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Hospice Providers Fight The Demise Of 'CON'

Big Bend Hospice

Florida hospice providers are joining a call by nursing homes to preserve the so-called certificate of need process.

Conservative lawmakers say easing restrictions on industry growth would encourage competition and innovation.

But Big Bend Hospice vice president Rheb Harbison says there is no free market in end-of-life care because it is heavily subsidized.

“It would be very appealing for an entrant hospice to want to come in, open a storefront in a strip center not put any money on the ground in terms of beds or centers for families, and just have access to patients so they could bill government programs.”

Harbison contends adding more providers in North Florida would make hospice less efficient and less able to serve rural patients.

The Florida Health Care Association, which serves tens of thousands of nursing home patients in Florida, is also fighting certificate of need repeal. 

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.