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Hospice Firms Vie For State Approval

The competition is on for a new hospice program in Pasco County.

The state Agency for Health Care Administration has received letters of intent from nine companies to establish a hospice program. The letters are a first step in the state’s certificate-of-need process.

The application deadline is May 16. The state on March 30 published need for one new hospice program in Pasco.

Letters were filed by Compassionate Care Hospice of Pasco; Cornerstone Hospice & Palliative Care; Covenant Hospice; North Central Florida Hospice/Haven; PruittHealth Hospice; Seasons Hospice & Palliative Care of Pasco County; The Hospice of the Florida Suncoast; Tidewell Hospice; and VITAS Healthcare Corporation of Florida.

The state also received letters of intent from companies that want to add new nursing-home beds. The state on March 30 announced the need for an additional 274 beds in six nursing home “districts.”

The certificate-of need-program is a regulatory process that requires hospitals, nursing homes and hospice operators to get state approval before building facilities or expanding programs.

Gov. Rick Scott has tried unsuccessfully to convince the Legislature to eliminate the so-called CON program for at least hospitals. His latest effort was to take the issue to voters this fall, but he and other supporters of the idea couldn’t muster enough support from members of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission to place the issue on the ballot.