Twenty-four certificate of need applications were submitted to the state this week by entities vying to offer four new hospice programs health care planners say are needed to offer end of life services in the coming year.
The Agency for Health Care Administration will review the applications and announce its initial decision Dec. 17. The selections can be challenged in state administrative court, though, and therefore are not final.
There were 15 CON applications for new hospice programs in hospice Region 9, which includes Indian River, St. Lucie, Okeechobee, Martin and Palm Beach counties. There were three CON applications for Indian River County and another 12 CON applications for Palm Beach County.
Polk County, which is part of hospice Region 6, drew interest from 10 applicants who want to build a hospice facility in the area.
Eight CON applications were submitted for a new hospice in Marion County, which is in hospice Region 3, and eight applications also were submitted for a new hospice in Escambia County in hospice Region 1.
Leon County, located in hospice Region 2, drew interest from one vendor.
Hospice, nursing homes and intermediate care facilities for the developmentally disabled are regulated by the certificate of need program, often referred to as CON. There are four so-called CON “batching cycles” annually, two for hospice programs and two for nursing homes and intermediate care facilities for the developmentally disabled.
For planning purposes, AHCA divides the state into 11 regions and determines whether there is additional need for the regulated service in each region.
State health care planners in August published a need for four new hospice programs in the state. Escambia, Marion, and Palm Beach counties were all areas with identified need for a new hospice program. A fourth hospice program is needed to serve Hardee, Highlands and Polk counties, but health care planners did not specify where in the tri-county area the hospice had to be built.
While 83 vendors submitted letters of intent with the state signaling they had a potential interest in offering hospice services, just 20 went on to ultimately submit CON applications.