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CEO Responsibilities in a Hospice

by Debra Kraft

CEOs focus on strategy and work to both develop and promote the value of their organizations. When a CEO's organization provides hospice services, that value involves more than financial gains. Particular attention must be given to ensuring the well-being of the people in the hospice's care. Hospice organizations provide end-of-life care and counseling services to patients and their families.

Leadership

As with other organization types, CEOs of hospice centers establish business strategies that provide for growth and sustainability. One thing that sets a hospice CEO apart from chief officers in other industry verticals is the importance of compassion in the services provided. This CEO must both lead by example and reflect a positive, compassionate brand image for his organization. The hospice CEO must ensure his organization provides a high level of quality and compassion to meet the physical and emotional needs of patients and their families.

Staff Appointments

All CEOs are responsible for developing organizational structures that match the needs of the services provided to customers. In a hospice, this involves hiring a leadership team responsible for the daily operation of medical care, home health aides and social services as well as general business operations. Business operational leaders reporting to the CEO represent finance, legal, information technology and human resources. The CEO provides direction for department heads and represents the entire organization when reporting to the board of directors.

Quality Performance

The hospice CEO reviews performance reports that identify the quality of the services provided. One key quality performance indicator from the patient's perspective is referred to as comfortable dying. This measure tracks patient responses regarding pain management. Performance indicators also address family evaluations. Other measures rate areas such as patient safety, availability of after-hours communication and family education programs. The CEO is ultimately responsible for the organization's performance and must prompt action if measures show decreasing or unacceptable performance trends.

Compliance

Performance indicators also help the hospice CEO to recognize the organization's level of compliance to state and federal regulations, such as those pertaining to Medicare. One measure of compliance involves regulatory inspections, which the hospice must pass in order to stay in operation. It is the responsibility of the CEO to guide a hospice organization to meet all standards and requirements to maintain operational integrity while upholding the values of care for families.

About the Author

A careers content writer, Debra Kraft is a former English teacher whose 25-plus year corporate career includes training and mentoring. She holds a senior management position with a global automotive supplier and is a senior member of the American Society for Quality. Her areas of expertise include quality auditing, corporate compliance, Lean, ERP and IT business analysis.

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