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News State / Region State approves Certificate of Need for new hospice facility

The public hearing in November 2010 for the proposed Hospice House brought out hundreds of people. Many supporters and opponents of the facility chose to comment on the record.The Board of the Hospice House Foundation, along with Four Seasons and Compassion for Life, has announced that the State has issued a Certificate of Need (CON) for a free standing hospice inpatient facility/ hospice house for Macon County.

“The support and prayers of everyone has helped us accomplish yet another step toward our mission,” said Michele Alderson, President of the Hospice House Foundation of WNC. “Now we are focused on obtaining a location for the hospice house. We are also reaching out and establishing contacts with other care giving agencies that may need use of the facility in the future.”

According to Alderson, the main goal has been, and will continue to be to give hospice patients in Macon County a very special place of care and comfort during this time of illness that is not available anywhere else in our community.

The approval of the CON came after an appeal to the NC department of Health and Human Services by The Hospice House Foundation and Four Seasons. The Agency found that the proposed project for a Hospice House, originally introduced in September of 2010, conforms with all relevant statutory review criteria.

The original proposal was for a $4 million facility, was scheduled to be completed by July 1, 2013. The facility is intended to benefit the entire region.

The concept for such a facility in Macon County was five years in the making and had been the mission of the Hospice House Foundation since it was first incorporated in 2005. The organization worked non-stop ever since to establish a “home-like” residence for inpatient hospice patients who lack caregivers to assist them at home.

Alderson, who first became a hospice volunteer after her brother was admitted to an inpatient facility in 1995, said that the experience is central to her current motivation to see a similar facility established in Macon County.

Michele Alderson, President of Hospice House Foundation.“The experience changed my whole view of death and dying,” Alderson recalled, “because of the very special care he received in a very special setting.”

The county held a public hearing in November 2010, which was heavily attended by members of the community. According to Alderson, everyone who attended the public hearing, without exception, supported homebased, outpatient hospice care, noting there are two providers of the service in the county. Moreover, she said that the need for inpatient beds in the county had already been established, adding that while there are 28 inpatient facilities currently in North Carolina, there are none at present west of Asheville.

On Feb. 25 of 2011, a CON application for a six-bed hospice inpatient facility submitted was denied by the state. Reasons stated in the denial of the CON response was the lack of demonstration of ability to raise funds for the project. “One of the things the state wanted to see was strong commitment and support for a hospice house from the community in the form of dollars raised. We have done very well in raising funds to date, especially considering that we have yet to begin our Capital Campaign. We will continue to work hard to raise the funds needed for the Hospice House through fund raisers such as our third annual Cut-a-Thon, which will be held June 11 this year, as well as through a Capital Campaign,” Alderson added.

After evaluating the first denial letter, the Hospice House and Four Seasons worked tirelessly to make the changes that the state suggested. The next steps in facility are currently being evaluated and based on the time line, the organizations plan to commence breaking ground in 2014.


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