Hospice by the Bay leadership announced on Monday that it has hired James Mittelberger as chief medical officer.
Mittelberger is a nationally known expert in hospice and palliative care, the Larkspur-based organization said. He joined the hospice in September, overseeing medical quality and is helping to design new clinical programs as the organization expands its services in the Bay Area.
“We are absolutely thrilled to have Dr. Mittelberger as part of our senior team,” said Kitty Whitaker, CEO. “He has had a stellar 20-year career as a leader of some of the nation’s largest and most prestigious hospice and palliative organizations, has built countless patient care programs and brings to us a breadth and depth of expertise that will serve our communities well. Importantly, he brings a deep, lifelong passion for enhancing patient care and shares our mission of providing high quality, compassionate care.”
Mittelberger was born and raised in San Francisco.
“I see this as ‘coming back home,’ but, it is more than that,” he said in a statement. “I have been working at a national level and am excited to now be working with a world-class, community-based organization like Hospice by the Bay. My goal is clear — to make patient care the best it can possibly be — not just medically, but the entire system of care.”
Mittelberger developed an interest in end-of-life care as a young man before he attended medical school.
“My grandfather was very ill, and I helped care for him for a year and was at his bedside when he died,” said.
When his grandfather was admitted to a nursing home, Mittelberger quickly took training as a certified nursing assistant so that he could continue to participate in the care.
“It was a defining experience for me,” he said. “I learned first-hand how the health care system is not well-designed for patients facing a serious illness at home, or for their families. It’s not just about ‘medicine,’ but how the entire team and system of care addresses patient-centered goals. My professional path was set.
“Hospice by the Bay has a vision to further enhance its already exemplary patient care for patients facing serious illness at home, to develop innovations in patient care, and to serve more people in the Bay Area. Given its strong reputation, dedicated team, and affiliation with an academic institution such as UCSF Health, it is poised to continue to be world-class. I am honored to be part of the organization.”
Most recently, Mittelberger served as medical director and chief medical officer of Optum Center for Palliative and Supportive Care in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. He has also served as chief of the division of geriatrics at Alameda County Medical Center in Oakland, president and chairman of the OakCare Medical Group in Oakland and medical director at the Over 60s Health Center in Berkeley.
He is a clinical professor of medicine at UCSF School of Medicine.
A certified hospice medical director and a certified hospice and palliative care physician, Mittelberger is the author of a number of professional publications and is a member of multiple state and national committees formed to address hospice and palliative care. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians as well as the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.
He received his medical degree at the University of California, San Diego, and his Master of Public Health degree at the University of Washington, Seattle. He lives in Oakland with his wife of 29 years and has two children.
The nonprofit Hospice by the Bay, an affiliate of UCSF Health, is the second-oldest hospice in the nation and the first in California. It provides compassionate end-of-life care for patients, support for their families, and grief counseling to anyone coping with loss in the counties of Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Sonoma as well as the cities of American Canyon, Napa and Vallejo.