New focus on West Michigan in Hospice of Michigan changes

Marcie M. Hillary

Hospice of Michigan (HOM) is returning to its roots in Grand Rapids with leadership changes designed to better respond to West Michigan needs and to expand awareness of the organization’s end-of-life services. The statewide group will shift greater authority in the West Michigan region to the Ada-based regional headquarters and to the new post of executive director, to be held by Marcie M. Hillary of Grand Rapids. The office will operate under the new title of Hospice of Michigan/West Michigan.

Hillary, who presently serves as vice president of community relations for HOM, will provide executive leadership for the West Michigan program which already oversees care for nearly 200 adult and pediatric patients daily in the region and is a partner with other health-care providers in the region, including with Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine in development of a new physician fellowship in end of life care. As West Michigan executive director, she will have increased flexibility and authority to engage with other regional leaders, with donors and with hospitals and other patient-care organizations.

“Our board members and community leaders in West Michigan felt strongly that we wanted to intensify our efforts to build awareness of Hospice of Michigan services to everyone in this growing part of the state,” said John Maurer, M.D., chair of the HOM Board of Trustees. “This isn’t about the care we provide. We’ve been leading the way for more than 30 years in that area. It’s about getting our message out, having greater locally based decision-making and about thinking more strategically with others in the West Michigan healthcare field about managing end-of-life issues.”

“Marcie has been part of our team for 14 years,” said Maurer, “and she understands intimately how we can make end-of-life more comfortable, more peaceful and less stressful for patients and their families.”

HOM, serving 54 counties in Lower Michigan, grew out of the former Hospice of Greater Grand Rapids, which was founded in 1981 and is the original hospice in West Michigan. In 1994, HOM was born from the merger of the Grand Rapids agency with other community based programs throughout the Lower Peninsula. It is the second oldest hospice in the United States, the largest in Michigan and maintains a nonprofit, open-access policy of accepting patients regardless of ability to pay.

Hillary has a master’s degree in public administration from Grand Valley State University and a bachelor’s degree from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids. She serves on the board of Catholic Charities of West Michigan and, reflecting her statewide responsibilities, last year was chosen for the 2010 class of Leadership Detroit, a regional leadership-development program. She and her husband Brian are residents of Grand Rapids and the parents of two children. She is a native of Roscommon.

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