Urban Hospice Overview
HOSPICE AND PALLIATIVE CARE
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10:04 AM -- Urban Hospice Overview
Darla Scheuth, Executive Director, HospiceCare of Boulder and Broomfield Counties, introduced herself and provided background information to the committee regarding her credentials. She provided a packet to the committee with information regarding hospice care and Medicare funding for hospice care (Attachment B). She spoke to the utilization of hospice. She commented that two main comments she hears from the public regarding hospice care are, "I wish we would have known about you sooner" and "We couldn't have dealt with situation without you." She stated that these comments are indicative of the value of hospice care. Ms. Scheuth explained various payment methods for palliative and hospice care. She stated that Medicare reimburses hospice care centers a set amount of money per day, a per diem, for care and services. She explained the four levels of payment and the corresponding level of payment. She highlighted that the highest level of payment is for general inpatient care, but that is capped at 20 days. She stated that the way Medicare is structured is to encourage hospice providers to provide services in the home rather than a hospital. Committee members discussed the reimbursement levels and which program, Medicaid or Medicare, that pays for services. Ms. Scheuth stated that the longer an individual stays at the hospice, the better she is able to spread her costs. She stated that HospiceCare raises about $1 million from the community in order to subsidize the costs of operating the hospice.
She spoke to solutions to eliminating barriers to care. She stated that offering options to the patient could help immensely. She stated that some families and individuals are not able to 'make the leap' to call in hospice. There was some discussion regarding how people come to the decision to enter into a hospice program. She stated that physicians are paid to 'treat' or cure patients, but that there is a disconnect between treating patients and helping someone die in peace.