PeaceHealth Southwest withdraws appeal of hospice care center
In a collaborative spirit to best serve those in need of end-of-life care in our community, PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center (PHSW) and Community Home Health & Hospice (CHHH) are pleased to announce the decision by PeaceHealth Southwest’s Board to withdraw the hospital’s appeal of CHHH’s certificate to build an inpatient hospice facility in Vancouver.
As part of a larger expansion project, CHHH’s 10-bed hospice care center was approved by the Department of Health (DOH) on May 4, 2012. By state law, inpatient hospice facility projects are required to receive approval from the DOH prior to building. On November 17, 2011, CHHH applied for a Certificate of Need (CON) with the DOH for approval to build a 10-bed hospice care center in Clark County at its new location in Salmon Creek.
As allowed in the CON process, PeaceHealth Southwest (PHSW) filed as an affected party to CHHH’s application, and the DOH held a public hearing in Vancouver on February 21, 2012 to receive community input. Following the DOH’s approval of the project on May 4, PHSW opposed DOH’s ruling and filed an appeal contesting the DOH’s decision on May 15, 2012.
CHHH’s Board President Dan Spjut said of PHSW’s action, “This is great news for Clark County residents. We thank our longtime friends at PHSW and their civic-minded Board for withdrawing the appeal so the common good may be served. Over the summer, our Boards have been talking about potential solutions that benefit the community as well as both organizations. The community looks to both providers to create the best possible array of services, and PHSW is an important part of the solution. We look forward to working with the PHSW team in the future.”
Both CHHH and PHSW remain committed to meeting the needs of an increasing elderly population in Clark County by ensuring there are sufficient inpatient hospice beds in the community including inpatient hospice care at PHSW’s Ray Hickey Hospice House. Leaders within both organizations are hopeful they can work together in the future to address those capacity issues.
“Both organizations have expressed a strong desire to work together to ensure the success of hospice care in our community,” said Ruth Bennett, Board Chair, PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center.
“Our decision to drop our appeal is truly a decision of the heart and a decision of hope,” said Joe Kortum, President and CEO, PeaceHealth Columbia Network. “We are hopeful we can develop enough collaborative solutions to help secure the future of both inpatient hospice facilities and continue to provide this essential service to those communities we serve.”
Next Steps for CHHHS
For nearly 25 years, CHHH has served Clark County residents, providing medical and nonmedical in-home care including home health, private duty, hospice and grief support services. Since 1988, CHHH has operated out of leased space in Vancouver. Due to extraordinary growth in services (500% over the past six years) and projected significant population increase of its primary patients (seniors) , CHHH is expanding to meet Clark County’s current and future healthcare needs. It is building a 42,000-square foot facility to house its existing community-based services as well as a hospice care center. The new 10-bed care center comprises 25% of the overall $10 million project. Plans also include an outdoor memorial garden and large conference space available for community use. The new site is conveniently located near major medical facilities in northern Clark County and has easy access to I-5 and 205. The property features beautiful natural surroundings edged by wetlands to provide a tranquil setting for hospice patients and their families.
Once CHHH received CON approval from the state, it was possible to move forward with the project. CHHH is currently in the permitting, construction and financing phases and anticipates ongoing discussions with PHSW throughout the project. CHHH is waiting to hear from Clark County about when permits will be issued.
CHHH’s goal is to start construction to meet the conditions of the fee holiday which was extended into 2013. The fee holiday was enacted to spur private sector, job-producing economic development by waiving certain construction development fees. The project was also made possible in part by a generous property donation by Ronald and Wendy Wilson and Jan Quann of Vancouver.
The first building inspection must take place by September 27, 2013. It is anticipated that construction will take 13 months, once shovels are put in the dirt. CHHH has not finalized construction plans and is incorporating feedback from all interested stakeholders. There is still time to adjust plans without risking the loss of the fee holiday.
About Community Home Health & Hospice
A community-based nonprofit organization, Community Home Health & Hospice (CHHH) has served the healthcare needs of Washington and Oregon families with care, comfort and love since 1977. Every day, we care for 600 people at home through home care personal services, home health, hospice and bereavement services in the following four counties: Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum in Washington and Columbia in Oregon. We foster clinical excellence, innovation and agility as recognized by our 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008 top agency ranking among 9,500 Medicare-certified home health agencies nationwide. Community Home Health & Hospice (CHHH) supports the healthcare and independent living goals of each patient and their loved ones by delivering the highest quality, compassionate and dignified care to individuals in their chosen place of residence. Visit CHHH on the web at www.chhh.org.
About Hospice Southwest
Hospice Southwest, a program of PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, provides care for the terminally ill and their families in their own homes, adult family care homes and extended care facilities. In addition, the Ray Hickey Hospice House bridges the gap between home and traditional inpatient care for hospice patients. The 20-bed hospice house offers local families an alternative home-like environment where loved ones may receive end-of-life care. At Hospice Southwest, a multi-disciplinary team of professionals and volunteers works in partnership with the patient’s physician, to provide pain and symptom management, medical treatment and emotional and spiritual support. Hospice Southwest also offers a full array of bereavement programs for children and adults alike through the Stepping Stones Grief and Bereavement Center at the Memorial Health Center.