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Dec 26, 2012 3:08 PM by Elizabeth Hill

State Medicaid cuts will impact local hospice care

Everyday, Hospice of Acadiana CEO Louis Hebert sees the benefits of hospice care.

"We make sure the patient is comfortable and that the patient is as pain free as we can."

Hebert says Hospice of Acadiana provided care to patients with Medicaid before benefits were made available in 2001 and he says they will continue that care.

"We will continue to see those patients, all patients that qualify for service regardless of their ability to pay."

Only about 5 to 7 percent of patients are Medicaid recipients, but at $135 a day the funds can add up.

"If you get a Medicaid patient that extends care 60, 70, 90 days its a significant issue."

The likely hospitalization of the terminally ill could be even more costly.

"Hospice has always been a great option to hopefully save the state money."

The Jindal administration says Medicaid patients can still get hospice care from nursing homes, but Hebert says the bottom line is still the same. The state won't pay for it.

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