Johnson, together with Hoefer, has created a pre-hospice service for their patients, called Transitions. Sharp provides a nurse and social worker to patients to teach them how to manage their symptoms. For example, heart patients are taught how to adjust their medication if they’re feeling short of breath.

“What we’re looking at, is how we design a care continuum so we hand off patients (to hospice) at the right time in their disease.”

But there’s a catch. Medicare doesn’t have a benefit called “pre-hospice care.” Sharp is able to offer Transitions by treating patients for a set amount of money rather than billing procedure-by-procedure. This way they can stretch Medicare dollars. Transitions also is supplemented by patients who have private insurance.

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