By Tim Hunt
Positioning Hope Hospice to serve in the new health care paradigmUploaded: Nov 25, 2015
Thanksgiving Week is a bit bittersweet for those of us who have lost loved ones.
Holidays are family time and those times change forever when your generation becomes the senior one with no parents still living on this earth. For the passing of four family members, we were blessed by the services of Hope Hospice (I also am a former board member).
Hope Hospice celebrated its 35th anniversary last week, and, given the week of memories, it is significant on how the organization is poised to move into an uncertain future. ObamaCare has roiled the health care industry—no matter what you think about its merits or how Harry Reid skirted Senate rules to pass it and the current Republicans in power refuse to meet fire with fire and do the same to repeal it.
As it stands, no health care provider likely can survive (short of concierge care for doctors and wealthy patients) without being part of an Accountable Care Organization. Giant Kaiser Permanente, which had its lobbyists engaged with writing the law, is a model—vertically integrated care designed around keep people healthy.
That reality is one that Hope Hospice interim CEO Bob Boehm is tackling head one. He stepped into his role at the request of his fellow board members. Bob has two goals—restore confidence in the agency that had been bleeding red ink for the prior two years and build the alliances.
During our interview, he pointed out that the daily census (patients under care) had run at 55 at times during the last two years, about 20 patients short of the organization’s break-even financial level of 75. He celebrated when the census was 76 last Friday. He politely characterized the situation as two prior leaders who did not have the skill sets to guide the organization in very challenging times.
He also was delighted to announce last Friday that Hope Hospice will affiliate with the University of California San Francisco/John Muir Health accountable care organization. All hospices rely on referrals from medical care providers so these affiliations are critical. In addition, Hope Hospice is expanding its range of care to include palliative care before the hospice referral (six months or less to live). Bob hopes the palliative support results in referrals because the medical team is known to the referring physicians.
In addition to the relationship with UCSF/John Muir, Bob also is working closely with Pathways Hospice on the Peninsula that has a very tight relationship with Stanford Health. Stanford Health took over ValleyCare earlier this year. Boehm’s hope is that the Pathways affiliation or partnership can lead to the something similar Stanford ValleyCare and continued referrals.
It’s impressive to see what Bob has accomplished in his “retirement” to position an organization that has served the valley so well to continue to do so. The good news for all of us is that he has agreed to extend the “interim” status to solidify the agreements he has started to build.