Government Aid Cut to Hospice of Wichita Falls' Budget

Hospice of Wichita Falls is wrapping up one of its biggest annual campaigns to collect private donations to keep the organization going another year. They say this year, those donations are more important than ever with cuts in government funding hitting them hard.

The final push for Hospice of Wichita Falls to collect the $200,000 goal is their annual Tree of Lights campaign.

“This year we needed to light 1,943 lights this morning which is a little over $19,000,” said Alisa Echols, Hospice's Executive Director.

She says this year the private donations must play a bigger role to fund their operations.

“We have been decreased through Medicare reimbursement by five or six percent. So looking at our budget next year that will affect us between $800,000 and $1 million dollars,” said Echols.

She says in 2012 Hospice of Wichita Falls provided $430,000 worth of services to people who didn't have Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance. And this year they are close to providing $500,000 worth of services to those people.

“We know that number will keep increasing as people can't afford insurance anymore and we never want to deny someone of hospice care,” she said.

That's why she says lighting up the star on the hospice tree this month is more than fulfilling a goal, it's filling a hole in their funding sources that seems to grow bigger each year.

Officials at hospice say when planning next year's budgets they had to make substantial cuts to prepare for the close to one million dollar cut from the federal government.

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