FHPCA Announces 2013 Officers and Committee Chairs

Florida Hospice & Palliative Care Association (FHPCA) announces the new additions to its Board Leadership and Executive Committee.


Linda Ward, President/CEO, Gulfside Regional Hospice, was elected a two two-year terms as President of FHPCA Board of Directors this past November. Formerly the Secretary of FHPCA Board of Directors, Linda will continue to bring her 26 years of healthcare experience in acute care, long-term care and hospice care along with administrative experience in operations, management and marketing to FHPCA’s Executive Committee. Linda holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work and Healthcare Administration, and is a national speaker on the topics of Alzheimer’s, Hospice and customer loyalty, and is a member of many healthcare organizations.


Rana McClelland, Executive Director, Compassionate Care Hospice, was elected Secretary. Rana joined Compassionate Care Hospice in 2010 and brings to the FHPCA Board her skills and experience in healthcare management. She received her MBA in Business Administration from Southeastern University in 2009 and her BS in Business Administration from Auburn University.  Rana has been a Certified Hospice Administrator since 2007.



Tom Barb, President/CEO, HPH Hospice, was elected Treasurer. Tom has been president and CEO of HPH Hospice since July of 2008, and brings his 35 years of varied healthcare experience with for-profit, non-profit and governmental hospital organizations to FHPCA’s Board of Directors. Tom has a Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Florida and a Masters of Health Administration from Georgia State University.



Mary Ellen Poe, President/CEO, Hospice of Marion County became FHPCA’s Immediate Past President and will remain on the Executive Committee for two more years. Mary Ellen Poe joined Hospice of Marion County and its Affiliated Companies as Chief Executive Officer in May 2009. In addition to being FHPCA’s Immediate Past President, she is also an officer for the Access to Healthcare Inc. Board, and serves on the Governance Committee of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.


Mary Ellen’s style as president was excellent for convening ideas. She worked well at managing sometimes competing interest in such as way that the association was able to make forward progress with its goals and objectives, and empowered the FHPCA staff to excel at their work. “Serving hospice at the state level these past two years has been an honor, and one I have thoroughly enjoyed as well. Being in FHPCA’s leadership role provided me with the unique position of bringing us all together for the right reason—to ensure that all our patients across Florida are benefiting from the highest quality of care available at the end of life. This is the rare privilege we jointly share, and a commitment to mission we all hold dear.”


Although Mary Ellen moves into a less demanding role on the Executive Committee, she still remains involved with issues regarding quality measures, and building relationships with agencies and legislators in support of FHPCA. “Mary Ellen always offered a voice of measured reason. Her style of leadership was exactly what FHPCA needed during her tenure and we appreciate the dedication and hard work she put into her role as president”, says Paul Ledford, Executive Director, FHPCA.


Staying on in her current role, Kathy Fernandez, President and CEO of Chapters Health Systems remains FHPCA’s Internal Vice President. In 1993, she joined Hospice of Hillsborough (as Chapters Health was then known) and was named president and chief executive officer in 1998. Under Kathy’s visionary leadership, the company has experienced a significant increase in the number of patients served and expanded programs to address the needs related to aging, complex medical conditions and end-of-life concerns.

Kathy earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Tampa and a Master of Science in Health Administration from the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois.


Samira K. Beckwith, President and CEO of Hope Healthcare Services remains FHPCA’s External Vice President. Samira has served as president and CEO of Hope Healthcare Services for more than two decades. She also serves as chair of the National Hospice Foundation Board of Directors and is a National Hospice Work Group founding director. She also serves on the American Society of Pain Educators Board of Directors, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization Board of Directors and is the founder and president of Florida PACE Association.


Beckwith earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from The Ohio State University and has been recognized for her leadership, career accomplishments and commitments to diversity.


Also joining the Executive Committee under new committee roles as created by the FHPCA’s 2012 strategic plan:


Ron Fried, Senior Vice President of Development, VITAS Innovative Healthcare, was confirmed to the role of Public Policy Committee Chair. Though this is not a new committee, it is one of the most active. Ron brings more than fifteen years of hospice management and administrative responsibilities and more than thirty years of experience in legislative and regulatory affairs to his role Public Policy Committee Chair. Along with his extensive work and public policy experience, Ron also is active with NHPCO and was recently elected Chair of their Board of Directors.


Cathy Adkison, President/CEO, Big Bend Hospice, was confirmed as Chair of the newly developed Funding Committee. Cathy joined Big Bend Hospice in 2011 from Alabama where she was a Senior Vice President of Operations for a large home health and hospice provider serving over 54 counties. She is a Registered Nurse and holds a bachelor’s of science in nursing as well as certification in Hospice and Home Care Administration. Adkison has 30 years of nursing experience, with 26 of those years in administrative and management positions.


Susan deCuba, Executive Vice President/President Elect, Treasure Coast Hospice, was confirmed Chair of the newly created Quality Committee. She brings to the board her experience in Marketing, Foundation, Finance, IT, Compliance, Bereavement and Volunteer Services. Susan was recognized by the American Marketing Association as one of the top non-profit marketers in the country and was responsible for Treasure Coast Hospice’s award winning media education campaign.


She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Florida Atlantic University with a double major in Humanities and Spanish, and a Master’s degree in Counseling from University of South Florida.


“We are excited about the new officers, and as we celebrate 30 years as an association we look forward to the talent and experience these new members bring to the leadership”, says Paul Ledford, Executive Director of FHPCA.