Lewiston, Maine-based Androscoggin Home Healthcare + Hospice will be expanding its palliative services with a new specialized care center in Portland, Maine. In addition to serving the community’s serious illness population, the Maine Center for Palliative Medicine will provide palliative care education and training programming to various health care clinicians and professionals.
Hospices are increasingly offering palliative care as demand rises, along with expanding value-based care payment models driving reimbursement potential further upstream. The number of Medicare Advantage health plans that are offering palliative care as a supplemental benefit more than doubled between 2020 and 2021, representing a growing national trend among the health care system at large.
“Offering palliative services to our patients is not new for Androscoggin,” said the organization’s President and CEO Kenneth Albert. “As the number of Mainers needing palliative care has grown, we have invested in the communities we serve by adding additional medical staff and overall expertise in this specialty area of medicine to meet the need.”
At 51.4%, hospice utilization among Medicare decedents in Maine hovered just above the 2018 national average of 50%, according to the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). Utah led the charge at 60.4% utilization. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that one in five people in Maine were 65 and older in 2019, making up 21.2% of the state’s population. While many seriously ill patients are not older adults, this age demographic represents a large portion of patients utilizing palliative care services in the United States.
Covering Franklin, Cumberland, Kennebec, Oxford, Sagadahoc and Somerset counties throughout the “Pine Tree State,” Androscoggin Home Healthcare + Hospice has substantial footing to gain from the new palliative medicine center, where it will provide interdisciplinary palliative care.
The center’s specially trained and certified physicians, nurse practitioners and multidisciplinary team of nurses and social workers will collaborate with patients’ primary care providers to deliver whole-person medical care for those with serious and life-limiting illness.
“[Maine Center for Palliative Medicine (MCPM)] really embraces the concept of the whole person, and goes far beyond physical treatment,” said Vance Brown, M.D., Androscoggin’s chief medical officer. “We’re able to truly honor the lived experience by ensuring both patients and their families are given the opportunity to be fully involved in their plan of care.”