LAVNS Re-evaluates Los Alamos Hospice Facility

Rendering of the The Sanctuary at Canyon’s Edge. Courtesy/LAVNS


After more than three years of actively planning to build an inpatient hospice facility in Los Alamos, the Board of Directors of Los Alamos Visiting Nurse Service (LAVNS), a non-profit organization, has decided not to move forward with The Sanctuary at Canyon’s Edge. 

For over 42 years, LAVNS has delivered the highest quality home health care and hospice services in Los Alamos and northern New Mexico.

The Board cites three major factors in the decision to stop the project:

  • Declining and unpredictable Medicare reimbursement has significantly altered the anticipated revenue. The impact of the Affordable Care Act, federally mandated sequestration, and Medicare’s proposed drastic change in reimbursement rate for hospice patients (effective 2016) will jeopardize the non-profit agency’s ability to cover operational costs after the project is built; 
  • Increasing costs, staffing, and escalating Medicare-required compliance reporting makes the project an unacceptable risk. The initial project assessment predicted The Sanctuary would be self-sustaining, without burdening the financial resources of LAVNS. The Board now feels this is no longer feasible; and 
  • Fundraising challenges are greater than anticipated. Many generous donors have contributed to the capital campaign for The Sanctuary. With the revised projections of income and costs, however, the Board has concluded the project will need substantial and continuous donor support in order to remain operational. The Board feels it would be fiscally irresponsible in proceeding with construction at this time unless it is certain the project can be self-sustaining once construction is complete.

“LAVNS has an impeccable record of quality service and Medicare compliance,” Board President Lynn Finnegan said. “Our primary goal is to be responsive to our patients, our referring physicians, and to our staff, all of whom expect a continued tradition of integrity, cost efficiency, and the very best health care services. We believe the only course of action at this time is to end the project. This has been an extremely difficult decision for the Board, but it is the right one for our organization.”

LAVNS continues to believe the need for an inpatient hospice facility in our community is as strong as it was when The Sanctuary project started. As board member Tammy Thorn stated at the beginning of the project, “There is no doubt we need a hospice house in Los Alamos; we live in an aging community and the closest dedicated inpatient hospice unit is in Albuquerque!”

A letter has been mailed to all donors for The Sanctuary project. The Board wishes to emphasize that providing the best means of quality home health and end-of-life care will always be the priority of LAVNS.

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