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Hospice Care Is Going Corporate, With Help From Roto-Rooter

Hospice care is a booming $14 billion industry. Each year, 1.5 million Americans die while in hospice. That’s 44 percent of the total, and the figures are growing, according to Changing the Way We Die, by health writers Fran Smith and Sheila Himmel.

I picked up this revealing new book because of a slightly morbid interest in the funeral home and cemetery businesses. Not long ago, I took a look at how consumers have sometimes suffered as the “death care” industry has consolidated into increasingly gigantic publicly traded corporations such as Service Corporation International. Similar issues are arising in the traditionally fragmented hospice sector, Smith and Himmel write.