Atlanta-based Precious Hospice is expanding to CEO Henry Mason’s hometown of Chicago, where the company will provide in-home hospice and palliative care as well as 12-bed inpatient beds via contracts with local facilities.
The company expects an initial daily census of 25 patients in Chicago, according to Mason. The hospice’s Atlanta location cares for approximately 70 patients per day.
“Coming home made sense to me, and I think this is the right time,” Mason told Hospice News. “The people in the community who taught me and helped me grow up are aging, and this is an opportunity to come back and take care of them, as well as provide employment opportunities to people who maybe didn’t realize they could work in health care without necessarily becoming a doctor or a nurse.”
Mason and his family founded Precious Hospice after his mother was diagnosed with sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that affects the bones, muscles, and connective tissues. In a series of difficult conversations about his mother’s wishes for end-of-life care, she described the type of care she wanted from a hospice. The family then decided to found a hospice that would fit that description.
The hospice was not Mason’s first entrepreneurial endeavor. After graduating from Morehouse College with a Finance degree in 2011, he launched a headhunting firm that currently has 10 employees in Washington and Los Angeles. From there he went into developing and marketing mobile phone apps, prior to founding Precious Hospice.
The company’s business model focuses a great deal on caregiver needs, providing community space for mutual support, including bereaved families who return as volunteers to comfort people currently going through hospice.
“Hospice is a very regulated federal- and state-paid program; we all follow the same rules,” Mason said. “The differences between providers are in the details. Having been a caregiver, I can attest to the challenges they face. A mother may not be comfortable with her son giving her a bath, for example. So we can say instead of the required two [certified nursing assistant (CNA)] visits per week, maybe we can do four or five, based on that family’s needs.”
The hospice assists caregivers with training, with some family members going on to become CNAs or homemakers.
The privately owned for-profit company also operates a nonprofit foundation that helps take care of patients’ out-of-pocket expenses. The foundation finances support that isn’t typically covered under the Medicare Hospice Benefit, such as home modifications or meal preparation.
“What we are trying to do is build a care community in which the hospice cares for patients, supports the family, and helps the families support each other,” Mason told Hospice News. “This also creates a word of mouth platform that gets people interested in what we are doing, bringing in volunteers and helping us grow.”