Michigan-based health care system Beaumont Health is resuming management of the pediatric hospice program that it sold to Alternate Health Solutions Network (AHSN) in 2018 for an undisclosed sum.
Though, AHSN is unable to sustain the program in the long term, no gaps in care have occurred and none are expected. Beaumont sold the majority of the program to AHSN, but has maintained a minority stake in the home health care component of the business.
AHSN is headquartered in Ohio.
“The program is not closed and never closed. AHSN is no longer able to support the program, so the program and staff are transitioning back to Beaumont,” Susan Grant, chief nursing officer for Beaumont Health, told Hospice News. “During this transition period, AHSN continues to operate the program while we create the infrastructure for the program to move back to Beaumont.”
Beaumont intends to retain the program — called Palliative Team and Children’s Hospice (PATCH) — for the foreseeable future and has no plans to sell the program to a new buyer, Grant indicated. The health system has operated the program since 2016.
The primary reason for the transition is that ASHN lacks specialization in palliative care and hospice for children, according to Grant.
“Managing pediatric patients requires specialized care and expertise. ASHN does not typically provide care for pediatric patients and ultimately decided it was unable to continue supporting the PATCH program,” Grant.
Nearly 19,000 children age 1 to 19-years-old died during 2013, the most recent year for which data are available. That is a rate of 24 deaths per 100,000 individuals, according to a 2015 report from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). Most of these children passed away in a hospital, the majority in an intensive care unit.
A 2011 study of patients cared for by six hospital-based pediatric palliative care programs found that 62% of the pediatric patients who died did so in a hospital, compared to 36.6% in a home or hospice facility. NHPCO cited the study in its report.
Beaumont plans to develop partnerships to expand access to hospice and palliative care for pediatric patients.
“There is a statewide need for pediatric hospice, palliative and long-term care services. We are working with other providers across Michigan to find a more comprehensive solution,” Grant told Hospice News. “We would also like to work in partnership with families going forward to help create solutions to serve families who might need these kinds of services across the state of Michigan.”
In addition to hospice and home health care operations Beaumont Health’s system includes eight hospitals with a total 3,429 beds, as well as 145 outpatient facilities, close to 5,000 physicians and 38,000 employees. Annual revenues reach $4.7 billion.