Americans, while others simply employee Korean-American agents to provide services to senior citizens in their community. As those businesses, some of which are nonprofit organizations, are keeping a close tie with Koreatown’s hospitals and religious organizations, many patients suffering from severe illnesses are using their services.
Among seven businesses most frequently used by Korean-Americans, H&A Hospice and Sierra Hospice Care have received the highest ratings at 99.6 and 99.3 percent, respectively. However, Eden Hospice Care only received 82.4 percent, below the nation’s average by 10 percent. Further ratings have shown that Eden has been insufficient at identifying pain (42.9 percent) and follow-up treatment of patients who have used opioid (48.6 percent), a form of painkiller.
“Hospices with state or nationwide reach tend to offer better quality services,” said an employee within the hospice business industry. “However, Korean-Americans tend to be on the lookout for businesses that offer services in Korean as their priority is cultural familiarity. That is why small to medium sized businesses have been competing fiercely against each other.”
CMS advised that families of patients must be more cautious about their selections and that it is more important to demand more detail-oriented services.
Meanwhile, CMS plans to provide help Medicare and Medicaid users by releasing the data on an annual basis.
By Brian Choi