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Last updated 3:27AM ET
February 25, 2021
Alabama
Alabama
Hospice Growth Under Scrutiny
(2007-04-23)
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - It was just a few years ago when surveyors with the Alabama health department were struggling to keep up with annual inspections at the 60 or so outpatient hospices scattered throughout the state. Those were the good old days.

Now there are 180 such hospices in Alabama and the backlog of 65 applications that are pending for new ones has state health officials calling for changes to dampen the flood and help the understaffed inspection division stay afloat.

The solution being offered is to put outpatient hospices under the review of the state's Certificate of Need board. Officials say that change would require new operations to get the board's blessing and a determination that they're needed.

Most health care operations such as hospitals, nursing homes, ambulatory care centers, dialysis centers and inpatient hospices are governed by the Certificate of Need board.

Outpatient hospices, which usually dispatch nurses and social workers from a small office to patients' homes, are required to apply for certificates of need, but they're automatically approved because the board doesn't have jurisdiction over them.

Carolyn Duck supervises the state's inspectors. Duck says if the state had a Certificate of Need law, there wouldn't be nearly as many hospices in the state.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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