Adult, PACE, Palliative Centers Unveiled Amid Hospice Closures

Empath’s New Adult Day Center

Empath LIFE has opened a new adult day center in Tampa, Florida, which will also provide caregiver education and respite services, among others.

The LIFE program is a member of Florida-based nonprofit post-acute care provider Empath Health. Services at the program’s new facility include adult day services, primary and skilled care, therapies and social and emotional support.

The Empath LIFE Day Center and Medical Clinic will also provide transportation to medical appointments within the post-acute health system’s network of specialists and in-home care services, along with guidance and educational services for caregivers.


“The LIFE program is a great example of Empath Health Full Life Care,” President and CEO Jonathan Fleece said in an announcement shared with Hospice News. “We meet seniors where they are, providing the support and health care they need to maintain their quality of life in their homes, all the while helping guide their caregivers.”

Empath offers hospice care through several brands, including Tidewell Hospice, Suncoast Hospice, Empath Hospice, Hospice of Marion County and Suncoast Hospice of Hillsborough. The organization is in progress of pursuing an affiliation with Florida-based Trustbridge, expanding its footprint in the state.

The LIFE program mirrors Empath’s Suncoast Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) program, which the organization has operated since 2012. The decision to launch the LIFE program was in part driven by recognition of a “critical need” to expand similar services for seniors in this community and others, such as the new facility location in Hillsborough.


Adults 65 and older in the area of Hillsborough, Florida represent 15.1% of its population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“We are thrilled to bring this unique level of care and support to Hillsborough County,” Thomas Rieter, senior vice president of complete care at Empath Health, said in the announcement. “Given our history of providing all-inclusive senior care in Pinellas County, we know our services lead to healthier communities.”

WelbeHealth Opens 2 PACE De Novos

California-based WelbeHealth recently unveiled two new PACE centers – one in Los Angeles and the other in North Hollywood.

Both PACE centers began accepting enrollment in July and opened last month. The new locations are expected to reach more than 9,000 seniors within the Los Angeles and North Hollywood areas, along with surrounding communities.

The physician-led company provides senior health services across five other cities in California, including medical and dental care, as well as physical and occupational therapies.

“WelbeHealth is delivering critical services to vulnerable seniors and their family members like memory care rooms and transportation,” Meg Barron, executive director at WelbeHealth, said in a statement.

WelbeHealth’s programs that address social determinants of health include PACE, transportation to medical appointments, meal assistance and personal care services. A growing need to expand PACE models is emerging where the new centers are located – particularly among underserved Spanish-speaking populations, according to local legislators.

Having PACE services in these communities can help bridge language barriers and increase access and awareness around other health care options available to seniors, according to State Assemblymember Mike Fong (D-Calif.) The program is thus far “making strides” in addressing the unmet needs of historically underserved communities in Los Angeles and Hollywood areas, Fong indicated.

“Through the PACE model, WelbeHealth ensures that older adults can see culturally appropriate providers,” Fong said.

Hospice of Wichita Falls to Open Palliative Care Clinic

Texas-based Hospice of Wichita Falls is renovating its inpatient facility to include an outpatient palliative care clinic.

The hospice’s W. Erle and Emma White Inpatient Center features 24 patient beds with an interdisciplinary staff that provides round-the-clock care, including respite services for caregivers. The facility is being renovated in 2024 to add a palliative care center, as well as a staffing education center.

“The W. Erle and Emma White Inpatient Center will undergo renovations in 2024 that will house the first of its kind in the area outpatient palliative care clinic,” Alisa Echols, executive director of Hospice of Wichita Falls told local news.

Hospice of Wichita Falls provides hospice at its inpatient center, in patients’ homes and at hospitals and assisted living and skilled nursing facilities. Established in 1985, the hospice and palliative care provider offers community- and facility-based services across 12 counties in north central Texas. 

The inpatient center has provided care to nearly 11,258 patients and families since opening in 1997.

Hospice of the EUP Aims to Remain Afloat Amid Financial Strains

Michigan-based Hospice of the Eastern Upper Peninsula (EUP) is striving to remain open amid financial headwinds in its local community that could reduce funding support.

Hospice of the EUP became Medicare certified in 1990 and offers facility-based hospice and grief support services. The organization partners with EUP Home Health & Hospice to provide community-based services as well, which provides private duty, skilled nursing, hospice and home health care in the Chippewa County area of Michigan.

The Chippewa County Board of Commissioners recently held a meeting to discuss the potential elimination of home health and hospice programs operated by the county’s health department, including those under Hospice of the EUP’s umbrella of services. Discussions centered around the hospice’s financial status and its sustainability outlook.

“We will do whatever it takes to make sure that we remain open and that our services continue for the community,” Tracey Holt, Hospice of the EUP’s executive director, said during the meeting in a local news report. “This can’t happen, we will not shut down … We need to work together to find a way to continue the services for the community. Our hospice house is run by our own board of directors and we partner with the health department. We want to continue working with them.”

The Chippewa County Health Department is the only health department in the State of Michigan that still has a home health and hospice program, the news report indicated. It reported seeing “substantial losses,” during the meeting that totaled nearly $600,000 during the last fiscal year.

Hospice of the EUP operates a five-bed inpatient facility in the region. Staff at the Ball Hospice House provide 24/7 care in a home-like environment. The facility opened in 2012, fueled by a $300,000 donation from Robert and Helen Ball, local community members.

Another meeting is set this month to discuss the county health department’s 2024 budget and the bandwidth of programs that it will be able to support in the community, including hospice and home health care.

Boone Health Shutters Home Health, Hospice Operations

Missouri-based Boone Health is closing its home health and hospice programs, effective Dec. 2.

Boone Health is halting its hospice and home health operations due to staffing and reimbursement pressures – resulting in the layoff of around 26 staff members and impacting nearly 50 patients currently receiving these services. The impacted staff members are eligible for other positions across the organization.

Similar to many health and hospital systems with hospice programs, Boone Health has experienced “ongoing challenges with staffing and reimbursement” Gene Meyer, interim president and CEO told local news.

Meyer leads the organization until Brady Dubois ascends as Boone Health’s CEO on Nov. 20. All told, the hospital system has eliminated 62 positions in recent months.

The hospital provides health care to 25 counties in central Missouri, including cardiology, neurology, oncology, surgical and orthopedic services, as well as hospice and home care. Boone Health has more than 2,000 employees and roughly 350 physicians.

The decision to shutter its hospice and home health operations will allow for greater focus on growing its primary and specialty care clinics, according to Boone Health leaders.

“This decision will allow Boone Health to focus resources on areas of core competency including inpatient and outpatient services, and the continued growth of our primary care and specialty clinics,” the organization stated in local news.

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