La. hospice cuts worse than previously announced

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's health department is acknowledging that planned cuts in the state's Medicaid program will eliminate hospice care for all Medicaid recipients beginning in February.

Hospice care aims to make dying people more comfortable in their final months of life. In announcing reductions to hospice care funding last week, officials with Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration said hospice care at nursing homes would not be eliminated.

However, The Times-Picayune (http://bit.ly/TCo87T ) reports that Kathleen Meyers, a spokeswoman for the state health agency, confirmed there will be no reimbursement for hospice services beginning Feb. 1.

Jamey Boudreaux, executive director of the Louisiana-Mississippi Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, said he learned from the health department earlier this week that the initial characterization of the cutbacks was wrong.

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Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com

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