May 9, 2012 in City

Hospice of Spokane requests permission to build 20-bed facility

By The Spokesman-Review
Colin Mulvany photoBuy this photo

Gina Drummond, CEO of Hospice of Spokane, stands outside the Hospice House at 367 E. Seventh Ave. The organization is seeking state approval to build a new $6.6 million facility in north Spokane to serve up to 20 patients at a time.
(Full-size photo)

Hospice of Spokane is preparing to open a second inpatient facility for people with terminal illnesses who need specialized care.

Work on a new 12-bed Hospice House in north Spokane – off of Division Street and south of Costco – is expected to begin later this year and possibly be ready to accept patients in 2014.

The project will be built in two phases on about two acres of vacant land. After the first 12 beds are open for patients, a second phase to add eight more beds likely will begin, said Gina Drummond, chief executive of the nonprofit organization.

The entire project carries a $6.6 million price tag, according to a project application submitted to state Department of Health officials who weigh whether communities have a need for such medical facilities.

No person or competitor in the hospice business has filed an objection with state regulators over the new facility. Hospice of Spokane operates on an annual budget of more than $16 million, according to tax records. It has assets of about $18.6 million, which includes cash reserves of about $7 million.

The Hospice House on Spokane’s lower South Hill opened in 2007. Designed by ALSC Architects PS, the facility has served the organization well with its modern flourishes and open floor plan, Drummond said.

“The patients and families are pleased and comforted with what we have done here,” she said.

The north Spokane facility will be similar.

The need for hospice care continues to increase as the region’s population grows and ages, said Hospice of Spokane spokesman Dale Hammond, who said the organization will conduct a fundraising campaign to pay for the new facility.

Hospice of North Idaho opened a 12-bed Hospice House last year in Coeur d’Alene at a cost of $4 million.

Though the majority of hospice care is focused on patients in private homes or care facilities, the Hospice House provides a more peaceful, attractive alternative to hospitals, Hammond said.

The average length of stay for Hospice House patients is 8 1/2 days.

About 85 percent of the patients have the cost covered by Medicare. For the rest, the bill is paid by Medicaid or private insurance or is unreimbursed care that’s counted as charitable care.

Hospice of Spokane was established 35 years ago and today has 125 employees, including 18 at the Hospice House, along with more than 250 volunteers who provide care to terminally ill patients and their families. The new facility will have between 25 and 30 employees once the 20 beds are occupied.

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