By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen

DULUTH - For the past 17 years, Peachtree Christian Hospice and PruittHealth have been wonderful community partners, sharing a common value of “commitment to excellence.” As the operator of Peachtree Christian Hospice, PruittHealth has provided exceptional care to over 10,000 hospice patients at the Duluth facility. 

In light of increased regulations and requirements, as well as reductions in healthcare reimbursements, PruittHealth has made the difficult decision that it will no longer continue operating the stand-alone hospice facility. While the provision of inpatient hospice services remains a strategic part of the PruittHealth Model of Care, their focus will shift to inpatient hospice care in their skilled nursing facilities. 

Neil Pruitt, Chairman and CEO of PruittHealth says, “Today, more and more patients and doctors are choosing home hospice care, and as such, the demand for inpatient hospice care has significantly declined. Therefore, it is no longer a viable business model for PruittHealth to operate a full-time, dedicated inpatient hospice facility, like Peachtree Christian Hospice, moving forward. This decision was a difficult one, as Peachtree Christian Hospice has been a wonderful partner to our organization and the local community since opening in 2000.”

Anne Mancini, President of Peachtree Christian Hospice (PCH), explains, “As soon as we became aware of PruittHealth’s plans, we moved quickly to begin an intense due diligence process to explore our options. We considered many scenarios, but had to face the reality that the inpatient hospice care model simply does not prove to be viable and sustainable moving forward, no matter what healthcare partner we choose.”

Determined to carry forth PCH’s chartered mission and the vision and intent of their major benefactor, the late D. Scott Hudgens, Jr., they conducted a very thorough analysis of what service gaps there are in the community that they fill. They found a tremendous need for a day health facility that would care for home hospice patients, aging adults, and disabled veterans and young adults. Additionally, there is a real need for support services for caregivers. 

As PCH overlaid this need with their calling to provide a place of loving, compassionate care for people struggling with illness, they discovered a beautiful opportunity to focus more on life enrichment than end of life. Mancini shares, “We uncovered wonderful ways we could transition our current work from an inpatient to an outpatient model that would allow us to continue to care for home hospice patients and their families, while also expanding our services to enrich the lives of others living with debilitating illnesses and disabilities. We see a tremendous opportunity to help keep families together, united in their homes.”

PCH’s new business model proves to be far more flexible, sustainable and responsive to the ever-changing needs in the community. It also fulfills a dream of the Peachtree Christian Hospice co-developer, the late William N. “Bill” Todd, to add an outpatient care facility, just like this, to the campus. 

After great thought and prayerful consideration, the Peachtree Christian Hospice Board of Directors voted early this month to make this shift in their work so they could be even more impactful than ever before. The next year will be one of transition and change. 

On November 27, PruittHealth announced the closing of the hospice to their employees. They will intake the last hospice patients on November 29th and remain dedicated to giving those patients and their families a loving place of rest, comfort and hope in their last days. By the end of the year, PruittHealth will wind down operations and work to transfer their employees to other positions within their healthcare network. Neil Pruitt shares, “We have great employees at Peachtree Christian Hospice and know this will be a difficult process. Our goal is to retain all staff across PruittHealth’s other business units. We are committed to a smooth transition for our employees, patients, and community partners.” 

Moving forward, Peachtree Christian Hospice will be known as Peachtree Christian Health, operating a Life Enrichment Center that offers services such as:

• Clinical and Personal Care (based on five levels of care) 
• Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy Plans
• Horticultural, Art, Music and Pet Therapy
• Mind, Body and Spiritual Engagement  
• Caregiver/Family Support• Educational Programs and Community Partnerships• “We Honor Veterans” Program
• Benevolence Program for Low Income Families

PCH will remain a faith-based, not-for-profit organization with a significant charitable purpose. In early 2018, PCH will launch a renovation phase to update their facility to meet the needs of the new business model. As part of this new business model, PruittHealth has offered to provide consulting support regarding licensing and regulatory compliance, as well as clinical services, to ensure a smooth transition. Peachtree Christian Health plans to reopen their Life Enrichment Center with exciting new purpose in early 2019. 

Mancini shares, “We are so grateful to PruittHealth and countless others who have been a part of and supported our mission for the past 17 years. We know this is a big change, but progress is impossible without change. We have to adapt to the changing landscape of healthcare to be relevant and impactful in the community. As we move forward, we will work to honor our history, pray for guidance, and be convicted in our mission. Our commitment is to be good stewards of the resources the community has entrusted to us so we can serve the greater good.”  

If you’d like to learn more about this transition and the future plans for Peachtree Christian Health, you are invited to attend one of two Coffee and Conversation Sessions being offered on Thursday, December 7th, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. or Tuesday, December 12th, 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the current hospice facility located at 3430 Duluth Park Lane, Duluth, GA 30096.

Published: 2017-11-29 02:40