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Hospice provider Agrace to offer home care

Hospice provider Agrace to offer home care

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Donna and Natalie walking down hallway (copy)

Agrace, a Fitchburg-based provider of hospice care, is starting a home care service next month. Proceeds from Age at Home will help support other services at Agrace, including Agrace Grief Support Center, which Donna Tollefson and her granddaughter, Natalie Evanson, explored before it opened last year. Tollefson's daughter and Natalie's mother, Crystal Evanson, who often went by "Krystal," died in March 2017 from a heroin overdose.

Agrace, a Fitchburg-based nonprofit that provides hospice care, is launching a home care service, in part to offset what it says are declining Medicare payments for hospice care.

Agrace will start Age at Home — which offers housekeeping, transportation and assistance with toileting and grooming, among other services — on Sept. 4.

Clients will mostly pay out of pocket for the service, though some might use long-term care insurance, said Julie Houck, chief administrative officer at Agrace. It is not covered by health insurance, including Medicare.

Houck declined to say what the fee is for home care.

Agrace is the first hospice provider in Dane County to offer home care, which is sometimes called personal care, senior care or companion care, Houck said. It is different from home health care, which is a medical service.

Around the country, other providers of hospice care — supportive care near the end of life — have started home care programs, Houck said. The proceeds can supplement shortfalls from declining Medicare reimbursements for hospice care, she said.

At Agrace, earnings from Age at Home are expected to support hospice care, palliative care and the Agrace Grief Support Center, which opened last year.


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