Circles of Influence


Organization: The Center for Hospice & Palliative Care, Cheektowaga, NY. IInnovation highlights were its broad range of service, strategic approach to understanding and meeting community needs, and collaboration across the health care continuum.

Recent Achievements: The Center for Hospice & Palliative Care (CHPC) was honored with the Circle of Life Award in 2011. Five years later many things are the same, but there has been growth and development as well.

CHPC’s Expressive Therapies department has greatly expanded and become one of our most popular programs. The department staff now includes music therapists, massage therapists, art therapists and child life specialists. In 2015, these therapists provided over 5,000 visits to more than 2,700 patients.

Supportive Medical Partners (SMP), CHPC’s affiliated palliative care physician practice continues to provide our community with quality palliative care and palliative consults. SMP oversees CHPC’s successful Home Connections program, a “payor sponsored” program which provides home-based palliative care and care management for pre-hospice patients with multiple co-morbidities. Clinicians see these patients wherever they may live, whether it is their own home or assisted living facility. Local insurance companies provide PMPM reimbursement for Home Connections care. In 2015, 2,269 patients received nearly 6,555 visits from SMP clinicians. This program continues to be cost neutral, with the upside of increased referral rate to hospice and longer hospice length of stay.

SMP also houses CHPC’s Essential Care for Children program. The program is payer sponsored and provides physician, nursing, social work, child life specialist, music therapy, art therapy and pastoral care services. In 2015 the program continued to grow providing care to 86 children with life limiting illness.

Our partnership with Catholic Medical Partners’ New York State’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) design grant continues to bear fruit. The DSRIP program was designed to promote community‚Äźlevel collaborations to reform the healthcare delivery system in order to reduce Medicaid hospitalizations by 25 percent over a five-year period.

We have consolidated all of our 32 inpatient beds on our Mitchell Campus, eliminating our residence beds. This elimination was made possible by the growth in our relationships with area nursing homes, three of which have dedicated wings for their hospice patients. These wings have been renovated to reflect the hospice philosophy of a comfortable/homelike atmosphere. Hospice clinical staff supplements the nursing home care that these patients receive.

The Palliative Care Institute (PCI), which connects community and university efforts across disciplines with the goal of establishing excellence in palliative care education, research and clinical practice, continues to grow. This year the group’s study on end-of-life dreams and visions gained national attention. The study was featured in the New York Times (February 2, 2016) and lead author Dr. Chris Kerr gave a TEDx talk on the subject.

CHPC simplified its corporate structure by divesting of its certified home health agency, Home Care Buffalo, and its licensed home care agency, Caring Hearts Home Care. Earlier this year, the NYS Department of Health approved CHPC’s curriculum and training site that will allow the organization to train and certify Home Health Aides (HHAs). Our new $1.5M Caregiver Enrichment Endowment Fund, funded by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, allows us to finance the training of HHAs, pay for aides to earn their dual HHA/CNA certification, provide continuing education, and partially underwrite the cost for any aides desiring to earn a nursing degree.

Organization: Gilchrist Hospice Care, Hunt Valley, MD. Innovation highlights were its communication and coordination across settings, integration of palliative and geriatric care, and staff education, orientation and mentoring. 

Recent Achievements:  GHC continues to look for new and innovative programs and offerings to expand the scope and breadth of both hospice and palliative care throughout our community.  Since our last “Circles of Influence” update in 2012, GHC has instituted a “We Honor Vets” program, in conjunction with NHPCO, to ensure that the contributions of terminally-ill veterans are recognized and acknowledged and their special needs met and added a Music Therapy Program to complement the offerings of our other clinical disciplines. GHC has been approved as a Music Therapy intern training site by the American Music Therapy Association. 

Gilchrist Services, of which GHC is a part, launched Gilchrist Transitions, a non-medical program designed to address the needs of patients who fall “in between” the services through the end-of-life continuum but desperately need extra care and support. This program primarily serves patients discharged from hospice because their health has stabilized or individuals who have reached out to the GHC team but were either determined not yet to be terminally-ill or not yet ready to accept hospice. Transitions offers case management and extra support in the home from volunteers. 

GHC and its partner in Tanzania, Nkoaranga Lutheran Hospital’s Palliative Care Program, were selected as the 2014 recipients of the Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa (FHSSA) Global Partnership Award. This award recognizes the “exemplary work of one partnership that has demonstrated leadership, innovation and has significantly contributed to the sustainable development of hospice and palliative care through their FHSSA partnership.” 

2014 also marked GHC’s 20th Anniversary of providing the finest in end-of-life care for terminally-ill patients in Central Maryland and care and support for their loved ones. 

Award Impact:  Receiving the Circle of Life Award remains one of GHC’s most visible and valued awards which recognized and validated the organization’s many contributions in the field of hospice, palliative and geriatric care. It helped GHC strengthen its quality and safety initiatives and helped to nurture a culture which emphasized patient-centered care leading to quality outcomes.

Organization:  St. John Providence Health System, Detroit, MI. Innovation highlights were its culture change in the organization, education to spread primary palliative care, and attention to spirituality and engagement with the faith community.



About AHA


Member Constituency Sections

Key Relationships

News Center

Performance Improvement

Advocacy Issues

Products & Services


Research & Trends


155 N. Wacker Dr.
Chicago, Illinois 60606

800 10th Street, N.W.
Two CityCenter, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20001-4956