Montana hospital to close home health agency

Clark Fork Valley Hospital in Plains, Mont., said it will close its Medicare-certified home health agency as it restructures home health services.

The decision, effective Jan. 1, will not affect hospice services, which will continue unchanged, according to a Dec. 12 hospital news release.

CFVH, a critical access hospital in western Montana, attributed the "difficult decision" to various challenges, such as workforce shortages, financial losses and regulatory burdens related to operating a home health organization.

It said those burdens have been particularly challenging in a rural setting.

"We try to offer every service possible for Sanders County residents, but the obstacles of operating a certified home health program have grown more challenging in recent years," said hospital CEO Greg Hanson, MD, in the release.

Dr. Hanson also said the hospital is working to maintain as many services offered by home health agencies as possible. Physical therapy treatment for homebound patients can now occur at home via CFVH's rehabilitation department, according to the hospital, which has also received approval from CMS to provide home nurse visits through its family medicine clinic. 

Clark Fork Valley Hospital and Family Medicine Network is a nonprofit community healthcare organization. It includes the 16-bed CFVH, as well as a long-term care facility and three family medicine offices in Thompson Falls, Plains and Hot Springs, Mont.

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