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DHH: Hospice program to stay open, get reforms

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BATON ROUGE - State health officials announced late this afternoon that the Medicaid Hospice Program would not end on Feb. 1 as scheduled.

Secretary Bruce Greenstein with the Dept. Of Health and Hospitals said enough money from existing grants had been found to keep the program going until reforms could be put into place later this spring.

The announcement came as family members of terminally-ill patients gathered at the Capitol to protest cuts made by the Jindal administration this past December which would have closed the program. A Senate committee was also reviewing the budget decisions and considering whether to reject plans to shut down the program.

Greenstein said later this spring DHH would put in place several reforms to keep from having to cut the entire program. Those include changing the reimbursement rate for hospice providers, tightening the process by which people are approved for hospice, and focus on people seeking in-home hospice who aren't already receiving care in nursing homes.

News 2's Rob Krieger is at the Capitol and will have reaction to this decision coming up at 5 and 6.


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