Medicare Care Choices Model Introduced by Jewish Association on Aging

The Jewish Association on Aging’s Sivitz Jewish Hospice is rolling out a new program that allows Medicare beneficiaries to receive hospice support while continuing treatment to Western Pennsylvania’s seniors suffering from life-limiting illnesses including cancer, HIV Aids, COPD and congestive heart failure.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has designated Sivitz Jewish Hospice as the first and only service provider in the area and one of four in the Commonwealth to participate in the innovative Medicare Care Choices Model.

The new Medicare Care Choices Model provides Medicare beneficiaries who qualify for coverage under the Medicare hospice benefit and dually eligible beneficiaries who qualify for the Medicaid hospice benefit the option to elect to receive supportive care services typically provided by a hospice agency while continuing to receive treatment for their life-limiting illness.

This is a major shift as individuals were not previously eligible to receive payment for curative treatments while receiving benefits under the Medicare hospice benefit as described by Medicare payment rules.

 “This is a huge relief for patients and families in our area who have previously found themselves in the emotional bind of choosing between care options,” according to Deborah Winn-Horvitz, President and CEO of the Jewish Association on Aging, the organization that manages Sivitz Jewish Hospice.

“Being the only facility in this part of Pennsylvania to offer the model greatly assists area patients who are confronted with difficult decisions, choosing between end-of-life care such as hospice or continuing treatment for their illnesses.  Now they can have both while maintaining their benefits and their quality of life,” says Winn-Horvitz.

Those interested in exploring whether they qualify for the special Sivitz hospice services may call 412-422-5700 for more information.

As a leader among providers, Sivitz Jewish Hospice also ranks at the highest level of service given by regional facilities according to a recently released quality of patient care survey conducted by CMS and distributed through

The hospice was judged by patients on their preferences, specifically the ability to provide expert pain management during treatment.  Outpacing both the national average and seven local for- and non-profit facilities providing hospice care, including a 51% higher rating than one of the region’s largest for-profit facilities, Sivitz scored 100% in four of six service categories surveyed, the only facility among those tested to do so.

Scores like these place Sivitz and the JAA firmly among the best in class, recognized for quality service and innovative programming.

About the Jewish Association on Aging (JAA): The JAA offers comprehensive programs to keep seniors active, safe, independent, and connected to the community. It provides services to seniors of all faiths, backgrounds, and financial means, including seniors who no longer have the ability to pay for their own care.