Falls Church, VA – July 14 — While advanced illness/ hospice care has been available in the United States since the 1970s, providing specialized medical and psychosocial support to those with a life-limiting illness, it remains a care option significantly underutilized by key minority groups.
A recent study of hospice utilization by race revealed that 83% of hospice patients in the United States are Caucasians, while African Americans represent only 8%, followed by Hispanics at 6.4%, Asians at 2% and Native Americans at .05%.
The study also revealed that nearly 60% of the LGBTQ community have concerns about health care providers not being sensitive to their needs.
Capital Caring Health, (CCH) one of the oldest and largest nonprofit providers of advanced illness, home and hospice care serving 2,500 patients each day throughout the Washington DC metropolitan area, is taking steps to address the huge disparity among minorities with the establishment of The Center for Health Equity.
President and CEO of Capital Caring Health Tom Koutsoumpas, a preeminent advocate of advanced illness and hospice legislation for all Americans shared, “Capital Caring Health was founded on the premise that we care for every soul in our community – we honor the diversity represented across all communities; and we treat everyone equitably – with respect and compassion. “The new [Center] will further OUR organization’s mission, strategies, and practices to support a diverse workplace and leverage the effects of diversity to achieve a more equitable business environment and enhance the communities we serve.”
The new Center will be led by two key staff members, Keith Everett, Chief Officer of Performance, Cultural Operations, and Compliance, and Altonia Garrett, Vice President, Public Affairs and Strategic Partnerships who will serve as Executive Director of the Center.
In announcing the new Center, Koutsoumpas reinforced, “We are judged by how we treat the most vulnerable members of our community, and that includes all those facing a life-limiting illness, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religion, diagnosis or medical condition, veteran status, ancestry, marital status, occupation, pregnancy, citizenship, or political affiliation.”
Capital Caring Health more recently added Primary Care at Home, a special service designed to provide elder patients, aged 65+ who are home-limited with primary and urgent care in their homes. “Our E, I & D efforts will also focus on serving more minority elders, not yet ready for end-of-life care but in need of regular medical care to remain independent in their homes,” added Koutsoumpas.
Goals for new Center include:
- Developing integrative approaches and programs for the diverse populations served
- Addressing the health equality, equity, and disparities of care being delivered in CCH’s service area
- Attracting and leveraging diverse staff to increase engagement to make CCH the best place to work in healthcare
In accepting the new appointment to lead the Center, Keith Everett commented, “Altonia and I are truly humbled and honored to lead the strategic work of the [Center]. The hardest part is recognizing that there is a need and then making a commitment to change.”
Altonia Garrett shared, “Our outreach to communities across the DMV can have a huge impact on the knowledge of and access to our critical care services that for too long have been invisible to many minority families. I am proud to be the Executive Director of this new and vitally important initiative.”
In conclusion, Tom Koutsoumpas said, “Thanks to Keith and Altonia we are bringing, through this Center, a level of commitment and action to expand our diversity efforts at CCH and into every neighborhood in our service area. We can also serve as an example for other Hospice/Advanced Illness care providers and other medical institutions across the nation.”
About Capital Caring Health
Capital Caring Health is one of the leading nonprofit providers of elder health, hospice, and advanced illness care for persons of all ages in the mid-Atlantic region. A member of a national network of 70 nonprofit hospice providers, our mission is to provide patients and their families with advanced illness care that is second to none. We also have special hospice teams serving children and veterans. On an annual basis we serve over 7,000 hospice patients and provide more than $3 million in charity care to those who are uninsured and have nowhere else to turn. Almost 90 cents out of every dollar goes to caring for patients and their families. Our website, capitalcaring.org, is available in English, Spanish, and Korean plus offers 24/7 Live Chat. Since the beginning of hospice care over 40 years ago, we have served 120,000 patients and their families in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
24-Hour Care Line: (800) 869-2136
Contact: Nancy Cook, 703-447-4480