Oregon Non-Profit Hospices Form Statewide Partnership

Four hospice organizations in Oregon have launched a new alliance under the brand Oregon Non-Profit Hospice Alliance (OHNA). Based in Hillsboro, Ore., the alliance is a new partnership founded by four hospice care providers currently serving nearly half of all Oregon counties.

ONHA represents non-profit hospices throughout the state of Oregon. The partnership collects donations to promote the benefits of non-profit hospice care in that state, as well as providing the following services to its members:

  • Peer quality benchmarking
  • Best-practice implementation
  • Shared efficiencies and economies of scale
  • Development of programs and outcome measures for payer contracting

“Being part of ONHA means we can do even more for our communities,” said Kelly Beard, the chief executive officer of OHNA. “Alliance members are sharing best practices and working together on innovations to support exceptional community-based hospice and palliative care.”

Beard was previously the executive director of Lumina Hospice and Palliative Care, one of the founding organizations of OHNA. The new organization’s board of directors includes the executive directors of each member company as well as one member of the governing body from each of the four founding members, including:

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  • Care Partners Hospice & Palliative, Hillsboro, Ore.
  • Hospice of Redmond, Redmond, Ore.
  • Klamath Hospice, Klamath Falls, Ore.
  • Lumina Hospice and Palliative Care, Corvallis, Ore.

Beard told Hospice News that the alliance is pursuing innovations in care delivery.

“One example is home-based palliative care provided by an interdisciplinary team, as well as home palliative care consults by a board certified hospice and palliative care physician or geriatrician,” she said.  “We are also exploring telehealth options to extend these services to our more rural patients. Another example is the development of specialized care protocols for patients with cancer and congestive heart failure.” 

These organizations modeled their partnership after non-profit alliances in other states, such as Ohio’s Hospice.  Ohio’s Hospice was founded in 2013 with three member organizations and in the intervening years expanded to nine members, in addition to entering into joint ventures and other community organizations.

Regional partnerships help non-profit hospice organizations compete with for-profit entities that during the past decade have come to dominate the hospice market.

“Because of nonprofit hospices limited size and geographic reach they may be at a disadvantage compared to large for-profit companies or large health systems and hospitals in the area of purchasing power,” Beard explained.  “By joining a nonprofit alliance like OHNA non-profit hospices can ‘leapfrog’ this competition, enjoying the advantages of size, geographic reach, and combined goodwill through the alliance.”

Organizations that participate in regional alliances also see advantages related to contract negotiations and the sharing of resources, including finance, human resources, and quality and compliance personnel.

“Community-based non-profit hospice providers are often small-to-midsized businesses with limited purchasing power and access to specialized professional resources,” Beard added. “Through the alliance we hope to negotiate better contracts with payors and vendors, to increase access to specialized expertise by sharing personnel across the alliance, and to increase career opportunities for our employees.”