Hospice Satilla, a community treasure since 1986, has affiliated with Alivia Care of Georgia, a like-minded non-profit organization committed to supporting and sustaining community-based mission-driven hospices throughout Georgia.
The Hospice Satilla board of directors and executive leadership began exploring a possible affiliation with Alivia Care, Inc.’s leaders in 2020. Rai B. Duane, President of the Board of Directors and former Executive Director of Hospice Satilla, said, “although Hospice Satilla is a strong, well-run hospice organization with quality-rated care and amazing community support, the board recognized changes were coming that would pose significant challenges for community-based hospices like ours. Affiliating with a larger organization to share resources and access additional support was essential to ensuring the long-term success of our community treasure.” On January 15, 2021, Hospice Satilla became the second affiliate of Alivia Care of Georgia after Hospice of the Golden Isles’ recent affiliation September 1, 2020.
Alivia Care of Georgia is led by Susan Ponder-Stansel, who is also President and Chief Executive Officer of Alivia Care, Inc. and has been a leader and advocate for non-profit hospice care for over 35 years. “When I became involved in hospice in 1985, there were only a handful of for-profit hospices in the United States. Now, over 76% of hospices are for-profit and see hospice as solely a business opportunity instead of a mission-driven service committed to serving the community. These for-profit hospices' business practices pose a real and substantial threat to insurance. We founded Alivia Care of Georgia to create an organization where high-quality non-profit hospices could join forces to share resources and work together to compete with their for-profit counterparts. We are so pleased to be able to work with Hospice of the Golden Isles and Hospice Satilla to develop Alivia Care of Georgia to support more people in more places as they face end-of-life care decisions.”
Rai B. Duane will join The Reverend Tom Purdy, President of the Hospice of the Golden Isles Board of Directors, as one of the founding members of Alivia Care of Georgia’s Board. As Hospice Satilla’s former Executive Director, longstanding Board Member, and current President of the Hospice Satilla Board of Directors, her experience will help Alivia Care of Georgia develop its plans and strategy. “Locally-focused community-based hospices make a substantial contribution to the quality of life for the communities they serve,” says Ponder-Stansel. “Preserving and strengthening organizations driven by a common mission and commitment is the most important work we can do now.”
Alivia Care of Georgia was born out of a “stronger together” approach as for-profits continue to set up shop in Georgia. For instance, Humana, a national health plan, has created a separate division to purchase for-profit hospice providers throughout Georgia and the U.S. This gives Humana access to contracts and buying power that increases their profit margin but shuts out quality-driven, community-based, not-for-profit hospice providers from caring for the people of their own communities. Hospice Satilla and Hospice of the Golden Isles are stronger together in this ever-changing healthcare landscape, which now includes competing against multi-billion-dollar organizations.
“Stronger together means supporting, not changing, the mission of our community treasure,” says Debra Golden, Hospice Satilla’s Executive Director. “Our mission has always been and will always be to help people live as fully and comfortably as possible when facing the end of their life, even when they can’t afford to pay us. For us, it has never been about being the biggest hospice provider. It has always been about caring for our friends, family, and neighbors by helping them live well. Through our affiliation with Alivia Care of Georgia, and in partnership with our sister agency, Hospice of the Golden Isles, we will continue to help our community live well for many, many years to come.”