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Hospice of the Rapidan announces merger with Hospice of the Piedmont

Friday, Jul. 25 | By Hannah Dellinger | Google+
Hospice of the Rapidan, a nonprofit that has served Fauquier County for more than three decades, plans to merge with Hospice of the Piedmont.

Both organizations signed a letter of intent, detailing plans to begin discussion of merging the two entities. Over the next three months both Hospice of the Rapidan and Hospice of the Piedmont will focus their energies towards the partnership and the development of a new structure.

The new hospice care group will be centered in Charlottesville with a permanent satellite office in Culpeper.

The new organization will continue to serve patients in the same areas that Hospice of the Rapidan and Hospice of the Piedmont, including the counties of Culpeper, Fauquier, Madison, Orange, Rappahannock, Augusta, Nelson, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Louisa, Green, and Albemarle, and the city of Charlottesville.

“By combining the two agencies into one, we will be able to function more efficiently. The intent is to create a stronger union that will continue to grow and be sustainable well into the future,” said Melissa Mills, the executive director of Hospice of the Rapidan, in a press release.

She said the partnership “will enhance, broaden, and improve the delivery of high-quality, skilled, and compassionate care that patients and families we serve have come to know and trust for over 30 years.”

Both organizations plan to remain nonprofits after the merger.

“We are committed to the nonprofit hospice model in order to remain as an independent and effective part of our community,” said Mills.

Chief Executive Officer of Hospice of the Piedmont James Avery said that the merger makes sense because both nonprofits have similar backgrounds and ethics of care.
“Our hospices are alike in so many ways,” he said in a press release. “Both have served their communities since the 1980s, both are nonprofit, both have similar operating and governing structures and both have similar philosophies.”

Dr. David Snyder, founder of Verdun Adventure Bound and 1993 Fauquier Times Citizen of the Year, played an instrumental role in bringing the concept of hospice care organization to not only Fauquier County, but to Northern Virginia as well.

After helping to establish Hospice of Fauquier County, a volunteer hospice care provider, he helped establish the Hospice of the Rapidan. He was not surprised to hear about the plans for the merger.

“The reason for merger makes sense,” he said Monday, noting that medical facilities in Culpeper have been acquired by larger medical entities in Charlottesville. He compared the Hospice of the Rapidan and Hospice of the Piedmont merger to the University of Virginia’s plan for majority ownership of Culpeper Regional Hospital.

University of Virginia Medical Center currently owns 49 percent of Culpeper Hospital and plans to obtain majority voting rights on the Culpeper Regional Board of Trustees, which governs the hospital.

“Piedmont and Rapidan are coming together in the same way that U.Va and Culpeper Hospital came together,” said Snyder.

He said that often larger medical care organizations recruit the best talent in the field, leaving the competition with no choice but to join forces.

Snyder believes that because insurance companies have become involved with the hospice care system, bureaucracy has changed the nature of the field.

“There’s a lot of things that are good about the new system and there’s a lot that isn’t good,” he said. “The high-tech medicine and the minimally invasive procedures are a huge improvement. The paperwork part of it is not. The bureaucracy is making it very hard for small and family-owned practices to stay afloat.”

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