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This is Part 2 of 3. To read Part 1, click here. 

David W. Cook began his role as President and CEO of Hosparus Health in September. His return to Louisville is a homecoming for both him and for us — he previously worked for Hosparus Health in several key operations and leadership roles.  

We sat down with David during his first week on the job to hear his thoughts on leadership, mission, and the value of the care Hosparus provides to our communities. 

 What can people expect from Hosparus under your leadership? 

My goal, first of all, is to build an organization with staff that feel respected. My responsibility is not only to make sure that we have a competent organization and that we provide the highest quality of care, but that we do it with individuals who love what they do, who feel supported, who are compassionate and engaged in the care that we provide.  

One thing I want us to work towards is to be a Best Places to Work. I also want to focus on understanding what our community needs and what people who are facing serious illness need. What support do they need today that’s different? How are we addressing diversity and equity in our community? How are we addressing changes in serious illness? How are we meeting care in the home? There are many different areas that we’ve got to look at, and how do we answer those questions? I think you’ll see our organization focus on innovations to meet those needs.  

You mentioned diversity, equity and inclusion. How important do you feel those efforts are? And how will you extend those efforts throughout the organization? 

It’s very important. Everyone deserves great care and respect. We have to figure out how we get past the barriers that prevent that. It’s always been important in hospice, but I think we as individuals have to look inside ourselves. There are things that are obvious that we can do to provide better care. But they’re also things that each of us needs to learn about ourselves that may not be front of mind. We’re going to be pushing to learn and to grow, and to find ways to make sure that we, as an organization, are meeting the needs of everyone in our communities.  

What value does Hosparus specifically bring to the communities that we serve? 

I think that’s best answered by the people who have received the support and care of Hosparus. It’s the stories that we hear — the families that are touched by our care, the ones who are granted wishes, or reconnected with other family members that haven’t spoken in years.  

The core of how we serve is making sure that patients are comfortable and that they’re getting great medical care. But the magic is what we do on top of that. The expectation that I think most people have coming in is, “We’re going to get great care for our loved one,” but it really is about creating moments for the whole family.  

Where some of that magic happens is with our chaplains, with our psychosocial services, where we’re able to do things that are beyond what people expect, where we’re engaging families in ways that they didn’t think we provided support.  

Hosparus is a nonprofit, mission-driven organization. Why is that so important to what we do, and what difference does that make in the delivery of care? 

I love that question. I get pretty passionate about that. Nonprofit, in a sense, it’s just a tax status, right? But I’ll tell you that when I took my first business class in college, the professor said something that was pretty profound: When you work for a for-profit organization, your responsibility as an employee is to return value to the shareholder. It’s about making money and returning that value to the owners of that company.  

The first priority of a nonprofit is also to return value to its shareholders — but who are the shareholders of a nonprofit organization? It’s our community, it’s our patients, it’s our families. As the CEO of Hosparus Health, I get to focus on people and how our organization is caring for our community. I’m not worrying about what the stock market needs, next quarter goals or market expectations on shareholder price. I get to focus on delivering great care and satisfaction in our community, and that’s a blessing. 

Why should individuals in our community support Hosparus? Why they should give their money to Hosparus over so many other worthy organizations? 

First, it’s about connecting with what’s important to an individual. There are so many wonderful things we do. Often, it’s about helping them understand what we do and how their dollars make that happen. When we talked about the magic of the organization, it’s the donor support that creates the magic. Sometimes it’s for people in our community and sometimes it’s for your family member. We have to make sure we are there for everyone in need, regardless of ability pay. 

 Check back soon for Part 3 of this series, to hear why David is so passionate about Hosparus, why he believes it’s important to meet patients and families where they are, and his vision for the future. 

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