Categories
Austin Texas Hospice Care

Hospice of the Hills’ Team of Experts & Medical Professionals

Our team of professionals works together to provide holistic hospice care with consistency and continuity. The Hospice of the Hills team applies their expertise and passion to give exceptional end-of-life care. They are dedicated to understanding your needs, offering support and rendering care on a physical, emotional and spiritual level.

Co-Founder/Volunteer & Bereavement Facilitator

Debbie’s passion for hospice care stems from personal hospice experiences with both her mother and mother-in-law (See Our Hospice Care Story). Prior to Debbie and her husband Rodney’s decision to create Hospice of the Hills, Debbie’s empathy for people and dedication to compassionate care is evident throughout her career.

As a homebound special education teacher with the Austin Independent School District, Debbie developed student lesson plans to ensure students, who were disabled or terminally ill, were successful in the classroom. While a special education teacher for the Austin State Hospital she worked with children suffering from physical and mental abuse.

She further exercised her ability to identify with

others and offer the appropriate support through her time at the Mary Lee Foundation. Here she committed to encouraging emotionally disturbed children to develop a sense of dignity, feeling of self-worth, and skills to socially integrate and contribute to their community. By working with these people in need throughout her career, she is able to understand others in burdensome situations, offering support on a deeply personal level. Debbie is a member of multiple church, civic, and collegiate organizations. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and currently resides in the Lake Travis area with her husband Rodney. They have three grown sons also living in the Austin area.

Co-Founder/
CEO & Director of Business Operations

Rodney’s passion for outstanding hospice care parallels that of his wife Debbie’s (See Our Hospice Care Story). His decision to create Hospice of the Hills with Debbie comes not only from his own hospice care experiences but from an overwhelming desire to help others. Rodney will go out of his way to lend a helping hand. His vision and energy for Hospice of the Hills keeps it operating with impeccable integrity at the highest level of ethical standards. Being native to the Austin-area, Rodney has many deep-rooted relationships in the medical and healthcare community.

Prior to founding Hospice of the Hills, Rodney’s dedication to superior service and care is evident throughout his career. He has listened and helped hundreds of individuals achieve their goals regarding retirement, life, and college planning through his financial and insurance services business. Before his 20-years as a successful business owner, Rodney acquired his keen

business sense and appreciation for teamwork from a handful of management positions. While Business Manager for Lockheed Missiles and Space Co., Inc., he was responsible for overseeing multimillion-dollar programs involving coordinating with technical managers, contract administrators, project schedulers, and financial analysts. He was a Financial Analyst for Tracor Aerospace, Inc. and worked with the Texas State Department of Highways and Public Transportation as Assistant Supervisor of the Budget Section. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Business Administration. Rodney is recognized for his leadership and commitment to excellence, and is a member of multiple church, civic, and collegiate organizations. He and Debbie reside in the Lake Travis area and have three grown sons also in the Austin area.

Medical Director

Dr. Pohl is a board certified practitioner of internal medicine, pulmonology, and sleep medicine, practicing at Westlake Hospital and Seton Medical Center. Dr. Pohl believes hospice care benefits patients and families by offering practical goals that allow doctors to coordinate more effectively with the wishes of patients and their families. Moreover, when his father died, he realized his mother benefited greatly from hospice care.

Dr. Pohl joined the Hospice of the Hills team because after doing what he has done for so long he absolutely thinks hospice care has its place in medical care. With that conclusion, he wanted to use his medical experience and contribute to the team’s high-level care. He also believes it is about being at the right place and doing the right thing at the right time. Dr. Pohl’s extensive

medical background is combined with being a recognized HealthGrades Doctor, an active member of the Travis County Medical Society, Texas Medical Association, American Medical Association, and American Academy of Sleep Medicine. He is also a fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians. He graduated from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and completed his residency at Boston City Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. He performed his fellowship and pulmonary medicine at the University of Virginia Medical School. He and his wife Bonnie live in the Bee Cave area. They have four daughters, four granddaughters and one grandson.

Social Work Director

Richard joined the Hospice of the Hills team so he could return to using his 30-years of counseling experience on a more personal level. After many years focused on the administrative side of behavioral health, he arrived at a point where he missed having contact with people, listening to them and helping them find answers. He says the timing was right when he was approached about the Hospice of the Hills position, especially after going through a difficult and thought-provoking 14-month stretch of his own hospice care experiences with his dying father-in-law, father, and mother-in-law.

Through his career in behavioral health, he recognizes the importance of helping folks verbalize their emotions in order to deal with loss. He knows how beneficial hospice care services can be for individuals at this critical time in one’s life. As a Certified Board Approved Clinical Supervisor, Richard observes a shift towards more community-based health care.

Richard has a considerable management career in

both the care and administration sides of social work; serving as psychotherapist to individuals, families and groups of all ages as well as developing outpatient, inpatient and residential treatment programs for children, adolescents, adults and geriatric populations. By overseeing and ensuring employees received optimum care at Magellan Behavioral Health, a national behavioral health and employee assistance agency, Richard is able to identify and assist people in finding the resources they need. Richard finely-tuned his discipline of consistent, high-caliber care while an examiner for quality improvement awards at the City of Austin, using the recognized Baldrige criteria of quality assessment. Richard is also a graduate-level professor at the UT School of Social Work Adjunct Facility. Richard lives in the Austin area with his wife Donna.

Director

Jenifer joined the Hospice of the Hills team because she too wanted to bring a caring, competent hospice agency to our area. Jenifer offers 16 years of hospice care experience to the Hospice of the Hills team. She was able to hone her skills of getting things done correctly and efficiently through her role as Compliance Coordinator at Home Hospice in Odessa. Through maintaining health care records, submitting necessary applications for state and federal programs, including; Medicaid, Medicare and National Hospice & Palliative Care, she could help others with her ability to gather necessary information in a timely manner.

While working at Home Hospice, Jenifer personally benefited from their hospice care when her aunt whom she was extremely close to passed away. She says every hospice experience is different, but one thing she believes everyone can share is seeing their loved one comfortable and peaceful at the end of their journey. Jenifer has a passion for helping people and enjoys assisting them with their sometimes overwhelming and daunting administrative tasks. She also is the loving mother of two wonderful children.

Director of Pastoral Care

Pastor Rae says being with families through bereavement has been his favorite part of serving throughout his career. So when the opportunity arrived to be a part of the Hospice of the Hills team, saying yes to the responsibility was only natural. He didn’t want to miss sharing in the kind of comfort hospice care provides patients and their families during a difficult time.

He has served as Associate Pastor at Faith Bible Church in the Woodlands and is the Executive Director of The Gathering, a men’s ministry serving the Austin area that attracted over 600 men to join in its first year. While being with families through the journey to the end of this life, he is amazed by the overwhelming medical attention and care hospice can provide each patient. When his father passed away, he said the single greatest benefit

was seeing someone experienced help his mom and family. When something didn’t feel right, there was always someone there whether during the day or in the middle of the night providing rest and comfort. He recognizes every situation varies because people and their circumstances are different believing only God can provide the necessary comfort during the passing of a loved one. Pastor Rae describes himself as simply a vehicle for God’s comfort and care.

Before becoming a full-time pastor, Mark used his graphic design, marketing, sales, and business management skills in a business career spanning 17 years. He lives in Lakeway with his wife Melissa, and are parents of two grown boys.