TULLAHOMA, Tenn. – The Compassus program serving Middle Tennessee was recently awarded the David Kessler Award for Outstanding Achievement in Increasing Patient Access to the Hospice Benefit. The inaugural award was presented at a national meeting of Compassus medical directors to recognize the local program for outperforming 150 other Compassus programs throughout the U.S.
The program, which was started in 1996 and serves 12 counties in Middle Tennessee, was recognized for its commitment to expanding access to and raising awareness of the availability of quality hospice care for those in the area who qualify.
“While more than one million people in the U.S. utilize hospice services every year, we know more than 40 percent of patients eligible for hospice care never access the benefit,” said Robert Nichols, M.D., associate medical director at Compassus – Middle Tennessee. “Hospice providers serve in a clinical and compassionate role that is very important yet drastically underutilized in the continuum of care, and our goal has been to expand access to superior hospice care in the communities we serve, alleviating suffering and improving quality of life for patients and their families.”
The Compassus “Triple Crown” awards were established in 2012 to highlight the programs, physicians and staff that best demonstrate the company’s commitment to delivering quality patient outcomes, increasing access to hospice services, and to physician leadership.
The David Kessler Award for Outstanding Achievement in Increasing Patient Access to the Hospice Benefit is named to honor a man who has long been a thought leader in hospice care. Kessler is an international authority on grief and a celebrated author of several books, two of which he co-wrote with Elizabeth Kuebler-Ross, M.D., who was the driving force behind the establishment of the modern hospice movement.
“As one of the largest hospice providers in the U.S., Compassus is setting a standard of excellence in raising awareness and expanding access to hospice care not only for our sister programs but for all other hospice providers throughout the country, and we are proud to be leading the charge in Middle Tennessee toward delivery of the most accessible and highest quality patient care,” said Edie Rimas, executive director of Compassus – Middle Tennessee.
Compassus took a voluntary, proactive lead in setting new quality standards for the hospice industry by launching the “Keeping the Promise” initiative in 2011, including a commitment to expanding access to high quality hospice care to those who need it.
In 2012, Compassus became the first hospice provider in the U.S. to publicly reveal patient quality data, setting the standard by which all U.S. hospice providers are measured. Compassus will continue to carry out its national quality initiative until 100 percent compliance is achieved through continuous action in the Middle Tennessee area and each of its community-based hospice programs across the U.S.