From the moment you meet Bob Friedman, it’s obvious he cares, really cares, about his patients, his staff, and the delivery of end-of-life care that honors the values and goals that a patient holds dear. Dr. Bob, as he is affectionately known, has been a hospice and palliative care physician since 1995 and a family practitioner since 1983, serving urban and rural communities. As Chief Medical Officer of Hospice Austin and President of Austin Palliative Care, he provided comprehensive end-of-life care while promoting best practices for the delivery of hospice and palliative care. As a member of the Hospice Austin administrative team, he was also involved in clinical administration, providing guidance and direction in both hospice and palliative medicine. He was also responsible for supervising and collaborating with the physicians and nurse practitioners of Austin Palliative Care.
“When I compared notes with my colleagues nationally,” said former Hospice Austin Executive Director Marjorie Mulanax, “they always told me how lucky we are to have Dr. Bob Friedman as our chief medical officer. He is clinically excellent, administratively excellent, a fantastic supervisor and a great mentor to his physicians and nurse practitioners. And he’s always been there for so many of us when we’ve had our own personal time of crisis. He is beloved. We’ve been so fortunate that he has chosen to work at Hospice Austin all these years: Dr. Bob has developed two key tools to improve communication and transparency about the hospice plan of care at Hospice Austin: The Special Interventions Guidelines and, in response to the Hospice FYI 2021 Wage index requirements, the Relatedness Guidance document. Bob is board certified in Family Medicine and in Hospice & Palliative Medicine.He is also a Fellow with the American Academy of Family Practice and with the American Academy of Hospice & Palliative Medicine. In addition, he is a board-certified hospice medical director. He served on the question-writing committee of the Hospice Medical Director Certification Board. He also was an author for the AAHPM Hospice Medical Director Handbook. He has worked regionally and nationally to help shape the future of palliative care and ensure access of palliative care services for all. He has served on the NHPCO Hospice Regulatory Committee and has lobbied at the state and national level on behalf of hospice and palliative medicine policies. Bob has served TNMHO in multiple capacities, most recently serving on the Board. He provided valued input on the TNMHO response to proposed legislation and education at many TNMHO meetings.
As an educator, Bob devoted over 20 years to providing educational programs about hospice and palliative medicine, including symptom management (physical, psychosocial, emotional, and spiritual) and counseling in the end-of life setting. His audiences have included hospice and palliative care physicians, nurse practitioners, hospice nurses, other hospice discipline members, community physicians, community nurses and the public. He established the Dell Medical School medical student and resident rotation for inpatient hospice care experience at Hospice Austin’s Christopher House and collaborated with the creation of the Dell Medical School Hospice & Palliative Fellowship program. Dr. Bob is known for his unbelievable ability to see the good in any person and any situation, his creative problem solving, his optimism, his hard work, and his capacity to always think of what is best for the patient and for our staff. Bob is not a pushover and does not live with his head in the clouds. In fact, Bob has an uncanny ability to see through people’s smoke and fog and see who they really are. The difference is that he takes who someone is and appreciates it for their uniqueness. Dr. Bob has taught us that it can be just as important to get the details right as it is to remember the big picture. He has built and shared an amazing national network of hospice and palliative medicine experts. He has inspired us as a boss, mentor, educator, collaborator, colleague, and friend. We can’t think of a better person to recognize with the TNMHO Lifetime Achievement Award.
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