President Obama's call for an overhaul of our nation's health care system has triggered a national debate.
Discussions have included how well Medicare dollars are spent, creating an opportune time to highlight a part of our health care sector that does work.
Hospice serves as a model of cost-efficient and high-quality health care.
The invaluable services and care provided by hospice programs are part of the solution for the nation, enhancing quality of life and keeping patients in the place they consider home.
In addition, hospice programs are actually a cost saver for Medicare.
A 2007 independent Duke University study found that hospice care reduced Medicare costs by $2,300 per patient, amounting to $2 billion in savings a year.
Hospice has also been found to be the type of high-quality care patients and families want, with more than 98% of served families willing to recommend hospice to others.
Last year, more than 1.4 million patients and their family caregivers chose the compassionate end-of-life care found through hospice. Locally, Cedar Valley Hospice served more than 933 patients in 2008.
Marvin Fagerlind, LISW
Executive Director, Cedar Valley Hospice