Hospice & Home Health Becoming Part of WMH
Hospice & Home Health Becoming Part of WMH

Hospice & Home Health Becoming Part of WMH

Hospital

Home Health and Hospice Services of Wyandot County was recently acquired by Wyandot Memorial Hospital to continue local hospice and home health services in Wyandot County.

The standalone, independent organization – like many small businesses – has struggled recently with the additional regulatory requirements, workforce shortages, unexpected costs and uncertain revenues.

“The timing of the pandemic hit us hard,” Home Health and Hospice Services Executive Director Cathy Browne noted, “coming just two months after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid lowered reimbursement rates for many home health care providers like us.”

The lower rates were coupled with a decrease in patients, Browne explained, as there were fewer people in need of home health due to the cancellation of elective surgeries with the state’s stay at home order, and hospice services limited in the local nursing homes.

“It’s been a sort of perfect storm that’s brought us here,” she stated. “Even before COVID-19, many home health and hospice organizations across the country were consolidating with publicly-traded chains or private health systems. It was just becoming too difficult to remain afloat and balance lower revenues, increased costs, complex coding and billing of services and difficulties with employee retention and recruitment.”

Browne said the affiliation of Home Health and Hospice Services with Wyandot Memorial Hospital will provide group purchasing possibilities, insurance contract options and operational efficiencies. The hospital also benefits with improved continuity of patient care and expansion opportunities in palliative care and inpatient hospice services, according to Valerie Schalk, WMH Vice President of Nursing and Quality.

“Our physicians, nurses, discharge planner and patient navigator are all excited to have hospice and home health services on the same team,” Schalk shared. “It will help us coordinate our discharge process and strengthen our communication to reduce patient re-admissions to the hospital.”

“Receiving care at home is vital for many in our community,” Browne emphasized, “and the pandemic brought that to the forefront with the added safety of staying in place. There are many crossover opportunities where Home Health and Hospice Services and the hospital can make sure individuals get the care they need.”

Home Health and Hospice Services of Wyandot County was formed when Hospice of Wyandot County merged with Wyandot County Home Health in 2018. Wyandot County Home Health was certified in 1966 as a county organization under the direction of the local board of health, and Hospice of Wyandot County was founded by area volunteers in 1987.

Wyandot Memorial is a joint township district hospital with local leadership on its Joint Township Board and Board of Governors. It just celebrated the 70th anniversary of its opening in 1950.

“Our calling of ‘Neighbors Helping Neighbors’ aligns with the hospital’s mission of ‘Keeping Our Promise to be Your Hospital,’” Browne added. “By partnering, we’re able to keep the promise of being your local hospice and home health.”

The acquisition included a provision for the fund balance of Home Health and Hospice Services to be transferred to the Wyandot Memorial Hospital Foundation as monies restricted to support the operations of the home health and hospice services.

Browne indicated the acquisition will be finalized in November or December, and no immediate changes are expected, other than transitioning to the name of Wyandot Memorial Hospital Home Health and Hospice Services.

For more information about WMH Home Health and Hospice Services, contact Browne by phoning 419-294-5787.