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Health, Science & Tech

UPMC to Acquire Family Hospice and Palliative Care

On Thursday UPMC announced they would be acquiring Family Hospice and Palliative Care, Pennsylvania’s largest nonprofit hospice service into its health care system.

Family Hospice will be part of UPMC Community Provider Services. That means all 250 employees will become UPMC employees, although Family Hospice will continue to operate under the Family Hospice name. The acquisition also includes Presbyterian Senior Care.

Family Hospice and UPMC have worked together for the past 15 years. 

“By doing this we’re going to be able to expand to a larger geographic area and solidify our partnership during a time when continuity and collaboration in health care is more important than ever,” said Barbara Ivanko, president and CEO of Family Hospice and Palliative Care.

Family Hospice is the largest hospice service in Pennsylvania.

Ivanko said this acquisition won’t change the patient experience.

“The day before the closing and the day after the closing, our patients will see the same nurses, those nurses and social workers and chaplains will be supervised  by the same supervisors and they will have the same senior management and CEO as they always have,” she said.

This acquisition comes in the face of changes in the hospice industry.

When Family Hospice opened 35 years ago, it was a volunteer organization. Hospices were all nonprofit because there was no reimbursement stream.  

Now, the industry of hospice care is glutted with for-profit organizations. Just in the Pittsburgh area, there are more than 50 hospice providers.

“For a variety of reasons, Medicare has both increased the scrutiny on hospices,” said Ivanko, who has had to employ more people to keep up with regulations. “And there has also been gradually and also suddenly reducing the amount of payment to hospices.”

Patients who are with UPMC competitor the Allegheny Health Network will be able to continue using the Family Hospice.

“Lines drawn around which HMO disappear when it comes down to hospice care,” said Ivanko.