Yolo Affiliates with California Hospice Network

Davis, Calif.-based Yolo Hospice has become the newest affiliate of the California Hospice Network (CHN). The network is a coalition of nonprofit hospices designed to support the growth of community-based hospice care and leverage their collective scale and resources in value-based payment programs.

Though each California Hospice Network member remains a distinct, independent organization, the partnership enables the hospices to collaborate on best practices and improve efficiency through cost sharing and shared services. Among the network’s successes is the significant reduction of employee health insurance costs for each member hospice.

“While all hospices must provide federally-mandated care, nonprofit hospices boast a unique niche of providing truly exceptional care and an array of services that go above and beyond Medicare requirements and what insurance will reimburse,” Craig Dresang, CEO of Yolo Hospice, said. “Significant changes in Medicare and the hospice payment structure are putting pressure on nonprofit hospices nationwide. By joining with other like-minded nonprofit hospice providers in our state, we are better positioned to provide the high-quality care our community deserves long into the future.”


Three California-based hospices — the Elizabeth Hospice in San Diego, Mission Hospice & Home Care in San Mateo and Hospice of Santa Cruz County — established the California Hospice Network to support the growth of community-based hospice care throughout their state. Among the goals of the collaboration is to reduce overhead costs, improve the members’ bargaining position with payers and health plans and smooth the transition into value-based payment models, such as Medicare Advantage.

One of the founding members, Elizabeth Hospice, left the network due to divergent activities and timelines that complicated their participation.

Collectively, the network’s member organizations serve 10 counties in Northern California with a total population of 6.3 million residents. Their combined annual budgets exceed $60 million and they employ 600 workers and an equivalent number of volunteers.


Nonprofit hospices in several states have formed similar coalitions. Three hospices in 2013 established Ohio’s Hospice, for instance. Between this year and last, the industry also saw the establishment of a similar network in Wisconsin, the multi-state joint venture Advanced Illness Partners, and Alivia Care, which affiliate with organizations using a similar approach.

Yolo Hospice expects that joining the network will help them compete with larger players in the space.

“In the Sacramento region alone, there are approximately 50 hospice companies,” said Dresang. “More than 40 years ago, when grass-roots physicians and community volunteers established California’s first hospices, they never imagined a future where dozens of other multi-million and billion-dollar for-profit hospice companies would enter the market with the intent of profiting from patients during the most vulnerable time of their lives.”

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