San Diego Hospice to close

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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Hospice will close in the next two or three months and transfer its operations and some employees to Scripps Health, the organization announced Wednesday.

The plan was filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court by lawyers for the hospice, which has been beset by a federal Medicare investigation.

San Diego HospiceScripps Health was the largest referrer of clients to the hospice, but last week announced it would take on hospice care itself. Kathleen Pacurar, CEO of San Diego Hospice, said she encouraged Scripps to make the move when it became unclear whether her organization would be able to continue to meet the needs of patients.

“This is obviously a difficult decision for all of us associated with San Diego Hospice,” Pacurar said. “The plan we have put forward will allow us to take immediate steps to stop incurring debt, which increases every day we remain in operation.”

Pacurar said the decision is the result of months of discussions of how to resolve its financial difficulties. The hospice has cut back on employees and patients recently.

“Our decision to file bankruptcy was based on our need to maintain continuity of patient care as we worked through the details of this plan,” Pacurar said. “We believe this is the best course for our patients and their families, and for San Diego Hospice.”

She said Scripps Health has offered to purchase the hospice’s building, a familiar landmark overlooking Mission Valley, and the proceeds would be used to wind down its operations. Scripps would also take on some hospice employees, purchase its medical license and buy its computer equipment, if the plan is approved.

“San Diego Hospice has provided an important service to this community for many years and we are saddened that they are no longer able to continue their mission,” said Chris Van Gorder, president and CEO of Scripps Health. “In our talks with San Diego Hospice, we both agreed that we did not want to see patients fall through the cracks during this process, and we wanted to help as many hospice employees as we could.”

If the court accepts the proposals, the health care provider and hospice will agree to details of the transition within the following month, according to Scripps.


  • Sad in San Diego

    This is utterly heartbreaking. I have no doubt this will happen to many wonderful hospice organizations in the country, whose only real sin is improving the quality of life at the end of the life to the point that life expectancies are extended with more good days to be shared with family and friends, but Medicare doesn't want to pay more than six months of hospice care. So they are punishing quality care systems. Can the death squads be far behind? Don't think it won't happen.

  • Shawn

    Sad in San Diego appears to be listening to way too much Rush Limbaugh and/or Faux News. San Diego Hospice is closing for one reason and one reason only: they abused the amount of billing they represented to Medicare, who, by the way, have patients on service all the time that go way past six months. Where do you get your info? I've worked in the industry, and had patients last a year or more. Death squads? I'm sorry your life is riddled with such irrational fears. This story is proof even the biggest and best can fall down at any time. There are plenty of quality hospice organizations in San Diego to offset this loss.

  • steve

    Who among us can predict death within 180 days with 100% certainty? Compassion and caring may add immeasurable time to a person's life. Death Panels will come by rationing care for specific (co)morbidities; it's already happening. The hospice industry will flinch and begin choosing patients way too late in the dying process, thus taxing their internal resources in an effort to care entirely for only those needing the most attention; meanwhile, taking from many of us an opportunity to die in some comfort and greater dignity. Death Panels are certainly here, already. They're just dressed differently, and answer to another name.

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