By LAURA JANOWICH SEIKEL
SANDUSKY – The Board of Directors of Stein Hospice recently approved preliminary plans to partner with Community Hospice Care of Tiffin, a not-for-profit organization serving residents of Seneca County. This partnership was initiated by the Board of Community Hospice, to strengthen not for profit hospice services to residents served by both organizations in a time of increased competition and decreased reimbursement from Medicare that is experienced by all hospices nationwide.
“This is a natural fit, as both organizations share a deep commitment to our communities, and to offering not-for-profit, compassionate help for patients and their families,” said Community Hospice Board President, Gene Chintala. “Stein already serves patients and their families in Seneca County, so we anticipate integrating our two teams, as we work to fully align both organizations.”
In the weeks and months ahead, Stein and Community anticipate working through details such as integrating electronic medical records. Once that work is complete, staff will be combined and the best practices of both organizations adopted, to more efficiently serve the community.
Each organization currently serves about 20 patients in Seneca County, although Stein Hospice’s total service area is much larger, serving more than 270 patients in five additional counties. “By combining the two organizations, we will be able to offer more resources to all families served by Stein and Community Hospices,” said Jan Bucholz, CEO, Stein Hospice. “We look forward to a smooth transition, and will work with staff to deliver education and training to integrate the organizations smoothly.” She added that each organization has unique strengths that will benefit from a rich depth of offerings, including bereavement, palliative care and comfort services, as well as experienced Hospice and Palliative Care certified medical directors and nurse practitioners.
Once the partnership is finalized, it’s expected that Community and Stein Hospice employees will be unified. While most of Stein Hospice’s employees will continue to work out of their respective offices in Sandusky, Huron and Ottawa and Brown County, it is anticipated that employees serving Seneca County would work out of the facility Community Hospice owns in Tiffin, and that the organization would retain the “Community Hospice Care” brand in Seneca County. In addition, Bucholz said she anticipates both the Stein Hospice and Community Hospice Board members will remain involved after the integration is completed.
“This will remain a community hospice in every sense,” Bucholz said. “We are taking this step because everyone involved is dedicated to ensuring families have access to help with end-of-life care needs, and to improving the quality of life for patients with terminal illnesses. We want to make sure they continue to receive amazing care at the most vulnerable time of their lives.”
Stein Hospice and Community Hospice are both not-for-profit agencies that have been caring for patients and families in Ohio for more than 35 and 33 years respectively. The agency’s service area includes Erie, Huron, Ottawa, Sandusky, Seneca, Lorain and Brown Counties.