Viv Tipton: Are all hospices the same?
Are all hospices the same? It seems that when reported in the news they are, but in actuality, they are not.
Like all aspects of health care, there are profound differences in hospice care and you have the right to choose which is best for you and your family. Some of the very basic criteria is for making your choice may be:
Location — Is it important for my hospice to be from my community?
Quality ratings — Is it important for my hospice to have sound quality outcomes, reporting, and processes?
Business model — Is it important for your hospice to be a not-for-profit, or a for profit? What if they are community owned, or part of a larger franchise?
These are all valid criteria to ponder when making your selection. The minimum services required by Medicare are the same, the difference lies in how those requirements are met. Hospice of the Foothills has been providing hospice care in our community for 40 years. What started as a kitchen table discussion back in 1979 has blossomed into a vital service providing individualized support for well over 500 families annually. The staff, volunteers and board are all members of the community we serve. Our bereavement programs, support groups, and helpful resources are all locally provided.
Recently, the Office of the Inspector General released some concerning information about hospice care in America. The report spoke of the importance of quality care at the end of life.
Hospice of the Foothills has a robust quality assessment program. The organization passed the state survey in 2018 with exemplary scores and are preparing for, and looking forward to, accreditation with the Joint Commission. Our Quality Committee regularly reviews family evaluations, patient concerns and staff identified areas for improvement. This approach to quality is regularly validated in our survey results. Hospices report data to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. This data provides the public a snapshot of the quality of care that each Medicare-certified hospice provides. We have repeatedly received awards of distinction based on the reported data and the survey results provided by the families of our patients. The consistent delivery of high-quality care is the result of a focused and candid approach to providing care at the end-of-life. Hospice of the Foothills consistently scores above the national average in all areas and this is demonstrated in the patient and family’s willingness to recommend.
Hospice of the Foothills is a nonprofit organization. We are committed to our mission of providing exemplary end-of-life care to our patients, families and the community. This is accomplished through capable health care professionals providing support well beyond the requirements of Medicare. Hospice of the Foothills meets each patient’s distinct needs regardless of their ability to pay.
Our generous community allows us to provide this specialized care through financial and volunteer support.
Just like all Hospices are not the same, all end-of-life journeys are not the same. The staff of Hospice of the Foothills have an extraordinary combination of heart, skill and passion to provide each patient and family the care needed and desired.
We welcome your questions and concerns as this national conversation regarding end-of-life care continues.
Viv Tipton is the executive director at Hospice of the Foothills.
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