Citing budgetary concerns, Pendleton’s only hospital is ending hospice care.

In early December, St. Anthony Hospital began advertising the hospice’s Dec. 31 closure and sending out letters to patients and bereaved family members.

In a letter to the bereaved obtained by the East Oregonian, the hospital declines to provide a reason for the closure and advises patients to seek care with other nearby hospice centers.

“It’s been a great pleasure and an honor to serve you,” the letter concludes. “We wish you well.”

St. Anthony Hospital President Harry Geller said it was a tough decision to cut the end-of-life care program, but the hospital didn’t have the budget to continue that service.

In anticipation of the closure, Geller said St. Anthony has been transitioning most of the hospital hospice’s approximately 40 patients to home hospice care.

Geller said the St. Anthony hospice is no longer accepting new patients and has only four patients remaining, which the hospital will either continue to care for past the Dec. 31 deadline or transition to another hospice care facility.

Geller didn’t know how long St. Anthony had been offering hospice care, but he agreed that it had been a longtime service for the hospital.

The hospice used to be housed in a separate facility on Southeast Court Avenue, but the service was eventually consolidated into the main hospital building when St. Anthony built the new hospital in 2013.

Cason’s Place, a nonprofit grief support center, now occupies the old hospice building.

The closest facilities for end-of-life care are now Good Shepherd Hospice in Hermiston and Walla Walla Community Hospice.

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