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Hospice announces CEO to resign early next year

The Center for Hospice & Palliative Care is looking for a new leader following the announcement Friday that its president and chief executive officer will resign at the end of her contract term early next year.

Patricia Ahern arrived in March 2014 from Park Ridge, Ill., where she served in a similar capacity at Rainbow Hospice and Palliative Care. Ahern had served as chief executive of Rainbow Hospice since 1996.

A lifelong resident of the Chicago area until her move here, Ahern earned a master’s in business administration from North Park University, a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University, and a diploma in nursing from St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, Ill.

Ahern replaced Flint Besecker, who served as chief of the Cheektowaga-based organization for a little more than two years, until January 2013.

“My primary goal from Day One was to ensure that Hospice Buffalo had no greater priority than providing gentle, compassionate care to those in the community suffering with serious illness, including their families and caregivers. Through the development and dedication of our wonderful employees, we have been able to achieve that goal,” Ahern said in a statement released Friday by the organization. “I am extremely proud of all we have accomplished during my time here."

Ahern could not be reached Friday evening for further comment.

The center, the parent organization of Hospice Buffalo, announced that Dr. Christopher Kerr, chief medical officer, will act as interim chief executive until a successor is named.

E.J. Butler, chairman of the center's board of trustees, said he hoped to have a new CEO identified within six months. He also praised Ahern, describing her tenure as "significant and indelible," and characterized the situation as her being "ready to move on."

"Pat felt that what she came here to do has been accomplished," he said.

In a 2014 interview with The Buffalo News, Ahern, 60, talked about her decision to move to Buffalo.

"Buffalo was always one of very, very few, extremely well-regarded, highly respected hospice programs in the nation that I always thought, if a call came, I would listen," she said. "Buffalo really set the pace for all of the rest of us. In Chicago, at Rainbow, when we would work on our periodic strategic plans, we would look to see what Buffalo did."

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