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An Important Message From
Anthony J. Palumbo, Chief Executive Officer
Hospice of Citrus and the Nature Coast

Regarding a petition filed by Hernando Pasco Hospice for an Administrative Hearing to stop Hospice of Citrus and the Nature Coast from providing services in Hernando County

Dear Friends,

In response to the Agency for Health Care Administration’s recent approval for Hospice of Citrus and the Nature Coast to expand services into Hernando County, Hernando Pasco Hospice (HPH) has filed a petition for a formal administrative hearing to contest the approval. In effect, the HPH challenge attempts to ensure that the people of Hernando County do not have a choice of provider at the end of life.

Hernando Pasco Hospice completed an application to provide services in Citrus County in 2004 and opened their first Citrus location in 2008, stating that choice is important to the quality of patient care. We agreed with that position given that optimum patient choice resides at the core of excellent hospice care.

Citing potential need for broader services for Hernando County residents with terminal illnesses, the nonprofit Hospice of Citrus and the Nature Coast filed a letter of intent with the Agency for Health Care Administration, signaling our interest in expanding to Hernando County. In that filing, I said, “The letter of intent is not a criticism of the hospice which serves Hernando County; many counties, including Citrus, have more than one hospice provider.” It is disappointing, however, that HPH, through its petition, is clearly advocating a position that would afford patient and family choice in every other service area statewide except their own. What’s more, this petition represents a complete reversal by HPH from its previous position that “patient choice” is vital and that all good things happen on the service side when people are afforded provider choice. The Agency for Health Care Administration approved Hospice of Citrus and the Nature Coast’s request to serve Hernando County and now HPH is suggesting they (HPH) should be allowed to operate as the sole provider in Hernando County.

The idea arose as a result of the increase in need for pediatric palliative care services in Hernando County. Hospice of Citrus and the Nature Coast is the contract provider with Children’s Medical Services in Ocala for Partners in Care/Together for Kids, serving children with life-threatening illnesses in 13 north central Florida counties including Hernando County. Bonnie Saylor, our COO, states, “The need for pediatric palliative services is growing in Hernando County and when a child needs to transition to full hospice care, Hospice of Citrus and the Nature Coast is not currently able to provide that service.”

Hospice organizations are independent of one another, and in Florida, they are required to receive a Certificate of Need to provide services in a particular area. Hospice of Citrus and the Nature Coast, licensed in 1985, currently provides hospice services in Alachua, Bradford, Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Levy, Putnam, Suwannee and Union Counties.  Hospice of Citrus and the Nature Coast provides pediatric palliative care services in those counties and Hernando County.  We specialize in rural, home-based hospice care, inpatient hospice care, hospital-based hospice care, facility based hospice care and pediatric hospice and palliative care. Patients may choose their location of care, physician, medical equipment company and pharmacy through a network of providers partnering with Hospice of Citrus and the Nature Coast. We are nationally accredited by the Institute for Jewish Hospice and have earned the Gold Seal of Approval from the Joint Commission, with “deemed status” for quality of care and billing practices.

The most recent Florida Need Projections for Hospice Programs, published April 2013 by the Agency for Health Care Administration, indicates a growing unmet need for hospice services in Hernando County. Since 2009, the number of admissions for hospice services in Hernando County has declined while the population has increased. It is expected that the number of people over age 65 will increase 15.23% by 2018, creating a need for more hospice services. Another hospice in Hernando County would provide patients with more services and more choices.

Sincerely,

Anthony J. Palumbo, Chief Executive Officer
Hospice of Citrus and the Nature Coast

Hospice of Citrus and the Nature Coast Location Map

It’s about choices and really good care.

Our team of physicians, nurses, home health aides, social workers, chaplains and trained volunteers provides specialized medical care; emotional, spirtual and social support. We provide medical services, equipment, supplies, medications and training to manage your care. Cost is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, most commercial insurances and donations. There is no out-of-pocket cost to the patient or family.

Hospice of Citrus and the Nature Coast serves Alachua, Bradford,
Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Levy, Putnam, Suwannee, and Union counties.

 

Why do Hospice patients in Florida and their families benefit from the very best services?

Florida’s Certificate of Need (CON) Program ensures that Floridians have access to hospice services in all 67 counties (including all rural areas). It provides for frequent monitoring of all hospice agencies operating in the state, resulting in high levels of care and satisfaction. And the CON Program promotes community support for community hospices, enabling Floridians to benefit from an array of services, including grief support for adults and children, caregiver support, alternative medicines, special programs for pediatric and veteran patients, and remembrance services around the holidays. It also gives volunteers a great opportunity to participate in and support numerous hospice programs.

To learn more about the CON Program in Florida and why its continuance is vital to maintaining the quality of hospice care provided to all Floridians, click here.

HOSPICE OF CITRUS AND THE NATURE COAST • P.O BOX 641270 BEVERLY HILLS, FL 34464 • 866.642.0962 • caring@hospiceofcitrus.org A PC House Production