DURHAM, N.C. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) has announced it is giving more than $1.2 million to Transitions Kids, a division of Transitions LifeCare. The funding will allow Transitions LifeCare to serve more children with life-threatening illnesses, by expanding critical pediatric home hospice and palliative services often only found in hospital settings. The funding will also provide needed medical and support staff services.
Transitions Kids is the only home hospice and palliative program for children in the greater Triangle area. The program improves the quality of life and supports the unique needs of children with life-threatening illnesses. Additionally, it supports families often facing negative health effects of stress as they care for a terminally ill child. For these families, providing care in a home setting can lessen the emotional and financial strain during an extremely difficult time.
“One of the impacts of investing in pediatric hospice and palliative services is that it helps ease the burden on families during this devastating time and allows children to be comfortable at home,” said Rahul Rajkumar, MD, Blue Cross NC Chief Medical Officer. “Blue Cross NC and the unique services of Transitions LifeCare can help make a major impact on pediatric service care and the benefits it provides to families in the region.”
With additional funding from Blue Cross NC, Transitions Kids will be able to expand to Orange, Franklin, Chatham and Harnett counties, more than doubling the Triangle counties in its service area. Previously, service was limited to Wake, Durham and Johnson.
Serving those in poverty at the end of life, especially coming from rural area locations, is one of the greatest needs the agency faces. Based on a study by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Service Administration, and the North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management, the greater Triangle area has 60 children in need of this type of care daily.
“Transitions LifeCare is extremely grateful to Blue Cross NC for its commitment, compassion and investment in sustaining and expanding access to pediatric palliative care and hospice care in North Carolina.” Said John Thoma, CEO of Transitions LifeCare. “With funding from Blue Cross NC, the Transitions Kids team of professionals can fill a gap in services for children with a serious illness by bringing pediatric medical care and family support into the home.”
The funding will also allow Transitions LifeCare to hire additional nursing staff to provide direct care to patients. This is expected to increase the number of children served from 39 to 60 by 2020, with additional increases of 10 to 20 percent each year.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina improves the health and well-being of our customers and communities by providing innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.9 million members, including approximately 1.1 million served on behalf of other Blue Plans. Since 1933, we have worked to make North Carolina a better place to live through our support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross online at bluecrossnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.
About Transitions LifeCare:
Transitions LifeCare, a nonprofit organization, was founded in 1979 to care for individuals and families with compassion, support, and expertise as they navigate the end of life or life-changing illness. We believe every individual deserves the quality of life he or she wants when facing a serious illness. Transitions LifeCare offers a variety of expert care and support services in eight counties in the Triangle region ensuring that individuals receive the right care at the right time in the right setting. Services include Hospice, Palliative Care, Home Health, Transitions Kids, Caregiver Support and Grief Care.
 Transitions LifeCare, Keystone Planning Group and N.C. Division of Public Health—Women’s and Children’s Health Section. (2017) Child Death Rates per 100,000 by Age Cohort (study).