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News of the Day ... In Perspective

11/30/2006

Hospice Patients Alliance opposes in-hospice funeral home

Hope Hospice in Fort Myers, Florida, is applying for a state license to offer cremation and funeral services. It may be the first hospice in the nation to expand into funeral services.

Patients and families have asked for this option because of the bond they have formed with the hospice team, said Samira Beckwith, president and chief executive officer of Hope Hospice.

Ron Panzer of Hospice Patients Alliance opposes consolidating more power in the hospice industry in this way, stating that an independent funeral home industry is vital to the public interest.

“We have regularly received reports from around the country of patients who are overdosed with opioids in a hospice and killed, or terminally sedated in hospice so they die of dehydration…. [A]nd when the patient is killed, having the body cremated covers up all physical evidence of the crime.”

Clients would be free to choose another option for funeral services (BonitaNews.com 11/15/06).

The most controversial item is that funeral homes are prohibited from soliciting for business after a death. The state board postponed consideration so that views could be presented in a live forum on Dec 7 in Jacksonville (BonitaNews.com 11/16/06)

Panzer urges patients rights advocates to contact Diana Evans, Director for the Florida Division of Funeral, Cemetary and Customer Services, 200 E. Gaines St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-0300.

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