By Geena Martinez
ODESSA - A surprising announcement that's affecting families across the Basin. The Hospice House of Odessa is closings their doors for good.
They've been around for the last 14 years helping terminally ill patients who are close to the end of life. Unfortunately, the facility's time in Odessa is coming to an end.
"I had to close my eyes and take a breath but it was such a shock," Chaplain, Jimmy Braswell, said.
Home Hospice, the company that runs the Hospice House, said stricter guidelines from Medicare is the reason behind the decision.
"Before people could say I really would like my loved one to come to the Hospice House," Karen Carter, Community Relations Director of Hospice House, said. "Now the Medicare guidelines said that person has to have something that requires a medical intervention."
Hospice House has already lost almost a million dollars over the years. We're told the new government restrictions would only add to this.
Carter said it's a big loss for the area.
"It has been, since it began, the Permian Basin's only free standing in-patient facility," Carter said. "We serve 20 counties so there's a lot of communities who are going to be affected by this decision."
Carter said nothing will change for the patients still at the house.
"Existing patients and families who are receiving services, we will continue to meet their needs as required," Carter said.
As for the employees, Carter said many could be re-positioned as nurses in field offices around the Basin but it's still too early to tell.
Although the house is closing their doors, the company said the community doesn't need to worry about their other services.
"Home Hospice isn't going anywhere," Carter said. "We are still able to provide that excellent gold-standard care within your home, wherever that might be."
For now, the folks at the Hospice House said they're overwhelmed by the support.
"Oh I'm gonna miss it," Braswell said. "I'm gonna miss it a great deal."
"We get so many people that thank us but it's really such a privilege and honor for us to be a part of their worlds," Carter said. "We just need to say thanks."