Ohio’s Hospice Expands with New Morrow County Affiliate


Hospice of Morrow County has joined forces with Ohio’s Hospice of Central Ohio, a member of a regional partnership of providers in the state.

Hospice of Morrow County has joined forces with Ohio’s Hospice of Central Ohio, a member of a regional partnership of providers in the state.

Rebranded as Ohio’s Hospice of Morrow County, the organization is now an affiliated member of Ohio’s Hospice, a partnership of nonprofit community-based providers that serve a combined 58 counties statewide.

“Together, we set the highest standard of care to ensure everyone in our care has access to world-class, end-of-life care,” Andrea Baker, executive director at Ohio’s Hospice of Morrow County, said in an announcement. “We look forward to continuing to provide superior care and services to each patient and family we have the privilege of serving in Morrow County and the surrounding communities.”

The Mt. Gilead, Ohio-based nonprofit has provided care in its home county since 1991.

Demographics are pushing up demand for hospice in the Buckeye State. Seniors currently represent 17.5% of its overall population, according to the US Census Bureau. The number of adults 60 and older is anticipated to reach 30% by 2030, projected the Ohio Department of Aging.

The state in 2018 ranked sixth nationally for hospice utilization among Medicare decedents, reaching a rate of 56.7%, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Utah held the highest rate that year at 60.5%.

Morrow County expects the new affiliation to enable expansion “in every care setting,” including assisted living and extended care facilities, along with hospice centers and in-patient hospital settings, the company stated in the announcement.

Ohio’s Hospice is a statewide alliance of nonprofit providers that share best practices in operations and clinical care.

Established in 2013, the collaborative began with three hospices and now includes 10 providers (including Ohio’s Hospice of Central Ohio) as well as joint venture partners and community organizations. Providers collaborate on back office functions and expenses, regulatory compliance, and leverage their collective size in negotiations with vendors, payers and referral sources.

“Each affiliate throughout the state is strengthened by sharing resources and is enabled to respond to the increasing regulatory challenges and a declining reimbursement environment,” Mary Justice, board chair at Ohio’s Hospice of Central Ohio, said in the announcement.

The affiliation expands Hospice of Morrow County’s capacity for more patient visits and direct care, as well as spiritual and bereavement services, in addition to artistic, respiratory, massage and occupational therapies.

A growing number of nonprofit hospices are forming similar regional strategic collaborations to ensure sustainability in an evolving payment landscape. Partnerships like these can be crucial for smaller providers with limited geographic scale or whose patient census doesn’t meet eligibility thresholds for value-based models.

Off the bat, the Ohio’s Hospice affiliation gives Morrow Country access to new payer relationships.

CVS Health Corporation (NYSE: CVS) subsidiary Aetna recently selected Ohio’s Hospice as part of the insurance company’s preferred care provider network for the value-based insurance design (VBID) demonstration. Commonly called the Medicare Advantage hospice carve-in, the demonstration took effect Jan. 1, 2021.

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