GRANGEVILLE — “Cindy deserves a lot of credit for the growth of this very caring and efficient program,” Syringa board trustee Joe Cladouhos said at the Oct. 26 meeting.

Cladouhos spoke about social worker Cindy Higgins and the Syringa Hospice program. Higgins gave a hospice report at the beginning of the public meeting.

“Our program is tailored to meet the needs of each unique family and situation,” Higgins explained.

Hospice is a model for quality, compassionate care for people facing life-threatening illness. It provides expert medical care, pain management and emotional and spiritual support for the patient and their family. Higgins said hospice focuses on caring, not curing. The program utilizes physicians, nurses, therapists, home health aides, volunteers, spiritual counselors, social workers and bereavement counselors to provide its service.

“The support we have from the community cannot be overstated,” Higgins emphasized.

She said as the age of Idaho County’s population continues to rise, the need for hospice increases. Syringa serves a 45-minute radius area from Grangeville.

“Hospice is known to improve quality of life and also saves Medicaid dollars,” she added.

Moving forward, Higgins said she hopes the program can go to some type of electronic records to reduce duplicate charting, help track billing, be in compliance with new regulations, and help produce needed trend and statistical information.

Other areas to consider for the future, she said, would be to formalize a satellite office in Kooskia and “increase marketing efforts to match the robust marketing done by new agencies” in the region.

Syringa CEO Abner King said he has had other agencies reach out with interest in purchasing Syringa Hospice.

“That seems strange to me, as it’s not a moneymaker, but a service for our communities that breaks even,” trustee Jane Carlson commented.

“Some of these other agencies in our region also offer home health care and additional services, so it makes sense in that way,” King answered.

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