In pursuit of Medicare – The Martha’s Vineyard Times


As a smooth jazz piano played under a brilliant and gusty Monday evening at Farm Neck Golf Club, Hospice & Palliative Care of Martha’s Vineyard hosted its forty first annual Summer Soiree. The soiree is the hospice’s biggest fundraising event of the 12 months, featuring various kinds of auctions alongside hors d’oeuvres and drinks for the guests. 

“We raised near $260,000, and yes, we’ve surpassed every 12 months prior to this one,” Sheri Lamoreaux, director of development and communications for Hospice, told The Times in an email.  

In line with executive director Cathy Wozniak, a significant factor for this 12 months’s soiree was raising funds to have Hospice grow to be Medicare-certified. “We’ve been working to grow to be Medicare-certified for 2 years now,” she said. Currently, Hospice is waiting for the Medicare surveyors to return to examine it, which happens unannounced and might occur on “any day.”

Medicare is medical health insurance offered by the federal government for people age 65 or older, younger individuals with disabilities, and folks with end-stage renal disease, in accordance with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Wozniak said becoming Medicare-certified will allow Hospice to “service anybody on the Island,” particularly older adults. 

“I believe the vital thing the general public must know is that it doesn’t cover all the things, and it was an enormous investment of our organization to even get up to now,” Wozniak said. Hospice also provides palliative care and community bereavement services. “Some of these fundraisers — we’ve got several every 12 months, this just being our largest one — ties into our mission and what we wish to do to supply the very best quality of services and enhanced services to the general public.” 

Wozniak said becoming Medicare-certified will allow for increased care, comparable to providing oxygen, therapies, and acquiring latest equipment. Moreover, Medicare covers “so many more things” once a healthcare provider is certified. 

“I’m not going to say we didn’t take care of a few of them,” Wozniak said. “Most of the people 65 and older needed to go off-Island, or they couldn’t get the service they needed on the Island.”

Wozniak said some people could cover certain care through other types of insurance, however the hospice desired to be sure older people could get the assistance they needed on the Island. 

The means of becoming Medicare-certified has been difficult, Wozniak told The Times. Prior to now, this was a barrier to pursuing certification. Nonetheless, Wozniak said the percentage of older adults on the Island has grown and can increase, which the hospice recognized as a proven fact that couldn’t be ignored. 

“It’s taken an enormous investment in infrastructure, staffing, consultants to fulfill the 400-plus regulations,” Wozniak said. “It’s been a two-year endeavor.” 

In the long run, Wozniak said there’s a possibility for Hospice to pursue Medicaid certification as well, a government medical health insurance program managed by the state. Nonetheless, Medicare certification is required for this. 

Fundraisers just like the summer soiree are “crucial to our livelihood,” not only for Medicare certification, in accordance with Wozniak. The hospice is “completely depending on the generosity of donors to run this organization,” in accordance with Lamoreaux. 

“It’s wonderful that a whole lot of people who are listed here are obsessed with our mission, and need to proceed to support us 12 months after 12 months,” Wozniak said. 


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