Louisiana-based Hospice of Acadiana is starting construction on an 8,500-square-foot facility adjacent to the company’s home office. The hospice will provide general inpatient care, respite care and some routine home care onsite.
Patients whose symptoms are too severe to manage in a private residence will have access to the facility, as well as homeless patients or those whose homes are otherwise not conducive for providing care.
“We had a team that felt like it was our obligation to step up and to provide this level of care, because we know there’s a need in our community,” said Kacee Schexnayder Thompson, executive director of the organization’s philanthropic arm, the Hospice of Acadiana Foundation, which is overseeing the project. “We had people that would be referred to us that needed that [general inpatient] level of care, and as the only nonprofit in our area we would see people that may not have a home or may not have a caregiver. We wanted to be able to do whatever we could to make sure that they were still getting that end-of-life care.”
The facility, which is expected to begin admitting patients in June 2021, will be known as Calcutta House as an homage to the humanitarian Mother Theresa who was known for her work in India. The 12-suite facility is designed to have a home-like feel that is consistent with the local architecture and will include areas for family members to spend time as well as a kitchen and chapel.
The facility will be staffed 24-hours daily, according to Thompson. Nursing stations will be designed for clear visibility and easy access to the patient suites.
Operating an inpatient facility will amplify Hospice of Acadiana’s position in relation to its regional competitors. One other inpatient facility, owned by a for-profit company, exists in their service area.
“It definitely gives us the advantage of being able to offer that next level of care to those patients that would want to choose us but may have needs beyond what we currently can do in the home,” Thompson told Hospice News. “For the community, it gives them a choice so that they do have a couple of options when they’re in need of that next level of care.”
The Hospice of Acadiana Foundation has engaged in fundraising efforts to finance the $2.6 million project. To date, the campaign has raised $1.3 million, but the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a slowdown in donations and gifts to hospices due to the need to cancel events, limit face-to-face interaction with potential sponsors and the general economic fallout from the outbreak.
Boosting the program’s financial sustainability are the rebased payment rates for the general inpatient care, inpatient respite care and continuous home care levels, implemented by the U.S. Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services for fiscal year 2020.
CMS for 2020 cut routine home care payments by 2.6% and raised the rates for the other three levels of care by a corresponding 2.6%. Prior to this rebasing, payment rates for those three levels of care amounted to less than the cost of providing them. The agency has proposed keeping 2021 rates at those same levels.
“Based on the current reimbursement rates, we should see about an 8% margin,” Thompson said. “Any margin that we do realize would be used to cover some of those instances when patients come in and don’t have a payer source.”