News

Community Hospice Announces Resignation of President/CEO C.DeSha McLeod

September 30, 2021

For Immediate Release
Contacts: Kristin Mostowski, Director of Public Relations | Community Hospice | Kristin.Mostowski@hospiceheart.org | 209.578.6301

Community Hospice Announces Resignation of President/CEO C. DeSha McLeod

Modesto, CA (September 29, 2021) – The Community Hospice, Inc. Board of Directors announced the resignation of Ms. C. DeSha McLeod as President/CEO effective Friday, September 24, 2021.

Ms. McLeod has made the difficult decision to pursue a new opportunity out of state which allows her to be closer to her family. She shared, “It has been an honor to serve as the leader of Community Hospice and its affiliates these past years. I am truly grateful for my time and the opportunity to work with the amazing staff, volunteers and Boards in service to our community. I am most proud of Community Hospice being awarded one of the Best Places to Work in the Central Valley for four consecutive years.”

She joined Community Hospice in 2013 and during her eight-year tenure Ms. McLeod guided her staff to successfully develop, expand and implement the following:

  • Community Care Choices, a palliative care program focused on enhancing quality of life for individuals facing a serious illness.
  • Expansion of specialized Pediatric Care Programs, offering hospice and palliative care services to children and families in our community.
  • Camp Erin® of the Central Valley, a grief camp for children and teens ages 6-17 who have experienced the loss of someone close.
  • Hope Counseling, therapeutic support for individuals with family, mental health and behavioral issues.
  • Expansion of Retail Operations opening Hope Chest Thrift Store locations in Stockton and Turlock.
  • Electronic Medical Record (EMR) software, communication platforms and other technologicalefficiencies.

“On behalf of the members of the Community Hospice Board, we share our gratitude for DeSha’s invaluable contribution and dedication to the mission of the organization,” said Mrs. Susan Donker, Community Hospice Board Chair. “We support her decision and wish her the very best in all of her future endeavors.”

Mr. John Renner, Director of Operations has been named Interim President/CEO effective immediately. Mr. Renner has been employed with Community Hospice for more than 18 years and serves as a member of the Senior Leadership team.

“The Board has complete confidence in John as the Interim President/CEO,” added Mrs. Donker. “Along with John’s dedication and years of service at Community Hospice he has proven sound judgement, outstanding performance and compassion for the mission.”

The Board has appointed a selection committee to spearhead the recruitment of a new President/CEO.

About Community Hospice
Community Hospice is the oldest and largest nonprofit hospice agency in the Central Valley. Serving the community since 1979, Community Hospice has cared for thousands of friends and neighbors, embracing individuals and families facing life-changing journeys, enhancing quality of life for all. Care extends to more than 2,000 patients each year in private homes, skilled nursing facilities, retirement communities and at the 16-bed inpatient Alexander Cohen Hospice House. Community Hospice also provides bereavement and grief support to anyone in the community. For more information, call 209.578.6300 or visit hospiceheart.org.
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Nutritional-Based Coaching Improves Health Outcomes for Elderly Palliative Care Patients

August 26, 2021

For Immediate Release
Contact: Kristin Mostowski, Director of Public Relations | Community Hospice | Kristin.Mostowski@hospiceheart.org | 209.578.6301

 Nutritional-Based Coaching Improves Health Outcomes for Elderly Palliative Care Patients

Modesto, CA (August 26, 2021) – Community Hospice Inc. (CHI) serving the Central Valley since 1979 is pleased to announce that Covenant Ministries of Benevolence has granted them an award of more than $85,000 to conduct a research study. The study focuses on providing elderly community-based palliative care patients who reside in one of 19 zip code areas in and around Southern Stanislaus County with specialized support.

A Nutrition Coach will meet with the Trial Group regularly to assess and track medical data on participants over a six (6) month period. During the six months the Nutrition Coach will educate and encourage participants to lead a healthy lifestyle. Participants will choose $100 of food and beverage items from a “Healthy” shopping list monthly to ensure they have access to nutrient rich foods. The hypothesis of the research project is: “Nutritional-Based Coaching Improves Health Outcomes for Elderly Palliative Care Patients.”

Individual metrics will be collected monthly from the Trial Group participants to identify trends, if any, in their health. Metrics include the following:

  • Food Patterns
  • Weight Loss/Gain
  • Mobility
  • Emotional Well-being
  • Blood Pressure
  • BMI

The Control Group of the study will also be community-based palliative patients aged sixty or older living in Southern Stanislaus County. They will participate in an initial assessment and complete a survey tool at the beginning and end of the six (6) month period. The Control Group will also be provided a personalized healthy Meal Plan.

To participate in the study, one must be enrolled and receiving care through our Community Care Choices Community-based Palliative Care Program. To qualify for palliative care services, a person must be diagnosed with a serious illness. Diagnosis ranges from cancer, heart disease, pulmonary disease, infectious disease, or have reoccurring health challenges. Care is provided in a patient’s house, apartment, skilled nursing facility or wherever they call home.

Promoting healthy dietary habits for the elderly is exponentially important for several reasons. Nutrition impacts health in several ways:

  • Organ function of the eyes, kidneys, liver and digestive tract
  • Brain function impacting memory and cognitive ability
  • Managing chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and dementia
  • Strengthening the immune system that promotes proper healing
  • Muscle and bone health to prevent fractures and falls, maintaining mobility, strength, flexibility and posture.

Community Hospice proposes that providing regular nutritional interventions by a Nutrition Coach over the course of six months will make a positive difference in overall health and quality of life of the Trial Group patients. Outcomes from this research study will be used to assist in creating a voice to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to develop access and reimbursement for palliative programs across our country. Currently, national regulations, standards or reimbursement do not exist for palliative care services. Community Hospice is dedicated to being a catalyst to raise awareness of the need for palliative care, including nutritional counseling.

DeSha McLeod, Community Hospice Chief Executive Officer/President currently serves on the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) Palliative Care Council that makes recommendations to CMS on proposed demonstration projects and regulations. DeSha stated, “It is our hope that this research project will demonstrate that looking through the lens of good nutrition becomes one of the standards of practice adopted to care for palliative and seriously ill patients.”

For more information about this research study or Community Care Choices Community-based Palliative Care program call 209.578.6300.

About Community Hospice

Community Hospice is the oldest and largest nonprofit hospice agency in the Central Valley. Serving the community since 1979, Community Hospice has embraced thousands of individuals and families facing life-changing journeys, enhancing quality of life for all. Palliative and hospice care extends to more than 2,000 patients each year in private homes, skilled nursing facilities, retirement communities and at the 16-bed inpatient Alexander Cohen Hospice House. Community Hospice also provides bereavement and grief support to anyone in the community. For more information, call 209.578.6300 or visit hospiceheart.org.

Community Hospice Foundation Welcomes New Executive Director

August 25, 2021

For Immediate Release
Contacts: Kristin Mostowski, Director of Public Relations | Community Hospice | Kristin.Mostowski@hospiceheart.org | 209.578.6301

Community Hospice Foundation Welcomes Mrs. Francine Foley as New Executive Director

Modesto (August 24, 2021) – Community Hospice Foundation a charitable organization dedicated to raising funds and awareness to support the patients and families of Community Hospice, is pleased to announce Mrs. Francine Foley as their new Executive Director.

Mrs. Foley has served in the nonprofit sector for more than 20 years. She brings to the Community Hospice Foundation strong experience and expertise in leadership and management, with extensive relationship and fund development skills.

“Community Hospice is delighted to welcome Mrs. Francine Foley to our organization and look forward to her serving as our Foundation Executive Director,” said C. DeSha McLeod, President and CEO of Community Hospice. “Mrs. Foley is a mission driven and a respected member of our community who exudes positive energy, passion for nonprofit work and compassion for the mission of Community Hospice. I am confident she will provide strong leadership for our Board members, donors, Friends of Community Hospice auxiliary members, staff and volunteers.”

Before joining Community Hospice Foundation, Mrs. Foley served 14 years as the CEO of United Way of Stanislaus County playing a critical role in the development and success of the organization. Prior to United Way she served 8 years as the Executive Director of the Parent Resource Center. Mrs. Foley holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration-Nonprofit from the University of San Francisco.

The Community Hospice Foundation is comprised of a volunteer Board of Directors as well as the Friends of Community Hospice auxiliary; both groups serve to raise funds and awareness of Community Hospice through diverse channels such as planned gifts, memorial donations and special events.

About Community Hospice Foundation
The Community Hospice Foundation is a charitable organization established in 2001 to raise funds and awareness for Community Hospice.

About Community Hospice
Community Hospice is the oldest and largest nonprofit hospice agency in the Central Valley. Serving the community since 1979, Community Hospice has cared for thousands of friends and neighbors, embracing individuals and families facing life-changing journeys, enhancing quality of life for all. Care extends to more than 2,000 patients each year in private homes, skilled nursing facilities, retirement communities and at the 16-bed inpatient Alexander Cohen Hospice House. Community Hospice also provides bereavement and grief support to anyone in the community. For more information, call 209.578.6300 or visit hospiceheart.org.

Community Hospice Appoints New Medical Director

August 18, 2021

For Immediate Release:

Contacts: Kristin Mostowski, Director of Public Relations | Community Hospice | Kristin.Mostowski@hospiceheart.org | 209.578.6301

Community Hospice Appoints New Medical Director

Community Hospice Welcomes New Full-Time Medical Director, Dr. Peter Lai

Modesto (August 18, 2021) – On September 1, 2021, Community Hospice, a nonprofit hospice agency serving the Central Valley since 1979, will welcome a new Medical Director. Dr. Peter Lai will serve as a full-time Medical Director serving Community Hospice patients and families throughout the Central Valley including those residing at the Alexander Cohen Hospice House. Dr. Lai will also play a vital role in the development of new specialty programs for palliative and hospice patients.

“Community Hospice is very pleased and honored to have Dr. Peter Lai accept our Medical Director position,” said C. DeSha McLeod, President and CEO of Community Hospice. “As a respected and dedicated member of our medical community, Dr. Lai has extensive medical expertise and patient involvement, education and leadership skills that fully support our mission. We are proud to welcome him and feel he will be a great addition for our patients and families as well as our Community Hospice family.”

For more than 35 years, Dr. Lai has served in various leadership positions in our community to promote health and wellness. Dr. Lai previously served as the Director of Cardiovascular Research and Chief of Cardiology at Sutter Memorial Medical Center, as well as the Department Chair of Medical Specialties and Chief of Cardiology for Gould Medical Group in Modesto, California. He is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology and Society of Cardiac Angiography and Intervention, and a Member of the Heart Rhythm Society, Mayo Clinic Alumni, Stanislaus Medical Society and American Medical Association.

Dr. Lai received his Medical Degree from the National University of Singapore. He completed an Internship in General Medicine at United Christian Hospital, Hong Kong and Internal Medicine Residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. Lai furthered his education completing a Fellowship in Cardiology and Angioplasty and received specialized training in Pacemaker Implantation at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor. Dr. Lai is licensed by the State of California, Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Disease and Subspecialty Board Certified in Interventional Cardiology.

About Community Hospice

Community Hospice is the oldest and largest nonprofit hospice agency in the Central Valley. Serving the community since 1979, Community Hospice has cared for thousands of friends and neighbors, embracing individuals and families facing life-changing journeys, enhancing quality of life for all. Care extends to more than 2,000 patients each year in private homes, skilled nursing facilities, retirement communities and at the 16-bed inpatient Alexander Cohen Hospice House. Community Hospice also provides bereavement and grief support to anyone in the community. For more information, call 209.578.6300 or visit hospiceheart.org.

COVID-19

Community Hospice is coordinating closely with the State of California and local health departments in the communities we serve as we continue to focus on health and safety. Please visit our COVID-19 resource page for important updates and resources.