Cleveland, Ohio-based Hospice of the Western Reserve and its affiliate, Hospice of Medina County, have initiated staff layoffs and other cost cutting measures including the suspension of inpatient care at HMC’s Inpatient Care Center.
The hospice cited increasing demand for hospice services, new regulatory requirements and declining Medicare reimbursements have led to reduced inpatient admissions. About 97% of care Hospice of Medina County provides occurs in a private residence, a nursing home or an assisted living facility.
“For months, the 16-bed inpatient unit has been operating at half capacity or less. Unfortunately, this is no longer sustainable,” said Bill Finn, president and CEO. “So much compassionate care has been provided within the walls of this facility since its inception. The generous support of volunteers and the community are a big part of its legacy. That made this decision particularly painful.”
Most employees impacted by these changes will be able to move to other open positions within the organization, according to Hospice of the Western Reserve, and the company doesn’t expect to implement further staff reductions.
Hospice of Medina County’s home-based hospice care will continue uninterrupted, as will bereavement care programs and all other services. The organization is working with hospice houses in its service area to ensure patients have necessary inpatient and respite support.
The company indicated that the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic was a contributing factor to these decisions. Many hospices nationwide took a financial hit during the outbreak.
As the novel coronavirus pandemic continues disrupting the business of hospice, many providers anticipate a decrease in annual revenues for 2020, according to recent research by the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC). Among the contributing factors to revenue drops is a decline in hospice patient admissions and referrals amid the public health emergency.
As the NAHC research found, 60% of the hospices surveyed anticipated a decrease in annual revenues due to the pandemic’s pitfalls, “with just under 30% expecting a decrease of 15% or more” during calendar year 2020. A majority of the providers cited increased costs of supplying staff with personal protective equipment (PPE) as a driving force, with hospices calling for more federal funding of PPE supplies among increased costs and high demand.
“These decisions allow the organization to adapt to changes in the current health care environment,” Finn said. “We remain committed to providing the best quality of care to patients and families within our nine county service area.”