San Diego Hospice Files for Bankruptcy, Acute-Care Provider Steps In

Following a federal audit and internal investigation last year, San Diego Hospice (SDH) announced Monday that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. 

The decision comes as a result of many months of financial and other challenges, said President and CEO Kathleen Pacurar. 

One of those challenges was an investigation by the Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General in 2012.

San Diego Hospice came under examination because the company failed to properly document records of patients that had six months to live or less.

Often, patients with more than six months to live lingered while the government continued to pay for their care.

The investigation by the Office of the Inspector General is part of an ongoing campaign as increased scrutiny from Medicare continues to impact hospice reimbursements. 

The company also cited an decreased census lowered by 50% over a three-month period also created additional “severe financial challenges,” as noted in a statement from Pacurar.

On the heels of filling for bankruptcy, Pacurar said SDH plans on a reorganization process, during which the company will meet with government agencies, explore partnerships with other health care organizations and work to restructure and resize the the company to reflect the future of hospice care. 

SDH has called on Scripps Health, a nonprofit health system in San Diego, encouraging the region’s largest provider of health care services to enter the hospice business. 

With four acute-care hospitals on five campuses, Scripps Health announced Tuesday that it acquired the Ponway, California-based Horizon Hospice. 

The announcement swiftly followed SDH’s bankruptcy announcement, and the two companies have had many discussions in recent weeks about the continuity of care for SDH’s patients, said Pacurar. 

SDH’s reorganization process is estimated to take 60-90 days, said Pacurar, during which the company will continue providing care to patients. 

Written by Jason Oliva

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