CMH Ends Home Health Service

ASTORIA, Ore. – After nearly 25 years of serving Clatsop County residents, Columbia Memorial Hospital’s (CMH) Home Health program will close.

“This has been an extremely difficult decision,” said Erik Thorsen, chief executive officer at CMH. “Over the past few years, CMH has been growing and adding new services. To close a program during this time is especially difficult.”

Reimbursements for home health services have been decreasing over the past few years, while the operating costs and regulatory pressures continue to increase. Thorsen said, “CMH has explored all options to keep this program open, however, the necessary reduction in costs to keep the program financially viable would significantly jeopardize the overall quality of the service.”

The Home Health program will cease operations on April 30, 2016. CMH will continue to provide care over the next few weeks for all patients currently receiving home health services, until they are appropriately discharged or transitioned to another home healthcare provider.

Currently, the only other home health provider for Clatsop County residents is Providence Home Health Services, located in Seaside. CMH will be working closely with Providence Home Health Services during this transition.

Official notices of the closure were mailed to referring providers on March 16. Case managers began notifying patients on March 17.

Many of the CMH employees impacted by the Home Health closure will continue to work with Lower Columbia Hospice, a CMH affiliate. Thorsen said, “Due to the on-going growth of CMH the potential loss of jobs due to the Home Health closure will be minimal. We are doing our best to find positions within other CMH departments for all the impacted CMH employees.”

CMH will continue to operate Lower Columbia Hospice and hopes to expand hospice services in the county.