News

AMOREM: Burke and Caldwell Integration Update

(Published July 2021)

A local hospice and palliative care provider has filled its key leadership positions and appointed a board of directors. 

On May 1 Burke Hospice & Palliative Care and Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care officially integrated to become one provider. The new group’s name is AMOREM.

Cathy Swanson, chief executive officer of AMOREM, said the non-profit’s board of directors has been appointed.

Directors that represent both the original Caldwell and Burke Hospice boards have been appointed to the new AMOREM board. “By coming together and forming one organization we are able to keep local voices on our new board to ensure our communities have equitable representation,” Swanson said.

The 15-member board is comprised of eight individuals from Caldwell, six from Burke and one representative from the High Country service area. The board split is included in the organization’s by-laws.

Marc Carpenter, previous board chairman for the Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care Board of Directors, serves in the same role for Amorem’s board of Directors. Dr. Gregory Jones, previous board chair for Burke Hospice & Palliative Care, has been elected vice chairman.

“The intent behind the integration is to retain the integrity and vision of our community-owned hospice organizations,” Swanson said. “The vision for the collaborative partnership is to integrate two like-minded providers in order to have a greater impact on serious illness and end-of-life care in the communities served.”

The previous boards for both organizations voted unanimously to bring the two providers together.

Prior to the integration, leadership at both Burke and Caldwell were contacted by other hospice organizations that wanted to merge with or acquire the local providers. Those offers did not align with the vision to remain locally owned and managed.

“By bringing the Burke and Caldwell organizations together we maintain the legacy of community-based hospice care,” Swanson said. “As Amorem, we will offer our communities more quality, more compassion and more support.”

In addition to the board of directors, Swanson also has announced her senior leadership team. Three staff members from the legacy Burke team and seven staff members from the legacy Caldwell team fill the positions.

Swanson previously served as the CEO for Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care for more than 30 years.

The new “look” of the organization also has been released. The AMOREM logo was inspired by the Flower of Life symbol for creation and connectedness, representing both the secular and the sacred as a bridge of the spirit and the body. AMOREM – which is Latin for the act of love – was chosen as the name because of its meaning.

“The transition for our patients and their families will be seamless,” Swanson said. “Access to excellent care remains the top priority.”

In addition to the Valdese campus, patient care units also are located in Hudson and Lenoir and plans to open a unit in the High Country are in progress.

The complete integration process will take about 12 to 18 months to complete.  “A master integration plan was developed to ensure collaboration and a smooth transition,” Swanson said. “As a part of that master plan, action teams made up of both legacy Caldwell and legacy Burke staff were created to ensure best practices for the new organization are developed.”

Swanson said infrastructure details are nearly complete and there are no plans to close any of the locations or have a reduction in force. “We have highly qualified individuals and have used our internal people and resources to fill current and new positions,” she said.

Since the integration went live on May 1, the turnover rate for staff has remained at 2.5% or lower. “We are extremely pleased with how well everyone is working together,” Swanson said. “There are lots of changes, but the excitement level is high.”

Since the integration, the organization has already invested in capital improvements to the Valdese campus. The computer infrastructure has been upgraded and much-needed facility repairs are underway. Future plans include major renovations and updates to the patient care unit and other buildings on the campus.

To make a hospice or palliative medicine referral, call the Burke office at 828.879.1601 or the Caldwell office at 828.754.0101.

AMOREM’s Board of Directors:

  • Marc Carpenter, chairperson
  • Dr. Gregory Jones, vice chairperson
  • Peg Broyhill, secretary
  • Jordan Greene, treasurer
  • Dr. David Burnette
  • Rich DeAugustinis
  • David Gray
  • Rob Hinman
  • Jared Huffman
  • Mack Jarvis
  • David Lackey
  • Rhonda Lee
  • Tamra Starnes
  • Wongalee Thomas
  • Janet Winkler

AMOREM’s senior leadership team:

  • Cathy Swanson, Chief Executive Officer
  • Dr. Julia Sherrill, Chief Medical Officer
  • Carol Smith, Vice President of High Country Service Area
  • Bobbie Self, Vice President of Quality and Compliance
  • Jacquita White Blount, Vice President of Burke Service Area
  • April Moore, Vice President of Business Services
  • Kathy Tunstill, Vice President of Nursing Services
  • Anna Blanton, Vice President of Support Services
  • Kerri L. McFalls, Vice President of Community Engagement
  • Terry Johnson, Vice President of Finance

 

AMOREM: Burke and Caldwell Integration Update

(Published June 2021)

Effective May 1, Burke Hospice & Palliative Care and Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care officially integrated to become one provider. The new group has been named AMOREM.  

“As AMOREM, we will offer our communities more quality, more compassion and more support,” said Cathy Swanson, CEO of AMOREM.  

Swanson previously served as the CEO for Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care for more than 30 years. 
“Amorem – which is Latin for the act of love – was chosen as the name for the organization because of its meaning,” Swanson said.  

The decision to integrate the two providers was made by leadership at both Burke and Caldwell in October 2020. The separate board of directors from each organization approved the decision.  

“The transition for our patients and their families will be seamless,” Swanson said. “Access to excellent care remains the top priority.” 

Marc Carpenter, previous board chairman for the Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care Board of Directors, serves in the same role for AMOREM’s Board of Directors. Dr. Gregory Jones, previous board chair for Burke Hospice & Palliative Care, has been appointed the vice chairman. 

“The vision for the collaborative partnership is to integrate two like-minded community-owned hospice and palliative medicine providers in order to have a greater impact on serious illness and end-of-life care in the communities served,” Swanson said.   

Since the announcement of the intent to merge last fall, leadership from both organizations have partnered to develop an integration plan, which will take place over the next 12 to 18 months. Some departments have already begun the integration process, Swanson said. Swanson said details on infrastructure are still in process but there are no plans to close any of the locations or have a reduction in force.

To make a hospice or palliative medicine referral, call the Burke office at 828.879.1601 or the Caldwell office at 828.754.0101.  

Burke Caldwell Integration Update

(Published May 2021)

Effective May 1, Burke Hospice & Palliative Care and Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care officially integrated to become one provider.

The name for the new organization will be released in June.

In October 2020, leadership from the two separate organizations informed staff of the intent to integrate. The separate board of directors from each organization approved the decision.

Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care CEO Cathy Swanson will serve as the CEO of the new organization. She has served as the Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care CEO for 31 years.

“The vision for the collaborative partnership is to integrate two like-minded community-owned hospice and palliative medicine providers in order to have a greater impact on serious illness and end-of-life care in the communities served,” Swanson said. 

Since the announcement of the intent to merge last fall, leadership from both organizations have partnered to develop an integration plan, which will take place over the next 12 to 18 months.  Some departments have already begun the integration process, Swanson said.

There are no plans to close any of the locations or have a reduction in force, she added.

For the time being, referral and admission processes at the two locations will remain the same and patient care will continue at the same level of excellence.  

“The transition will be seamless for our patients and families,” Swanson said. “Both organizations have a long history of outstanding patient care and that won’t change. We are excited about the future of our new organization and to be the leader in community-based palliative medicine and hospice care for this area.”

The Burke office can be reached at 828.879.1601 and the Caldwell office can be reached at 828.754.0101.

Intent to Integrate for Greater Impact

(Published October 8, 2020)

VALDESE/LENOIR—Burke Hospice & Palliative Care and Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care announced to employees, volunteers and donors on Thursday that the two organizations are exploring the possibility of becoming one organization.  

Both boards of directors approved the decision.

Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care Board of Directors Chairperson Marc Carpenter said the two organizations already mirror each other in many ways and feels the unity between the two will benefit the communities and people served. 

“We are excited about the possibility of joining with Burke Hospice & Palliative Care to form one organization that will increase our ability to meet the needs of our communities,” Carpenter said. “We share very similar missions, visions and values and feel this integration will provide a number of advantages to both organizations that will ensure our communities continue to receive the expert care they expect and deserve.”

The vision for the collaborative partnership is to integrate two like-minded community-owned hospice and palliative medicine providers in order to have a greater impact on serious illness and end-of-life care in the communities served. 

“Both of these programs have long placed importance on providing care and compassion to those facing life-limiting illness,” said Burke Hospice & Palliative Care Executive Director Myschell Pearson. “As healthcare continually evolves, so must local hospice organizations. The similarities in how we approach servanthood, desire to protect the integrity of what hospice was meant to be from inception, and dedication to preserve true community-based hospice and palliative care can be more concretely secured through the integration of the two agencies. We look forward to developing a new legacy of top-quality compassion and care for all those in the communities we serve.”

Burke Hospice & Palliative Care Chairperson Greg Jones, MD, a radiation oncologist, has worked with both organizations in multiple capacities for nearly 30 years. He describes the two providers as regional leaders in hospice and palliative care. As a referring physician to both organizations, Dr. Jones said both groups place emphasis on patient care and priority to communicate with referring physicians and/or other individuals involved in the patient’s care.

“In our exploration of this possibility, we have observed a mutuality of goals and purpose that should lead to a firm stand for years to come,” Dr. Jones said. “I feel certain that the people of our extensive service area will continue to be pleased by the outstanding patient and family care that a unified organization will be able to provide and the new consolidated entity will be stronger and more secure into the future as a result of the alliance.”

Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care CEO Cathy Swanson, who would serve the same role in the new partnership, said the peer organizations have a long history of working well together. “For nearly four decades we’ve had a collaborative and supportive relationship with Burke Hospice & Palliative Care,” Swanson said. “A future partnership will be built on a strong foundation of trust and mutual respect. Together, we can ensure excellent care for people dealing with serious illnesses.” 

A timeline has yet to be finalized but leadership at both organizations expect to complete the legal partnership sometime in 2021. Should the two providers combine into one organization, a new name will be announced for the group. 

There are no plans to close any of the locations and infrastructure details are still being determined.