By Todd Cohen
ASHEBORO, N.C. — When Rhonda Burch became its president and CEO seven years ago, Hospice of Randolph County was serving 70 hospice and home-health patients a day.
Today, Hospice serves 120 patients a day.
To help cope with that growth, Hospice plans to build a $3 million facility that will house 10 beds for patients.
Hospice also has kicked off the public phase of a campaign to raise $1.55 million to help pay for the facility, which the organization also will fund through reserves and by borrowing funds.
Construction of the 10,000-square-foot facility, to be located on the Hospice campus at 416 Vision Drive in Asheboro, is scheduled to begin in late spring or early summer of 2008 and take about one year.
With NASCAR legend Richard Petty and his wife, Lynda, serving as honorary co-chairs, lawyer Bob Mason of Mason Law serving as general chair, and Winston-Salem consulting firm Whitney Jones Inc. serving as campaign counsel, the campaign already has raised $1.1 million in its quiet phase.
That total includes a gift of $250,000 from the Edward M. Armfield Foundation in Greensboro.
In addition to 10 private rooms with private baths, the facility will include a meditation area, common family kitchen and gathering area, formal dining area, children’s area, porches, and a garden.
The facility will be the first residential hospice facility in Randolph County, Burch says.
Formed in 1983, Hospice of Randolph County operates with an annual budget of $3.5 million, admits 350 new patients a year, and provides grief-support services for another 325 families.
Reimbursements from Medicare cover 80 percent to 85 percent of the organization’s operating costs, with the remainder covered by reimbursements from Medicaid and private insurance, and by donations and revenue from fundraising.
Last year, Hospice generated $250,000 from special events, memorial contributions made in the name of someone who had died, and other donations.
The organization benefits from three events it sponsors during the year.
In October, for example, it netted roughly $40,000 form a barbeque and auction at Southwest Randolph High School, marking the 22nd year it had held the auction.
From Nov. 17 through Dec. 2, at the Asheboro Randolph Public Library, Hospice held its fifth annual “Festival of Trees ‘ and expected to net $25,000 to support its children’s programs and services, for most of which it does not receive reimbursement income.
And in June, Hospice netted $15,000 from its first “Garden Gala” which included tours of five different gardens and an auction at Pinewood Country Club.
Running the new residential facility likely will add at least $1 million to Hospice’s annual operating budget, Burch says.
“We need to get to the point where the addition of the hospice facility sustains itself,” she says.
The capital campaign is the third for Hospice, which raised $1.2 million in the late 1980s and early 90s for its current 15,000-square-foot facility that consists of an education building and office building, and another $1 million five years later for programs and to complete payment for its current facility.
Burch says demand for Hospice services is growing as a result of the aging population, and greater awareness of the availability of hospice care on the part of patients and physicians.
While many people still associate hospice care with cancer, Burch says, cancer patients represent only 40 percent of the patients at Hospice of Randolph County, and a growing number of its patients have a variety of other illnesses such as heart disease, lung diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Deaths in Randolph County total 1,100 to 1,200 a year, Burch says.
“As the population ages,” she says, “that will increase.”