Letter: For-Profit Hospice Bad for County

By Kathryn Clary, RN, BSN, CHPN, Hospice of the Northwest, San Juan Island

Currently, the only Medicare-based hospice in our county is Hospice of the Northwest.

Two years ago this hospice was listed as the No. 1 hospice agency in the United States. HNW provides medical hospice services no matter one’s ability to pay.

Medicare hospice services are provided in this state by owning a Certificate of Need (CON). HNW holds the CON for San Juan County as well as Skagit, Island and Snohomish Counties.

HNW is owned by a joint venture (JV) of Skagit County Public Hospital District No. 1 and United General District No. 304.

Hospice of the Northwest is not affiliated with our local San Juan Island volunteer hospice, Hospice of the San Juan.

I learned last week of the possible sale of HNW to Bristol Hospice, a for-profit hospice that is a portfolio company of the Massachusetts-based Webster Equity Partners.

As a hospice employee, nurse and San Juan County resident, this news is very concerning. Being a for-profit organization, the quality of care will almost certainly diminish, as profit is the primary motive.

HNW has provided medical hospice services to our county for essentially a loss to them for years. HWN is committed to the communities they serve, even if it means they don’t make money.

Overall HNW has been financially viable, but not making huge profits. Currently, HNW serves about 20 to 25 patients monthly in San Juan County. It would be a potentially huge loss to our community if hospice became profit-driven rather than patient-centered care.

HNW, as a public entity, is not a for-profit driven organization. As such, they are able to provide a higher level of care since they don’t have to pay investors.

I urge you to sign this petition and write to the commissioners who are making this decision and express your concerns.

Listed below are the links to both public hospital districts that own HNW:

United General District No. 304:
Board of commissioners: https://unitedgeneral.org/about-district-304/commissioners/
Email: admin@unitedgeneral.org

PHD No. 1 Skagit County: next board meeting is 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 23. You can email your letter and ask that it be read at the board meeting.
Board of commissioners: https://www.skagitregionalhealth.org/about-us/board-of-commissioners

Email: Administration@skagitregionalhealth.org

Posted on October 23, 2020 at 5:00 am by

Categories: Letters


  1. How do we sign the petition ?

    Comment by Janet Wright on October 24, 2020 at 1:43 pm
  2. Comment by Hayley Day on October 24, 2020 at 5:42 pm
  3. Petition signed and emails sent.

    Comment by William F. House, MD on October 26, 2020 at 7:37 pm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By submitting a comment you grant the San Juan Update a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate, irrelevant and contentious comments may not be published at an admin's discretion. Your email is used for verification purposes only, it will never be shared.

Receive new post updates: Entries (RSS)
Receive followup comments updates: RSS 2.0
%d bloggers like this: