New hos­pice CEO ready to get to work

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By TIF­FANY WAT­SON twat­son@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @Tif­fIndyNews

Ac­cord­ing to the Hos­pice of Charles County, hos­pice fa­cil­i­ties care for more than 1.65 mil­lion pa­tients and their fam­i­lies nationwide ev­ery year. The main fo­cus of a hos­pice is car­ing, not cur­ing, and qual­ity fam­ily care. In or­der to con­tinue mov­ing to­wards qual­ity fam­ily care, Hos­pice of Charles County has hired a new CEO, Bran­don L. Jones.

Del. Edith J. Pat­ter­son (D-Charles), a mem­ber on the hos­pice board of di­rec­tors, said she liked Jones’ en­ergy from the mo­ment the board in­ter­viewed him.

“I liked the fact that he has a back­ground in the sci­ences, so he un­der- stands the phys­i­ol­ogy of hu­mans,” Pat­ter­son said. “He has worked in vari- ous states and venues so that di­ver­sity in terms of his em­ploy­ment port­fo­lio was very im­pres­sive. He’s en­er­getic and seems in­ter­ested in meet­ing the chal­lenges of hos­pice. He seems to have a lot of in­volve­ment in the com­mu­nity and I think it is re­ally good to bring in peo­ple from other ar­eas so that they can bring their ex- pe­ri­ences and knowl­edge and we can learn from them and, in re­turn, they can learn from us.”

“I was so in­ter­ested in this po­si­tion be­cause it aligns with what I’ve been do­ing: man­ag­ing non­prof- it or­ga­ni­za­tions,” Jones said. “This is a flip from what I’ve been do­ing — go­ing from pri­mary care and preven­tion to end-oflife and that per­spec­tive of health care, but I have al­ways had a pas­sion for com­mu­nity health and em­pow­er­ing un- der-served com­mu­ni­ties through im­proved health care aware­ness and ac- cess. I think I can grow in this po­si­tion and I have a lot of great ideas that they haven’t tapped into here.”

Jones said be­com­ing the CEO of a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion was a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion for him. A na­tive of Con­way, S.C., he says he has ex­pe­ri­enced first­hand the needs and lack of health ser­vices in un­der-served ru­ral and ur­ban ar­eas. He is a grad­u­ate of the Univer­sity of South Carolina earn­ing a bach­e­lor of sci­ence in bi­ol­ogy and a mas­ter of health ad­min­is­tra­tion. He was pre­vi­ously the chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer of Hamil­ton Health Cen­ter in Har­ris­burg, Pa., as well as chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer for Com­mu­nity Health Cen­ters in South Caroli- na, New York and Penn- syl­va­nia.

Jones de­scribes him- self as well-grounded, out­go­ing, pro­fes­sional, in­ter­per­sonal and the best friend who is the man­ager but also gets re­sults. He loves mu­sic and has been play­ing piano since he was 9 years old. He en­joys spend­ing time with fam­ily, es­pe­cially his neph­ews, and par­tic­i­pat­ing in com­mu­nity ser­vice events with his fra­ter­nity, Al­pha Phi Al­pha Fraterni- ty Inc., in which he is very ac­tive.

When Jones be­gan his du­ties as CEO on Oct. 10, he com­mit­ted him­self to work­ing in the non­profit health­care sec­tor with a mis­sion to ac­com­plish qual­ity care for all. The hos­pice board of di­rec- tors agreed that Jones’ se­nior-level over­sight for the func­tions and ac­tivi- ties rel­a­tive to cor­po­rate ad­min­is­tra­tion and health cen­ter op­er­a­tions will make him a great in­di­vid­ual to lead the mis­sion of the Hos­pice of Charles County.

“So far my job has been a lot of fact-find­ing, at- tend­ing meet­ings so the staff [can] meet me faceto-face be­cause that’s im­por­tant to me,” Jones said. “In the first year I plan on spend­ing a lot of time re-es­tab­lish­ing re­la­tion­ships since they’ve been out of a CEO for al- most a year. I would like to re-es­tab­lish re­la­tion­ships with lo­cal hos­pi­tals and busi­ness lead­ers in the com­mu­nity.”

Jones said one of his first projects will be work- ing to­wards im­prov­ing the county’s aware­ness of hos­pice and in­creas­ing ed­u­ca­tion of hos­pice among African-Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties.

“In most fam­i­lies there is a stigma with hos­pice and they do not un­der­stand what hos­pice is,” Jones said. “I want to tap into those com­mu­ni­ties so that we can have a higher per­cent­age of Af- ri­can-Amer­i­can fam­i­lies, His­pan­ics and other mi­nori­ties uti­liz­ing hos­pice long term.”

He would also like to highlight other hos­pice ser­vices like be­reave­ment, chap­lain ser­vices and coun­sel­ing. Jones be­lieves that hos­pice is more than the pa­tient’s care — it’s also about the fam­i­lies. He wants fam­i­lies to un­der­stand that hos­pice care is about keep­ing pa­tients com­fort­able so they will be able to live their last days or months in com­fort with their loved ones. He would also like to work and re­fine the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s pro­cess of re­ceiv­ing pa­tients quickly.

Pat­ter­son said it was re­fresh­ing to hear his will­ing­ness and am­bi­tion to raise aware­ness in the com­mu­nity, es­pe­cially in re­gard to hos­pice and be­reave­ment. She knows first­hand that the be­reave­ment pro­cess can be very long and dif­fi­cult, hav­ing lost her hus­band while he was in hos­pice many years ago.

“In the last 10 years, the whole ide­ol­ogy of hos­pice has to­tally changed from what it used to be,” Jones said. “We see the im­por­tance of mak­ing sure peo­ple are en­gaged in the hos­pice ac­tiv­i­ties and out­reach so I do hope the stigma of hos­pice can con­tinue to change.”

Pat­ter­son said she be­lieves Jones will do well with the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s ob­jec­tives and sees him as a valu­able as­set to Charles County and South­ern Mary­land.

STAFF PHOTO BY TIF­FANY WAT­SON

Hos­pice of Charles County CEO Bran­don L. Jones is ready to tackle his new po­si­tion with the non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion.

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