On behalf of Gilchrist Hospice Care, I want to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a joyous holiday season and a New Year filled with love and happiness. This is truly a time of giving, and Gilchrist is blessed to be the recipient of the good will of so many who support us so generously throughout the year.
It is because of you that we are able to provide the finest in end of life care to thousands of patients and their loved ones each year. Your support also enables us to assist families who, due to financial circumstances, are having a difficult time providing for their dying loved ones. Through our financial assistance fund, we are helping families meet the most basic of needs: shelter, electricity, medications, medical supplies… The list could go on and on.
The holiday season is also a time when our dedicated staff and loyal volunteers assist many of our hospice families in other more personal ways. Through Gilchrist’s “Adopt a Family” program, we are providing gifts, food and clothing to 15 hospice families who have been identified by our staff based on need. It is overwhelming to witness everyone’s enthusiasm, generosity and extraordinary concern for others. It is also truly remarkable to note that the wish lists these families provide are meager and basic. In many cases, they are reluctant to ask for help. So we add to it for them – providing gift cards and other items, over and above their requests.
We know that the gifts we provide for these families will be used to help meet basic needs and to bring some much-needed joy to their holiday seasons. Please know that Gilchrist has been and will continue to be a good steward of your gifts as well. Your generous donations are used almost exclusively for direct patient care and family support; they help us bridge the difference between the actual costs of providing care and the insurance reimbursement we receive for that care.
It is a deficit we incur annually, and last year, thanks to the generosity of so many, Gilchrist was able to absorb $2.6 million of these non-reimbursed care costs. That number will continue to increase as we continue to expand our programs to better meet the needs of our families. However, beginning in October 2012, Gilchrist – and all hospices throughout the United States – will be forced to assume a greater financial burden: Medicare, by far our largest source of insurance funding, will begin cutting reimbursements by 2 percent a year for the next seven years. For Gilchrist, that translates into $800,000 a year in reduced Medicare revenue each year.
In the coming years, we will need your support more than ever before. As you consider your charitable gifts this year and in the years to come, I hope that Gilchrist will remain high on your list. It is truly an organization worthy of your support.