In an effort to enhance the depth and scope of end-of-life care services in the Atlanta metropolitan area and throughout the Emory Healthcare system, Emory Healthcare and VistaCare announced the signing of a number of service agreements, including an agreement to develop a 28-bed inpatient hospice unit at Budd Terrace scheduled to open in the Fall of 2005. Budd Terrace is a skilled nursing facility located on Emory Healthcare's Wesley Woods Center campus.
Through the agreements, VistaCare will lease the sixth floor of Budd Terrace to develop and operate a new hospice inpatient unit, with medical director and clinical services provided under service agreements with the Emory Clinic. The inpatient hospice unit is expected to open in the fall of 2005, with construction and renovation estimates projected at approximately $1.5 million.
The agreements will also enable the provision of hospice services by VistaCare in a variety of settings and capacities. VistaCare will be available to serve hospice-eligible patients in Emory Crawford Long Hospital, Emory University Hospital, and Wesley Woods Geriatric Hospital, as well as residents living in the Budd Terrace nursing facility.
"We have come to recognize the value and importance of hospice and palliative care for our patients and residents, " says Peter Basler, chief operating officer, Wesley Woods. "This reflects our shared interest in addressing the end-of-life care needs of our region, and VistaCare's open access philosophy will greatly enhance the hospice services available to eligible patients and facilitate access to the care they need."
In 2004, only 40 percent of eligible patients in the Atlanta metropolitan area received hospice care. "When you look at the region, the need for additional hospice and palliative care resources - especially in the inpatient setting - is clear," says David Elliot, president and chief operating officer for VistaCare. "We're especially honored to have the opportunity to work with an organization of Emory Healthcare's caliber and reputation in providing this much-needed resource."
VistaCare is the largest provider of hospice services in Georgia, with programs in 10 communities serving more than 80 percent of the state's population. VistaCare also operates programs in 13 other states, caring for approximately 5,400 patients each day.
"This collaboration makes good clinical sense," says Dr. Jeff Lesesne, assistant professor, Division of Geriatrics, Emory University School of Medicine. "When I consider the needs of our community and the ways in which we can make a substantive difference in the lives we touch, I am confident that this is the right thing to do."