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Acclivity Health’s Chief Innovation and Advocacy Officer explains why patients and families shouldn’t hesitate to seek hospice care.

As seriously ill patients near the end of life, it is often suggested that hospice care become part of their health care plan. Unfortunately, patients often enroll in these services too late to reap the full benefits. Dianne Gray, Chief Innovation and Advocacy Officer at Acclivity Health, says this is often due to a stigma that surrounds hospice care.

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Over half of all hospice referrals today come from hospitals that often wait too long to refer a patient into hospice care. Whether they believe a referral suggests they are abandoning the patient or they anticipate higher profits from an extended stay, too often hospitals prevent patients from receiving hospice care in time to make it meaningful.

Independent physicians and specialists often don’t have the time or experience to handle hospice care coordination efficiently. However, when physician groups align with hospice organizations in a formal community structure called a Connected Care Community, these doctors can remain on the front line of their patients’ care.

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Less than 40 years ago, when you went to the Emergency Room at your local hospital, you had no idea what kind of doctor you’d see. Staff physicians in the hospital took shifts in the ER, so you might have an obstetrician casting your broken wrist or a psychiatrist treating your heart palpitations. Beginning in 1979, Emergency Medicine was recognized by the American Board of Specialties. Over the next decades, EM specialists became thoroughly integrated into the continuum of care, so that today, patients coming into to the ER can expect treatment and a proper diagnosis from the right physician. 

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