Chattanooga native Dr. Deanna Duncan will be providing information to the Tennessee Health Services Development Agency on Wednesday to hear her application for a Certificate of Need (CON) to open a small company called Hearth, LLC providing a full continuum of highly personalized, consistent quality home hospice and palliative care. CON hearings provide a mechanism that the state of Tennessee uses in the “…orderly development of health care services”.
Dr. Duncan has letters of support for the project signed by over 150 physicians, business leaders, patients, elected officials and hospice family members located in the proposed nine county service area. She is proposing to provide services in Hamilton, Bledsoe, Bradley, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Polk, Rhea and Sequatchie Counties. Dr. Duncan is board certified in both Family Practice and in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Earlier this month, she was named to the Public Policy Committee of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. She has been a member of the Research Committee of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization since 2010.
If the application is granted, Hearth, LLC will provide hospice and palliative care services as well as bereavement care and a research component. The new hospice will also provide unique employment opportunities including flexible work schedules; emergency daycare; and, a generous vacation package with required breaks. Dr. Duncan believes that by nurturing employees, they, in turn, will be able to become more nurturing in their day to day duties.
Dr. Duncan's application is opposed by Hospice of Chattanooga, Amedisys Hospice, and Caris. However, 11 individuals initially supporting the opposition effort withdrew their opposition based on a lack of information or misinformation provided to them about the application.
In one letter, Mark A. Brzezienski, MD wrote, "Our elderly population is growing steadily. More hospice providers will increase access to the care that dedicated folks like Deanna (Dr. Duncan) provide…large corporate providers pay high end lawyers and lobbyists to limit access to hospice care for our community. That would be really shameful."
Dr. Duncan said, “I appreciate the effort that the Tennessee Health Services Development Agency is undertaking as they consider this important application. I am humbled and honored to have the strong support from so many and look forward to presenting our facts to the agency for their deliberations.”