Hospice of the Red River Valley helped both of my parents die. I don't even want to think of the added misery they would have had to endure as they died, had it not been for the incredible help of HRRV. Every hospice is a little different, but they all have one mission. No one needs to die in pain. The editorial below was written by the executive director of HRRV. I'm sure this message applies to hospice organizations countrywide, so I am sharing it with you.
"Hospice Month Nov. 2008
In the midst of these challenging times, National Hospice and Palliative Care Month provides an opportunity to thank you for the ongoing privilege of caring for terminally ill patients and their loved ones up and down the greater Red River Valley area. Hospice of the Red River Valley is entering it’s 28th year of service and remains deeply committed to providing gold-standard end-of-life care.
We exist to care for friends, neighbors and loved ones who want dignified, comfortable and peaceful passings, and for their loved ones who make it possible for them to write their last chapters wherever they call home. We do this with you and for you. In the presence of a dying person, one truly stands on hallowed ground.
People who do this work often feel called to it. It is generally considered a ministry. So, to characterize this work as business, feels simply crass. Ninety percent of our reimbursement, however, comes from Medicare and Medicaid. Hospice care is part of the country’s extensive health care system, subject to federal regulations and the changing tides of administrations and congress. And, that is big business.
Like it or not, Hospice of the Red River Valley is affected by political and economic pressures, just like every other segment of health care. And, like other health care providers, our reimbursement is seriously threatened. High gas prices? Well, our patients don’t come to us: we go to them. We log over a million miles per year traveling throughout our 28-county service area. Mileage reimbursement is the fourth largest line item in our $23 million budget.
Any way you slice it, that is big business, too. In order to support our mission throughout our service area, we have an ethical responsibility to face some harsh realities squarely and to respond creatively and professionally. This we will do. What we won’t do is compromise care. We know that many counties in our area are rapidly aging. Increasing numbers of people will want and need our services. With your support we are meeting this need and we will continue to work with you to do so in the future. Thank you for entrusting the care of your loved ones to us. Thank you for supporting our mission. We are honored to be of service."