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Scripps Seeks to Acquire Assets of Troubled Hospice

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, February 14, 2013

San Diego Hospice, the largest non-profit hospice in California and one of the largest in the nation, now seeking bankruptcy protection, may soon be combined with Scripps Health.

The four-hospital Scripps system on Wednesday sought bankruptcy court approval to rescue the organization. The hospice has been wrestling with a federal decision that it enrolled patients who weren't appropriately documented with terminal illness.

On Wednesday, SDH announced it would close.

Scripps is looking to acquire the assets of the 24-bed hillside acute care facility, which up until last fall took care of 900 patients at a time, most of them in their homes, with some 900 employees.

"I think there's a growing understanding of hospice care for society and it makes sense for us to have it within our system," says Scripps CEO Chris Van Gorder. "It's a sad day for San Diego Hospice, but I had doctors all over me suggesting that we step in and help. They just didn't know until today that we were doing just that."

Depending on the bankruptcy court's decision, he adds, "we will hire employees, many from San Diego Hospice, if they're interested in working with us, and I think many will be. And we will ramp up as patients sign up with us, and transition them over into our hospice."

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