Jonathan Fleece, President of Empath Health (left), Rick Bourne, CEO of Hospice of Marion County (middle) and Rafael J. Sciullo, CEO of Empath Health (right)

Clearwater – Empath Health and Hospice of Marion County (HMC) announced today that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to begin the process of affiliating HMC with Empath Health. The not-for-profit organization currently has three hospice organizations operating within its network including Tidewell Hospice, Suncoast Hospice and Suncoast Hospice of Hillsborough. This year Empath Health was also awarded the initial Certificate of Need to operate hospice services in Polk, Highlands and Hardee counties.

“Hospice of Marion County and Empath, with their legacy not-for-profit hospice and community health organizations share the spirit of mission and are dedicated to the highest quality of care and innovation,” said Rafael J. Sciullo, CEO of Empath Health.

“Much thought went into the decision to partner with another organization and Empath was the natural choice,” said Rick Bourne, CEO of Hospice of Marion County. “We share values, dedication to the community and an unwavering commitment to our colleagues.”

HMC has served the community since 1983. Their service excellence has been recognized by the Joint Commission with Deemed Status exhibiting that they not only meet but exceed standards set by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid. In addition to hospice services, the agency includes Carewell Supportive Care, a palliative care provider for pain and symptom management and durable medical equipment supplier Accent Medical that serves hospice patients and families and sells directly to the public. HMC also boasts four thrift stores that financially support the organization and will be establishing a foundation to ensure all donation monies remain in and continue to benefit the patient programs of Marion County.

“Looking towards the addition of Hospice of Marion County to Empath Health’s network of care is exciting,” said Jonathan Fleece, president of Empath Health. “Empath Home Health recently acquired Heal at Home Healthcare in Marion County, so with this new affiliation, Empath Health continues to expand our full life care to these communities.”

The organizations expect the integration to finalize in early 2023. HMC will retain its name and the executive leadership, including Bourne, will remain in place as part of the larger Empath Health organization.



Empath Health is the country’s largest not-for-profit health system delivering non-acute care and services through its skilled, medical and holistic programs to individuals with chronic, advanced and terminal illnesses and those experiencing grief. The Empath Health integrated network of care provides expert medical, counseling and support services including hospice; home health; palliative care; grief services; all-inclusive elder care; HIV/STI prevention services and support; primary care; physician services; and full-service pharmacy and durable medical equipment (DME). Empath Health is honored to have more than 22,000 people enrolled in our Full Life Care services in north central, west central and southwest Florida. We have nearly 90 combined years of experience serving individuals during some of their most vulnerable times. Our wide variety of community-based programs reflects our commitment to the preservation of our charitable mission.


About Hospice of Marion County (HMC): A not-for-profit locally operated hospice, HMC has provided compassionate end-of-life care for patients and their families since 1983. Patients may receive services in their own home, assisted living facility, nursing home or in one of our three hospice houses. A comprehensive hospice model, HMC is the county’s third largest healthcare company and earned Deemed Status designation from the Joint Commission, the national gold standard for quality healthcare.