News and Events > Hillcrest Hospice Expands
Hillcrest Hospice Expands into Western Iowa
First “Continuous Care” Hospice Agency Opens Headquarters in Council Bluffs
Council Bluffs, Iowa – March 31, 2021 – Families in Western Iowa are about to experience a level of hospice care unmatched by other local agencies. Hillcrest Hospice, a branch of Hillcrest Health Services and one of Eastern Nebraska’s largest hospice care providers, is expanding its service area to include Pottawattamie, Mills and Harrison Counties.
As part of the expansion, Hillcrest recently opened a new Iowa headquarters at 1702 W. Broadway in Council Bluffs.
“We’re excited to be part of the Council Bluffs community, and we look forward to serving families in Iowa,” said Mike Rehfeldt, administrator at Hillcrest Hospice. “Our sister agency, Hillcrest Home Care, has been delivering home health services in Pottawattamie and Mills Counties for more than a decade. During that time, we received several requests to provide hospice services as well. Now, with the opening of our Council Bluffs office, we’re finally able to meet that need.”
Continuous care is one of four types of hospice care covered by Medicare/Medicaid and provided by Hillcrest Hospice. (The other types of care are routine, respite and general inpatient care.) Most hospice agencies only provide routine level care, which accounts for about 85% of national Medicare hospice claims. Alternatively, continuous care is provided up to 24 hours a day in a patient’s home, assisted living or long-term care facility to help manage pain and other acute symptoms. Until recently, this level of care had not been offered by any agencies in Iowa for several years.
“Continuous care is an unbelievable help for patients and their families during times when the patient’s symptoms are uncontrolled, and we’re honored to bring this level of care to patients in Western Iowa,” said Rehfeldt. “In these cases, a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse stays at the bedside, providing care and working closely with our medical director or a nurse practitioner to alleviate the patient’s symptoms. You just can’t beat that level of one-on-one care.”
Hillcrest Hospice is in the process of becoming fully licensed and accredited, which would make it one of the only agencies in the state to hold both designations. Currently, the state does not require hospice agencies to become licensed, but Hillcrest leaders say the designations are important in demonstrating the organization’s unwavering commitment to quality and ethics.
“Hillcrest provides more types of hospice care than other agencies, and we have very high service standards,” said Reggie Ripple, vice president of home and community services.
One of Hillcrest’s key service standards is its commitment to admitting patients within three hours of referral, to which Ripple added, “Our team is swift and knows how to make things happen when time is of the essence.”
Hillcrest is currently serving a limited number of end-of-life patients pending results from a successful accreditation survey by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Once accredited, Hillcrest Hospice will quickly expand to serve more Iowa patients and families.
“Our hospice team is dedicated to providing an amazing experience for every patient and their families,” said Ripple. “These efforts have enabled us to grow into one of Omaha’s largest agencies, and we hope to serve even more families as we expand into Iowa.”
Hillcrest offers free consultations to families seeking advice about hospice and palliative care services. Hospice is completely covered under Medicare for those who qualify, which typically includes anyone with a life-limiting illness and a prognosis of six months or less. For more information, visit hillcresthospice.com or call 712-435-4910.
About Hillcrest Hospice
Hillcrest Hospice is part of Hillcrest Health Services, which offers the widest array of senior health services in Western Iowa and Eastern Nebraska. Services include independent and assisted living, post-acute rehabilitation, long-term skilled nursing care, home health, hospice, private duty home care, outpatient therapy and adult day services. To learn more about Hillcrest, visit hillcresthealth.com.
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