Page 26 - Volume 69 Number 2
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General Session Highlights
Washtenaw County Medical Society
MARCH 21, 2017
In Case You Missed It: Things I Didn’t Know About Hospice
At the General Session of the Washtenaw County Medical Society on March 21, Michael Paletta, MD, FAAHPM gave an informative update on hospice and palliative care services in Washtenaw County and in the state of Michigan in general. The attendees learned many things, starting with the discovery that their assumptions about hospice care were not necessarily true.
Michael Paletta is an Internist and Geriatrician who serves as Chief Medical Officer for Hospice of Michigan, which is among the largest non-profit hospice providers in the state, caring for 5,000 patients annually. Hospice of Michigan just this year merged with Arbor Hospice, the local non-profit hospice provider most of us are familiar with. I did not know that these two providers had been competing for patients in our county for many years and finally, wisely it would appear, decided to join forces (more on that later). That was only one of many things
I did not know about hospice care.
Dr. Paletta started the presentation with a quiz made up of basic questions we only thought we knew the answers to.
I had always lived under the assumption that there was one hospice provider in the county, primarily because when I had a patient that I thought would benefit from hospice care, I put in a referral to “hospice” and didn’t think more about it. Some of the time I would get a request back asking if I wished to continue to manage the care of my patient, or should I leave that to the medical director? Sometimes I didn’t. I did not really know what was behind that question. I recently saw a patient who was in hospice but was requesting a feeding tube, which is not something hospice advocates. I wondered what was going on. Well, now I have a much better understanding.
What do you know about hospice care?
 Hospice care is for the final days of the dying
 Medicare rules ensure that all hospices offer the
same services
 CMS rules require palliative care agencies to
provide identical services
 Palliative care services are fundamentally
the same as hospice
Andrew R. Barnosky, DO, MPH, WCMS President
26 Washtenaw County Medical Society BULLETIN APRIL / MAY / JUNE 2017
Rachel Kramer and Erika Rekoumis, MD Candidates, Class of 2018

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