TALLAHASSEE, Florida, (Jan. 17, 2020) — The Big Bend Hospice Inc. Board of Directors today announced the appointment of Bill Wertman as CEO of the nonprofit Hospice serving eight counties.
Wertman assumes responsibility for daily operations, which include delivery of care to patients and families in their homes and at Margaret Z. Dozier Hospice House, the region’s only in-patient Hospice care facility.
“The Board of Directors is fully aligned with Mr. Wertman’s vision for the future and has confidence in his ability to effectively lead a staff of nearly 250 professionals dedicated to the delivery of compassionate end-of-life care,” said Rheb Harbison, chairman of the Board of Directors. “He enters the position with the full support of the board and a unanimous vote.”
Wertman’s appointment begins a new era for Big Bend Hospice, which served 1,848 patients and their families in 2019. He assumes the CEO position following the death of former CEO Cathy Adkison in December.
“I am humbled to follow Cathy as CEO of a Hospice that has inspired hope for thousands of patients and families since 1983,” Wertman said. “Big Bend Hospice began when a group of visionaries saw the need for a community Hospice. Their foresight and the dedication of our employees, volunteers and donors has built an organization that’s recognized as a national leader in care. I am honored to lead this phenomenal team as we continue to grow and serve patients and families with compassion and dignity.”
An experienced CEO with expertise in the health care industry, Wertman joined Big Bend Hospice in 2015 and previously served as chief operating officer and interim CEO. During this time, he oversaw the expansion of programs to offer a wider array of support services. These programs include Transitions, which provides in-home support to people who have a terminal diagnosis but do not qualify for Hospice; Golden Age@Home, which provides support for caregivers and their loved ones; the AmeriCorps Volunteer Program, which provides in-home respite care, and a partnership with the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving to expand training for caregivers throughout the Big Bend.
Wertman has a master’s degree in geriatric social work from Florida State University and a bachelor’s degree in human nutrition, also from FSU. Wertman has taught as an adjunct professor in the FSU College of Social Work and served on numerous nonprofit boards, including United Partners for Human Services.
“The Big Bend Hospice Board of Directors is responsible for ensuring a smart, ethical and professional work culture that lifts up our employees and underpins our inevitable need to evolve to serve the needs of patients and families,” Harbison said. “We are confident Mr. Wertman is up to that challenge and look forward to working with him.”