San Diego Hospice Announces Intent to Close

Plan would transfer patients, staff and equipment to Scripps Health

San Diego Hospice announced today its plans to cease operations over the next 60 to 90 days as it seeks court approval for a plan that would allow for a smooth transition of patient care, and some of its employees to Scripps Health. The plan was part of a set of motions, the first of which will be filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in San Diego by attorneys for San Diego Hospice.

“This is obviously a difficult decision for all of us associated with San Diego Hospice. 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,” said Kathleen Pacurar, CEO of San Diego Hospice. “We are taking this course after many months of discussions to resolve our financial challenges, including talks with Scripps asking for their help. 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. We believe this is the best course for our patients and their families, and for San Diego Hospice.”

Terms of the motions include Scripps’ offer to purchase San Diego Hospice’s hospital and headquarters building and to hire enough San Diego Hospice employees to care for current patients. Funds from the building purchase would be used by San Diego Hospice to pay for its operations and avoid taking on more debt as it winds down its business. The deal would also include Scripps’ purchase of San Diego Hospice’s electronic medical record license and associated computer equipment to allow for a smooth transition of patient care.

“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. Our hope is that the court will accept the whole set of proposals so that there can be a smooth transition of care for these patients, and there are opportunities for San Diego Hospice staff to remain employed to continue providing that care.”

If the proposals are accepted by the court, it is anticipated that within the 30 days following the court’s decision, San Diego Hospice and Scripps Health will agree to the details of the transition plan and the transition of some employees and those patients who choose Scripps as their hospice care provider.

“We have a longstanding positive relationship with Scripps, which has been a strong partner as well as San Diego Hospice’s largest referral source for many years,” said Pacurar. “We encouraged Scripps to begin providing hospice services when we became unsure of our ability to continue to meet our patients’ needs in the future, and we feel Scripps is in the best position to meet the needs of our patients and the community.”

On Feb. 4, Horizon Hospice in Poway joined Scripps, providing Scripps with a license to offer hospice care. Adding hospice services to Scripps’ already well-respected palliative care and home health programs fits with the health system’s focus on meeting all the health care needs of its patients.

Learn more about Scripps Health.

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Janice Collins
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