Montgomery Hospice & Prince George’s Hospice has signed a memorandum of understanding to affiliate with Virginia-based Blue Ridge Hospice. The move could signal the start of a new hospice collaborative in the mid-Atlantic region.
Combined, the two hospices would care for an average daily census of more than 900 patients in eight Virginia counties and the Washington D.C. area. Montgomery Hospice & Prince George’s Hospice is headquartered in Maryland.
“We are two organizations with similar missions, comparable levels of community support, equal commitments to quality, and outstanding records of service and success, so we complement each other’s strengths, and our collaboration is poised for success,” Blue Ridge Hospice CEO Cheryl Hamilton Fried said in a statement. “Through our affiliation, we hope to demonstrate to other like-minded, nonprofit hospice and palliative care providers throughout the mid-Atlantic that we can all be better — and stronger — when we work together.”
The memorandum of understanding will get the ball rolling on a comprehensive diligence process that will be subject to customary approvals by the organizations’ boards, state and local government and other third parties.
The hospices expect that, by combining, they will be better positioned to operate in today’s changing health care environment, including competition from larger, for-profit hospices and the shift towards value-based payment systems. They further plan to create a “model of care with the potential to strengthen nonprofit hospices throughout the mid-Atlantic states.”
“The purpose of our organizations co-creating this new affiliation in the mid-Atlantic region is to better prepare for the future while providing high-quality care,” Ann Mitchell, president and CEO of Montgomery Hospice & Prince George’s Hospice, said in a statement. “Also important is to create a model that provides opportunities for future collaborations.”
Blue Ridge has invested heavily in preparing for a value-based future since Hamilton-Fried joined the company as CEO in January 2021. The company has launched palliative care and PACE programs and has expanded geographically, including a de novo in Loudoun County, Virginia, last July.
The organization is constructing a 16,500-square-foot PACE facility and anticipates starting to accept patients in 2024.
This new affiliation is likely the first of a series for these organizations and their region.
“We are sort of becoming a convener of cooperation among like-minded, not-for-profit end-of-life and serious illness providers in the mid-Atlantic region,” Hamilton-Fried told Hospice News last October. “We have an appreciation of the affiliated groups that are scattered around the country, and the models that are being created. We are pursuing a similar path and forming that strategy here in this area.”