Empath Health’s New Chief Medical Executives, HopeWest CEO Retires

Empath Health Appoints Chief Medical Officers

Florida-based Empath Health recently appointed two new chief medical officers. Dr. Carol Lee serves as the mission’s chief medical administrative officer, and Dr. Neville Sarkari is chief medical officer for the mission.

In these roles, both will be critical to the company’s clinical staff retention capabilities, according to Empath Health president Jonathan Fleiss.

“These top clinical leaders will focus on the specialized medical care we provide and retaining the best talent,” Fleiss said in a company announcement.

Empath Health is the parent company of Tidewell Hospice and Suncoast Hospice, and offers a range of other aged care services. The company provides hospice, home health care, analgesic and personal care services to more than 12,000 patients daily throughout the Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida regions.

In 2020, the company merged with Stratum Health, and earlier this year it received the green light to expand services across three additional counties in the central region of the Sunshine state.

A large number of trained staff will be essential to provide quality care in these areas.

“We pride ourselves on providing expert medical care to our patients,” said Raphael Schielo, CEO of Empath Health. “Dr. Lee and Dr. Sarkari will help ensure our continuity, but they are also working to increase this excellence while continuing to make Empath Health a major recruitment destination for physicians.”

Lee provides direction, guidance, and supervision to clinical staff, including those at Suncoast Hospice and Tidewell Hospice. Previously, she worked as Medical Director at Suncoast Hospice. In the new position, Li will be tasked with ensuring high-quality care, service and experiences for patients and their families.

Sarkari was most recently Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Tidwell Health, a member of Empath Health.

Prior to that, he held the position of Senior Vice President of Medical Services and Operations, as well as the interim Director of Operations at Hospice in Florida. Sarkari is responsible for establishing a strategic clinical orientation focused on patient and family satisfaction, as well as creating safe, high-quality patient experiences.

HopeWest CEO retires

Colorado-based HopeWest President Kristi Whitney Burchard has announced her retirement. She will be succeeded by Cassie Mitchell in the role, taking over the role this month.

HopeWest was founded by Whitney Burchard in 1993 as a nonprofit organization, serving only 83 patients and families in its first year. The 424 hospice staff and nearly 1,200 volunteers now provide hospice and palliative care to more than 2,500 patients in five counties in western Colorado.

Whitney Burchard had considered retirement before, but she was put off because the pandemic was becoming “completely eroding,” she told local news.

As with many service providers’ experiences during COVID, the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on employees and operations. During the height of the outbreak, the nursing home struggled to obtain personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies during widespread shortages and price inflation, Whitney Burchard told Hospice News.

As pandemic pressures recede, it’s time to pass the torch to Mitchell, according to Whitney Burchard.

“Casey is people-centric and community-centered, and she finds joy and fulfillment in serving others,” Whitney Burchard told Local News. “She deeply understands that HopeWest exists to serve our community, enrich lives and profoundly change the experience of aging, illness and grief. I am thrilled that such an experienced servant leader is at the helm.”

Prior to HopeWest, Mitchell worked as Chief Operating Officer for Bluegrass Care Navigators in Kentucky. She has worked in healthcare for 27 years as a certified nursing assistant and registered nurse, providing hospice care to thousands of patients and their families during that time.

Jet Health shakes up sales leadership

Get Health Inc., a Texas-based home health and aged care provider, recently announced the promotion of two sales leaders.

Misty Wade is now Vice President of Sales East, primarily overseeing operations in the provider’s home country.

Mark Jacoby is the Vice President of Sales at West, where he oversees sales for JetHealth and its subsidiaries.

Wade and Jacoby join Jet Health 2021. Founded in 2016, the company provides skilled nursing care, physical therapy, speech and occupational therapy, medical social services, aged care and personal care services in its home state, as well as through subsidiaries in Colorado, Idaho and New Mexico.

The company recently expanded its presence in the Lone Star State with the acquisition of Blessings Hospice for an undisclosed amount.

Jacobi was previously the Director of Market Development and Education. Prior to that, he served as Vice President of Business Development for Amedisys (NASDAQ:AMED) and held several other leadership roles in the healthcare industry over the past 25 years.

“My job at Jet Health brings me closer to fulfilling my passion for leading people to success by instilling confidence in them and helping them build a roadmap for overcoming challenges while helping them identify a clear path toward achieving their greatest career goals,” Jacoby said. In a joint statement with Hospice News. “My biggest challenge and success is helping underperformers leverage their efforts while leading highly productive professionals towards achieving more than they ever thought possible. I am excited to achieve these kinds of successes in my new position with Jet Health.”

Wade was most recently Vice President of Sales for the Jet Health District and has over 13 years of sales leadership experience. Previously she was the Regional Sales Director for Encompass Health (NYSE: EHC), where she oversaw sales operations and strategic growth initiatives.

“As an experienced sales leader, I believe in setting examples for others to enable them to perform beyond all expectations,” Wade said in the ad. “I am a firm believer that equipping and empowering my team will clearly demonstrate value to our stakeholders and advance leadership in the marketplace. Developing partnerships through a solutions-based approach is what will deliver successful outcomes for our company and team.”

VNA & Blue Water Hospice Appoints New Clinical Operations Vice President, Director of Operations

The Visiting Nurses Association and Blue Water Hospice have named Jessica Martin-Whiteley as the new Vice President of Clinical Operations and Head Office of Operations.

Founded in 1952, it is a Michigan-based nonprofit organization that provides a continuum of care across four counties in the state. Since its founding, the organization has expanded its service lines to include aged care, home health, and special care services such as private service, telehealth and palliative care.

Recently, renovation work began on Blue Water Hospice Home. Located in Marysville, Michigan, this facility offers 24/7 inpatient hospice care. The renovations included electrical updates, new floors, patient beds, televisions, and toilets.

Martin-Whitley has been the organization’s Hospice director since 2018. Her leadership has helped VNA & Blue Water Hospice improve patient satisfaction scores and national ratings, along with obtaining accreditations and completing regulatory surveys, the company told local news.

“We are fortunate to have her on our leadership team,” said Angela DeLaere, President and CEO of VNA and Blue Water Hospice.

New President and CEO Takes Over at Trinity Health

Michigan-based Trinity Health recently appointed Janice Hamilton-Crawford as its new president and CEO for Senior Health Communities, effective this month. This makes Hamilton Crawford the first woman of color to head a national division of the organization, the company said in an announcement.

Hamilton-Crawford will lead more than 40 independent, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, and supported senior housing communities across the country.

Trinity Health is a large, faith-based, nonprofit healthcare system with approximately 26,000 physicians and physicians providing care in 25 states. The Trinity Health system consists of 88 hospitals, 125 urgent care sites, 131 continuing care sites and a large PACE program, among other health services, including hospice care. Total annual operating revenue is $20.2 billion, having donated $1.2 billion to local communities.

The organization’s subsidiary, Trinity Health at Home, recently acquired Iowa-based Above & Beyond Home Health Care & Hospice for an undisclosed amount.

According to the latest announcement, Hamilton Crawford “has been instrumental in solidifying and building partnerships”. She joined Trinity Health in 2018 as the first female Head of Senior Communities in the New England area. She has built a regional network of assisted and independent living, skilled nursing and comfort home communities in Connecticut, Maine, and Massachusetts.

Hamilton succeeds Steve Castner, who announced his retirement last year.

“Jean has an insight into operational efficiencies and excellence without losing sight of respect for our residents, faith communities and colleagues,” Castner said in the announcement.

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