October 2017 | Hospice by the Bay leadership today announced that it has hired James Mittelberger, MD, MPH, FACP as Chief Medical Officer. Mittelberger, a nationally-known expert in the field of hospice and palliative care, joined the organization in September. As Chief Medical Officer, he will oversee medical quality for Hospice by the Bay and help 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,” reported 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, life-long passion for enhancing patient care and shares our mission of providing high quality, compassionate care.”
Bay Area roots /career motivated by personal experience
“I see this as ‘coming back home,’ ” reported Mittelberger. Born and raised in San Francisco, he is pleased to return to his roots. “But, it is more than that. 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,” he explained. 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. 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,” he concluded. “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 (Eden Prairie, MN). He has also served as Chief, Division of Geriatrics at Alameda County Medical Center (Oakland); President/Chair of the OakCare Medical Group (Oakland); and, Medical Director at the Over 60’s Health Center (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 numerous professional publications and a member of numerous state and national committees formed to address hospice and palliative care. He is a fellow of the prestigious 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 Masters of Public Health at the University of Washington (Seattle). He resides in Oakland with his wife of 29 years and has two children.