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Suncoast Hospice and Tidewell Hospice Form New Strategic Alliance

January 31, 2017 – Suncoast Hospice and its parent organization, Empath Health, and Tidewell Hospice and its parent organization, Stratum Health System, are the founding partners of a new strategic alliance to be known as Pontus Health, Inc. Suncoast Hospice provides services to Pinellas County residents and Tidewell Hospice serves residents of Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and DeSoto counties. Together, they serve more than 16,000 patients a year.

The creation of Pontus Health positions both nonprofit hospices to deal with the changing health care landscape through shared best practices, purchasing efficiencies and expanding their role in end-of-life care. The alliance will also drive more collaborative and innovative partnerships between the two companies and local health care providers. Additional nonprofit, community-based end-of-life care organizations may join the alliance in the future.

“Tidewell Hospice is very excited to take a leadership role in transforming end-of-life care,” said Tidewell President and CEO Gerry Radford. “For more than 35 years, we have been at the forefront of providing hospice care. Now, as a founding member of this strategic alliance, we are positioned to address and advance the changes happening throughout the health care industry.”

“We are eager to begin talking with other nonprofit hospices in Florida about joining Pontus Health. By working together, we can leverage our strength in providing the full spectrum of high-quality end-of-life care in the communities we serve.”

Rafael Sciullo, president and CEO of Empath Health said, “Suncoast Hospice is thrilled to be working with Tidewell Hospice in the creation of this new strategic alliance. Bringing together two like-minded, community-focused organizations with similar values – and two of the oldest nonprofit hospices in the nation – to better serve patients and families is very exciting.”

“The world of health care as we know it is changing rapidly and continuously. In order for end-of-life care organizations like ours to continue to thrive, we must be creative and willing to collaborate with strategic partners in ways we’ve never done before. Even the name we selected, Pontus Health, means ‘bridge to the future’. Thinking about the future is critical for our patients and families – serving them is at the forefront of everything we do.”

The day-to-day operations of Suncoast and Tidewell will not be changed by this alliance. The hospices remain focused on caring for patients and their families, and believe that by working more closely with other hospice organizations they can provide better care for those patients, families and communities they serve.

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 About Suncoast Hospice

Suncoast Hospice is a nonprofit provider of compassionate hospice care and bereavement support services to Pinellas County patients and families nearing the final stages of life or grieving the deaths of loved ones. As an Empath Health member, we focus on bringing holistic comfort and dignity through our medical and integrative treatment, emotional and spiritual care and palliative and support services. Families and caregivers also are comforted with training, support and healing. Suncoast Hospice is accredited by The Joint Commission.

About Empath Health

Empath Health is a nonprofit integrated network of care that provides expert, life-changing health care to those with chronic and advanced illnesses. Empath Health includes hospice, home health and physician services, palliative care services, independent living assistance and day care for seniors, HIV services and advance care planning.

About Tidewell Hospice

Tidewell Hospice is an independent, not-for-profit organization providing end-of-life care for people living with advanced illness and their families. Tidewell cares for more than 8,000 patients annually in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties. Offices are located in Arcadia, Bradenton, Englewood, Lakewood Ranch, Palmetto, Port Charlotte, Sarasota and Venice. Tidewell is accredited by the Community Health Accreditation Partners (CHAP) with deemed status, signifying excellent care and meeting Medicare’s conditions of participation.

About Stratum Health System

Stratum Health System was created to serve as a holding company, overseeing the specific entities for each of the Tidewell business operations and patient care services. Its foundation is based on the strong reputation, financial strength and capacity for growth of Tidewell Hospice, while capitalizing on the strengths of each of its entities in order to adapt to the future of the post‐acute health care landscape.