Jan 11, 2013 3:44 PM by KATC

Hospice shocked by Jindal administration's "throw grandma off the bus" attitude

With the recent budget cuts announced by the Jindal administration, more specifically to the elimination of the Medicaid Hospice Benefit, Hospice of Acadiana CEO, Louis "Buzzy" Hebert, responded "The cuts will not affect the service or care that Hospice of Acadiana provides to their patients. As always, Hospice of Acadiana will provide the care and support that was laid out in our mission statement over 30 years ago to enable persons with life threatening conditions to live as fully and comfortably as possible. This is done without regard to whether or not there is a pay source". We are hoping that our many questions can be answered on Wednesday by our Acadiana Delegation and the DHH position on the Medicaid cuts requested by Senator Fred Mills.

Hospice of Acadiana along with Louisiana-Mississippi Hospice and Palliative Care Organization looks at this development with dismay and shock at the "throw grandma off the bus" attitude of the administration. "The aim of hospice care is to make persons at the end of life more comfortable in the last six months not only in a nursing home but also where ever they call home." We feel that in the long run, these cuts will bring unwarranted visits to the emergency room, hospitals and more extreme and expensive treatments than if the patients were being treated with managed care by trained Hospice and Palliative care professionals. In LMHPCO's recent release they stated "For over 25 years, hospice agencies in Louisiana have demonstrated their ability to deliver effective and efficient care and support to patients and their families facing the end of life. Only hospices are licensed and certified to deliver this specialize care and hospice agencies in Louisiana consistently receive high scores on patient and family satisfaction surveys. LMHPCO also takes exception to the Administration's claim that Louisiana Medicaid paid the Room & Board charges for 25,328 hospice patients residing in nursing homes in 2012 totaling $52,160,238.60 (i.e., $2,059 per patient). The Board is unfamiliar with the methodology Louisiana Medicaid used to arrive at this number. Louisiana hospices reported serving 1,647Medicaid recipients (per their 2010 cost reports: 7% of all hospice admissions) and according to 2011 Medicare claims data, admitted only 23,010 Medicare beneficiaries throughout the state. Therefore, the Administration's number would require combining all Medicare and Medicaid hospice beneficiaries in the state, for the entire year, to equal its number of nursing home hospice patients in the state. We strongly dispute this to be the case since the 2011 Medicare claims data also indicates that 67% of Medicare hospice services in Louisiana were delivered in beneficiary's home, and much smaller percentages of Medicare hospice services were delivered in unskilled (24%) or skilled (4%) nursing facilities."

In addition to hospice care, Hospice of Acadiana will continue to provide the emotional and educational support, a resource that will continue to be provided to the patient and families at their time of need without charge. As always, the Center for Loss and Transition will provide counseling free of charge to the people of Acadiana along with the many support groups and community activities that Hospice of Acadiana is known for. We plan in this our 30th year to expand our community outreach and volunteer programming and encourage the people of Acadiana to check the calendar on our webpage or our Facebook page to get up to the minute information on our programs and services. Hospice of Acadiana is always available to answer the questions of the people of Acadiana at 337.232.1234 because we serve the Heart of Acadiana!


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