Delaware Hospice officials announced layoffs statewide including 18 healthcare workers in Sussex County.
In all, Delaware Hospice CEO Susan Lloyd said, 52 healthcare workers lost their jobs as the result of changes in the way Medicare reimburses the organization.
Lloyd said the guidelines Medicare follows to determine which patients are appropriate for hospice care are under increased scrutiny, meaning many patients already under hospice's care are no longer being paid for by Medicare.
"We have had to discharge some patients," Lloyd said, but Delaware Hospice is still serving about 400 residents statewide. More than 100 patients have been discharged because of the increased Medicare reviews of hospice.
"At this point we are engaged in discussions with Medicare and working with the national hospice organization, which has started a national initiative to look at the hospice industry," Lloyd said. "Delaware is one of 16 states affected by these changes."
According to a press release, Delaware Hospice is the largest and only licensed, nonprofit, community-based hospice serving Delaware and southern Chester and Delaware counties in Pennsylvania. Since 1982, Delaware Hospice has provided care and support to 41,500 patients and their families.