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Hospice agency restructured after Medicare survey

by Jeff Munson

Results from a survey of its Medicare participation forced Barton Memorial Hospital on Monday to close its Gardnerville hospice and in-home health agency in a consolidation with Washoe Health System.

The in-home and hospice agency in the Carson Valley, which was located at Carson Valley Medical Center, is now run through Barton’s South Lake Tahoe office, said spokeswoman Linda Thompson.

“The change is more behind the scenes and the public will not notice it in a visible way,” Thompson said.

The consolidation results from a conflict between Medicare conditions of participation and the joint venture’s plan to lease the employees from Barton until a competitive salary and benefit structure can be put into place, she said.

The conflict was identified in a Medicare home health initial certification survey that took place earlier this month.

The entities taking part in the Washoe-Barton joint venture agreed to close the Carson Valley agencies and relinquish the Nevada licenses to cut costs, she said.

The survey found no major deficiencies related to the quality of patient care, Thompson said.

“In the last survey taken, the agency scored a 99 out of 100 percent in patient care,” she said. “There will be no impact on patients. They will have the same contacts and same services.”

There will be no layoffs and employees of the Gardnerville office will be managed jointly with Carson Valley Medical Center through the South Lake Tahoe office.

While the office has moved, health care workers will not have to commute to the South Lake Tahoe office on a daily basis.

Medicare certification is essential to becoming a Medicare and Medicaid provider and is required by state and federal government as well as private insurers.