This story comes from THE WATCH
A Hub for Training, Counseling and Grief Programs
MONTROSE – Hospice care is on the upswing in western Colorado.
A new facility at 735 So. Fourth St., set for construction this fall, will more than triple its current space, and serve as a hub for training, counseling and grief programs for adults and children.
It comes online thanks to the efforts of Nancy Hoganson, director of community relations in the Montrose office of Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Colorado (operating facilities in Delta, Montrose, Grand Junction, and Plateau Valley), who secured $50,000 in cash and donated services from both the City of Montrose and Montrose County that helped secured a $400,000 Department of Local Affairs’ Community Development Block Grant for its construction.
Over the next five years, it can care for up to 75-100 patients per day; the Community Adult Bereavement Program can expand to accommodate between 100-200 people and the Community Child and Teen Grief Program can accommodate an additional 200 children.
“Hospice care is working well to reduce the cost of care and Medicare expenditures, and at the same time making sure people have the care they prefer, [with] quality of life and support for their entire family,” said HPCWC spokesperson Alyssa Hampson.
A 75 PERCENT COST REDUCTION
The average stay in a local ICU is about $2,500 per day, as opposed to about $650 a day in a Hospice Care Center, such as HPCWC’s center in Grand Junction.
If just 1,000 additional people enrolled in hospice 15 to 30 days prior to death, Medicare would save more than $6.4 million a year, according to a report published this month in Health Affairs, the national journal covering health care and health care policy. The cost savings of hospice care could save Medicare millions if not billions over time, as health care costs continue to rise for those nearing death.
Medicare and Medicaid – and most private insurance plans – offer 100 percent coverage for hospice care, with co-pays for “anything that helps provide medical care for a patient’s serious illness,” including hospitalization, inpatient hospice care, pharmacy and medical equipment, according to the report. It goes on to cite data from a 2007 Duke University study which found hospice care created a cost savings for patients for at least the last eight months of life.
“As of 2012, 5 percent of seriously ill American’s accounted for more than 50 percent of health care spending, with most of the costs in the last year of life,” the report read. “If we could reduce that cost by just 5 percent, it is estimated that we would save over $6.4 billion in one year and $90.8 billion over 10 years.
In addition, “This saves families thousands.”
Nationally, Medicare spending for last two years of a person’s life totals around $60,000; in Grand Junction, with Hospice care, that figure is closer to $40,000.
For more information about Hospice or volunteering visit, www.hospicewco.com.