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San Diego Hospice to cease operations

(This post originally appeared HERE in San Diego Uptown News.)

SAN DIEGO -- While seeking court approval to transition patients and some staff to Scripps Health, San Diego Hospice announced Wednesday, Feb. 13 its decision to cease operations after years of serving the community. The organization stated plans to file for bankruptcy the previous week.

Under the transition plan, Scripps Health, which acquired Horizon Hospice on Feb. 4, will take over patients currently managed by the nonprofit that decide to choose Scripps as their provider. The settlement will also include the San Diego Hospice buildings, their electronic medical record license, associated computer equipment, as well as enough employees to care for the patients that transfer their care.

“This is obviously a difficult decision for all of us associated with San Diego Hospice. The plan we have put forward will allow us to take immediate steps to stop incurring debt, which increases every day we remain in operation,” said Kathleen Pacurar, CEO of San Diego Hospice in the announcement. “We are taking this course after many months of discussions to resolve our financial challenges, including talks with Scripps asking for their help. Our decision to file bankruptcy was based on our need to maintain continuity of patient care as we worked through the details of this plan. We believe this is the best course for our patients and their families, and for San Diego Hospice.”

Proceeds from Scripps’ purchase of the building would assist San Diego Hospice with existing bills and allow it to eliminate increasing debt. If the court accepts the transition plan, the transition should be completed within 30 days.

“San Diego Hospice has provided an important service to this community for many years and we are saddened that they are no longer able to continue their mission,” said Chris Van Gorder, president and CEO of Scripps Health. “In our talks with San Diego Hospice, we both agreed that we did not want to see patients fall through the cracks during this process, and we wanted to help as many hospice employees as we could. Our hope is that the court will accept the whole set of proposals so that there can be a smooth transition of care for these patients, and there are opportunities for San Diego Hospice staff to remain employed to continue providing that care.”