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This is Part 3 of 3. To read Part 1, click here. For Part 2, click here.  

David W. Cook began his role as President and CEO of Hosparus Health in September. His return to Louisville is a homecoming for both him and for us — he previously worked for Hosparus Health in several key operations and leadership roles.  

We sat down with David to hear why he is so passionate about Hosparus, why he believes it’s important to meet patients and families where they are, and his vision for the future. 

Why are you passionate about hospice care? 

Faith is a big part of who I am and I think we, as individuals, need to be able to do something that’s beyond just working and bringing home a paycheck. Hospice helps so many people, and it really connects with who I am as a person. It aligns with my faith, in that we’re serving people and helping them at the most critical time in their life. 

Why do you feel it’s so important to expand on hospice care to reach people further upstream? 

It’s not because we need to grow our organization, but it’s because those who need support for serious illness — the dynamics of those individuals have expanded.  

When we started hospice care, we didn’t have people living for long periods of time with serious illness. Advances in healthcare have allowed us to live with conditions that we previously couldn’t live with long term. And now we see people that are living with multiple chronic conditions. They need support, but they may not be medically eligible for hospice or even ready for that kind of care. So, how do we help those individuals?  

We also see more people that need basic medical care in the home. People aren’t able to get to doctor’s appointments. They’re not able to get to the care that they need. How do we become an organization that continues to do what we’ve always done? And that is meet the needs of patients and families in a community setting where care is often delivered the best. 

Talk about the importance of our care providers, especially over the course of this pandemic. 

There is no Hosparus without our care providers, and the last 18 months in this pandemic have been the most challenging for our staff in the field. I saw a video that demonstrates how our staff put on the protective equipment, the N-95 masks, the shields, the gowns — how they prepare to provide care in a safe manner to patients and families. And then you remember that they’re doing this in 95-degree weather with the Ohio Valley humidity, and what a struggle it is for them to wear this mask all day. As leadership, we’ve got to continue to figure out how to support these compassionate, wonderful people in our organization who are now challenged even more to deliver quality care in our community. 

We recently launched Pallitus Health Partners to set our palliative care services apart from hospice. What’s the value in having that separate brand? 

Many people are facing serious illness. Not all of those people are medically eligible for hospice services, or they may not be ready for hospice services. How do we as a community support those individuals who are dealing with challenging health conditions? That’s where palliative care comes in. Our palliative care services can be an extra layer of support for those individuals.  

With Pallitus Health Partners, patients can have the support of someone who can come into their home and understand what their unique situation is. Someone who has more than the traditional seven to 15 minutes that a primary care physician might have to talk about what it means to have COPD. How do I live my best life with that disease? Sometimes that’s a conversation that takes time. Having a provider who understands that, and can come to patients in a setting that feels comfortable, that makes a world of difference in the quality of life for those individuals. 

What does the future look like for hospice and palliative care?  

In trying to prepare for the future, we have to make sure that as healthcare is changing, that we’re meeting the needs of our community and that we’re relevant.  

It’s a really interesting time because there’s a lot that’s changing in how care is delivered and how it’s compensated. We’re starting to see where things used to be paid in a fee-for-service world. Now it’s much more structured based on value. What’s interesting about the way that value-based care is structured, is that it falls right in line with what hospice has been providing for years.  

The triple aim is better quality of care, a better experience for the patient and family and lower costs. That’s what we’ve done for years. We already understand this triple aim and how to provide better care at lower costs. How do we take that into the broader space of serious illness and deliver for our community in those areas as well?  

I think that will really drive how we move in the future, and you can expect to see Hosparus Health finding ways to meet those challenges. 

 Thank you, David, for sharing your expertise and vision. We can’t wait to see Hosparus Health’s exciting future unfold under your leadership! 

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