Our hospice is a community based in-home care program. We are a non-profit independent hospice not affiliated with any other organization.
Our program is governed by a 15 member board of directors made up of citizens of Hillsdale County. The hospice board meets monthly.
Our volunteer medical director is Dr. Dustin Kimball. He is a family practice physician in Hillsdale. Our spiritual advisor is Dr. Samuel Wickard of Pittsford.
Hospice of Hillsdale County is a member of the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization, the Michigan Hospice & Palliative Care Organization and the Hillsdale Chamber of Commerce.
Our program became licensed by the Michigan Department of Community Health in May of 1991 and certified by that same agency in September of 1992. We are periodically re-certified and licensed by that agency with unannounced comprehensive surveys. We are also an approved Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Great Lakes Health Plan participant. Being certified allows us to bill insurance companies for the care and supplies we provide to our patients. We bill Medicare, Medicaid and all other private insurance companies.
In 2014 our average daily census was 23.4 patients and our average length of stay was 66.04 days. Our median length of stay was 23 days. 131 patients and hospice families were served and out of that 107 new patients were admitted. 26 patients were discharged or revoked their hospice benefit and 93 patients died. In 2014, Hospice of Hillsdale County provided 8,431 days of paid care and 44 days of free care.
Our office is located at 124 S. Howell St., in Hillsdale. Our office hours are 9-4 PM, Mon.-Fri. When our patients need assistance after hours, on weekends or holidays they access our on-call staff by dialing the on-call cellular telephone. Our program also has 24 hour referral and case opening capabilities. Our office telephone number is 517-437-5252 and our after hours/on-call telephone number is 517-398-4380.
We serve all of Hillsdale County and surrounding areas of Lenawee, Branch and Jackson Counties.
Our program philosophy encompasses these points:
- Death is a natural part of life.
- Each individual has a right to be comfortable until they die.
- Social, emotional and spiritual needs are as important as physical needs.
- Patient independence and control is promoted.
- Isolation and abandonment is lessened.
- Individual values, preferences and outlook on life are recognized.
Some misconceptions of hospice care that many people have (Refer to Handout)
- Hospice is only available for the elderly.
- Hospice is only for cancer patients.
- Hospice bills patients for charges not covered by insurance.
- We only accept patients who have insurance coverage.
- Patients need to change physicians.
- Patients are required to have a primary caregiver.
Hospice services are available to all persons of any age.
All terminal patients with a limited life expectancy are candidates for hospice care, not just those with a cancer diagnosis. In 2014, we had 54 patients with a cancer diagnosis and 77 non-cancer patients.
We accept any patient regardless of insurance coverage. We accept insurance payments in full and never bill our patients or families.
If the patient’s own attending physician agrees, they follow and order any medication/services. If a patient does not have a physician, our medical director will follow them through hospice care.
Patients are encouraged, but not required, to have a primary caregiver. Our social workers and nurses work with patients who need additional care that family or friends can’t provide. Occasionally this may mean the hiring of additional help, placement outside the home or transfer to another hospice in a locale where family lives.
A physician must write an order for hospice care and certify that the patient has a limited life expectancy. A physician order is always obtained when change in treatment is necessary. Hospice will never discontinue service to a terminal patient who outlives their prognosis if the attending physician and the hospice team feel the patient meets hospice criteria.