L.C. and Betty Salis were married in a small chapel in Hillcrest in September 1946.

Everyone is familiar with the high-profile and politically charged question, “When does life begin?” But as our friends and family members live longer and survive what once were commonly fatal ailments, another question takes center stage. When does end-of-life begin?

inewsource and KPBS are embarking on a months-long examination of that question medically, financially, politically — and just as importantly — personally.

San Diego is ground zero for this inquiry because San Diego Hospice, California’s largest hospice provider and a pioneer in the field, has been discharging patients, laying off workers and cutting back on expenses as the federal government breathes down its neck. Medicare has been auditing San Diego Hospice for two years, and the results could mean the hospice must reimburse the government millions of dollars in payments found to be ineligible for coverage.

What does this mean for you and for your loved ones who are in fragile health?

Through 2013, we will be answering that question through our intensive reporting and with your help. We want to hear your feedback and your stories at hospice@kpbs.org.

Joanne Faryon is a freelance reporter and former inewsource and KPBS reporter.