Enhabit Appoints Normal Counsel; Denver hospice will get a brand new medical director

Enhabit names general counsel

Health and hospice provider Enhabit, Inc. (NYSE-EHAB) announced that Dylan Black will join as Legal General Counsel, effective this month.

Black has over 24 years of public company legal experience. Most recently, he was a partner at Bradley, Arant, Boult, Cummings LLP, where he provided legal advice to healthcare, banking and environmental companies, among others.

“We are pleased to welcome Dylan to the Enhabit team,” said Barb Jaconsmeyer, President and CEO of Enhabit, in a statement from the company. “He has served as a trusted legal advisor to many organizations and we look forward to the leadership and contributions he will bring to Enhabit.”

Enhabit has been on a growth trajectory since it spun off from Encompass Health (NYSE:EHC) last July. The company’s more than 10,000 employees serve 105 hospices and 252 home care facilities in 34 states.

According to Jacobsmeyer, Enhabit is keeping a close eye on regulatory and reimbursement changes as part of its strategic growth plans.

The company plans to commit $50 to $100 million annually in transactions, with 60 to 70 percent going toward hospice, Jacobsmeyer previously told Hospice News. Enhabit plans to open 10 hospices de novos each year in its existing home health care markets.

Denver Hospice Appoints New Medical Director

Denver Hospice recently appointed Dr. Robert Howe was hired as his new medical director after Dr. Shirlee Turner has retired after 11 years of service with the company.

Howe is certified in hospice and palliative care and has more than 20 years of experience as a physician and medical director for various healthcare facilities in the Denver area, including a number of rehabilitation, assisted living and qualified nursing homes.

“We are very pleased, Dr. Howe to the nursing team at Denver Hospice,” interim president Tricia Ford said in an announcement. “DR. Howe is passionate about education as he leads teams of specially trained clinical staff including registered nurses, registered nurses, social workers, chaplains and board-certified nursing assistants, all of whom he believes are experts in the care of patients with advanced and are incurable diseases.”

Established in 1978, Denver Hospice serves more than 4,000 hospice and approximately 1,200 palliative care patients annually in nine Colorado counties.

Denver Hospice is an affiliate of the Care Synergy Network, a collaboration of nonprofit hospice, home health and palliative care providers in Colorado. The group is a collaborative organization that also includes Pathways Hospice, Pikes Peak Hospice and Palliative Care and The Colorado Visiting Nurse Association. Providers in Care Synergy share best practices and generate cost-sharing efficiencies in strategic collaboration.

The new CMO of Valley Medical Group

Valley Medical Group (VMG) has appointed Dr. Puneeta Sharma appointed as their new Chief Medical Officer.

VMG is one of three entities that make up the Valley Health System, which provides care in the communities of southern New York and northern New Jersey. Valley Hospital and Valley Home Care are also part of the healthcare system.

Valley Health System’s services include, but are not limited to, inpatient and outpatient programs, as well as home care services such as hospices, palliative care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation therapy.

Sharma first joined VMG in 2017 as Director of Palliative Care before becoming Chair of Medical Specialties in 2019, where she oversaw areas such as Pulmonary Critical Care and Rheumatology, among others.

“In just a few years, Dr. Sharma made an important and lasting impact on Valley Medical Group, and we are pleased to appoint her as our new chief medical officer,” said Julie Karcher, senior vice president of Valley Health System and Valley Medical Group in a press release. “Some of the new clinical services that Dr. Sharma has helped implement in recent years include a new behavioral health program, an outpatient physical medicine and rehabilitation program, and the Care After COVID-19 program. She has also led efforts to introduce key performance metrics that allow us to compare ourselves to industry best practices.”

Agrace expands medical team

Wisconsin-based Agrace Hospice & Supportive Care has hired a new hospice and palliative care physician, Dr. Raj Hiranandani, who is expanding his medical services team amid growth.

Hiranandani joins Agrace’s interdisciplinary team to help coordinate end-of-life care for hospice patients and their families across the service region of southern Wisconsin. Before joining Agrace, he was a Physician of Internal Medicine and Medical Director of a hospice in the Marshfield Clinic Health System.

Hiranandani received his medical degree from St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada, West Indies. He completed his Hospice and Palliative Care Fellowship at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, DC. He also completed a second fellowship in contemplative medicine at New York’s Zen Center for Contemplative Care.

“Dr. Hiranandani brings a wealth of knowledge and experience helping patients at the end of life,” said Patricia Neuman, Agrace’s vice president of medical services, in an announcement appreciated by Agrace medical service teams.”

Agrace employs approximately 9,000 people providing hospice, palliative care, personal care, day care and memorial care services to nearly 1,500 patients daily in 19 states.

According to Agrace CEO Lynne Sexten, the nonprofit’s census grew 20% in the last half of 2022 alone. The hospice has focused on recruiting and retaining staff in the face of growing demand for care.

Agrace recently integrated a three-pronged human resources initiative that included increases in employee compensation, bonuses and expanded healthcare benefits. These investments are aimed at long-term retention and sustainability of services for patients, Sexten said.

“We have this double whammy of a tight job market, but we’re also growing incredibly. We’ve had to recruit people in numbers we never thought we’d need to handle this growth,” Sexten previously told Hospice News. “We want to make sure we do everything we can to reward and treat them well with a good working life and better financial balance.”

ALC Hospice Care appoints COO

Illinois-based ALC Hospice Care recently appointed Cinthia Nieves as Chief Operating Officer and Human Resources Director.

Nieves has been with the company since 2008 when she was introduced to ALC Home Health Care founder, Anthony Siciliano. Her responsibilities ranged from regulatory compliance, operational performance, financial planning and marketing, among others.

“It was a smaller organization [Siciliano] planned to grow. He was looking for someone in HR, something I was comfortable with,” Nieves said in an announcement.

Siciliano founded the hospice and home health company in 2006, which has since grown to provide basic home care. ALC is a subsidiary of Assistenza Healthcare Management.

“We’ve grown tremendously and Tony has continued to give me opportunities to grow within the organization,” said Nieves. “Tony [recently] asked if I could do what I do best and bring my management skills to ALC Hospice Care. I accepted the challenge. Some of this was known based on home health, but a lot was very different so there was a bit of a learning curve.”

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