The Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration has awarded a certificate of need to Tampa-based Chapters Health System that will double the nonprofit provider’s hospice presence in that state.
“At Chapters Health, we are always looking for opportunities to increase and expand access to quality health care for a greater number of individuals in our communities who are faced with advancing age, complex medical conditions and end-of-life issues,” said Andrew Molosky, president and CEO of Chapters Health. “With this mission in mind and the knowledge that there was an unmet need, we applied and were awarded the [certificate of need]. In addition, we are well underway with our plans to return not-for-profit hospice services to the unique communities of the Florida Keys.”
Chapters Health currently cares for patients in 11 Florida counties. By February they had developed plans to extend their operations to Monroe and Miami-Dade counties. With the new certificate of need they will be able to provide care in a total of 24 counties. The expansion will include extending service to the Florida Keys.
Hospice utilization runs high in Florida. The state is third in the nation with 57.9% of Medicare decedents electing hospice in 2018. Utah leads the nation in utilization at 59.4%.
Seniors represent more than 20% of the state’s population of 21.4 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Chapters currently cares for close to 20,000 patients annually across all of its service lines. They will build patient census gradually as they move into new geographic areas but in time expect to touch an additional 20,000, Molosky told Hospice News.
After their expanded hospice operations are up and running, the community-based health system also intends to expand its home health, palliative care and other services into the new area. For now, hospices is leading the way, operating as Chapters Health Hospice.
“Chapters Health will start with hospice services in our expansion areas as we have the license to do so in Monroe and Miami-Dade and were awarded the Certificate of Need specifically for hospice in [11 other new counties],” Molosky told Hospice News. “From a historical perspective, hospice is the care service where we started. As time has marched on, we added palliative care and more recently home care. In order to better care for patients and their families in our communities, we realized it was vitally important to offer a full continuum of care. As far as a timeline of adding palliative care and home care services to these areas, it would definitely be a phased approach. “
Chapters Health is the parent organization to Chapters Health Home Care, Chapters Health Palliative Care, Good Shepherd Hospice, Hospice of Okeechobee, HPH Hospice and LifePath Hospice, all in Florida.
“When fully operational, we will be the largest not-for-profit provider from a geographical perspective in the state — from the Florida/Georgia border almost contiguous to the southern tip of the Sunshine State,” Molosky said. “Down the road, once hospice services are fully operational for Chapters Health Hospice, we plan to increase and expand our portfolio to reflect Chapters Health’s full continuum-of-care services.”