After nearly three decades of leadership, Gail McGillis, the CEO of Hospice Care Plus based in Madison County, has announced her retirement.

Gail McGillis, CEO of Hospice Care Plus, is retiring after 26 years of service.

A master’s-prepared nurse, Gail came to Hospice Care Plus in 1994 from the University of Kentucky, where she served as a clinical nurse manager.  At that time, the young, grassroots hospice organization employed 25 staff and served 50 patients daily through its home-hospice program. Under her leadership, the non-profit grew to serve over 130 patients and families daily in three programs: home-hospice care, inpatient hospice care at the Compassionate Care Center, and home-palliative care.

“It’s been my greatest honor to serve in this role,” says Gail. “It was immediately clear when I began here that the founders and staff were truly passionate about this organization and its care, and it’s been a privilege to build on that legacy for 26 years. The community support from the very beginning has been outstanding, and it has remained so all these years. I feel fortunate to have been part of this wonderful organization and to have worked with so many compassionate staff and volunteers along the way.”

Major milestones during Gail’s tenure include enhancing care by adding a full medical team comprised of a chief medical director, an associate and assistant medical director, and two nurse practitioners; expanding services into nursing homes and assisted living facilities; and creating new programs such as home-based palliative care, bereavement care for the community, and in-house pharmacy services. In 2003, Gail launched the fundraising effort to build the Compassionate Care Center, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2018. More recently, she added an in-house durable medical equipment company to improve care and save costs and created several new programs, including pet therapy, a veteran’s partnership, and more. Gail voluntarily sought and won accreditation by the Joint Commission in 1997, and the accreditation has been maintained continuously since. Other achievements under her leadership include high family satisfaction, patient care, and quality scores along with high staff retention rates. 

Hospice Care Plus now employees 100 part-time, full-time, and flex employees; enjoys the support of 120 volunteers; and cares for 800 patients and families yearly, in addition to those who receive bereavement care and community education on hospice care, caregiver issues, advance care planning, and grief and loss.

Both Gail and Hospice Care Plus have received several awards. For Hospice, the most recent is the national Hospice Honors Award. Gail has earned the Distinguished Leader Award from the Kentucky Association of Hospice and Palliative Care (KAHPC) and several local honors. She is a past president of both KAHPC and the Kentucky Hospice Network, has served on the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s (NHPCO) education committee, and has presented at multiple state and national conferences.

The search for a new CEO was launched August 20 and a new hire is expected by November. The full position posting can be viewed on Indeed.

Donna Angel, president of Hospice’s Board of Directors, says the governing body is working with a staff-level committee on the search, and both are committed to finding a leader with a deep commitment to non-profit care and to the organization’s mission of providing care for all, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay.

“We’re confident we’ll have an excellent pool of candidates who will want to continue the tradition of mission-based care started by the founders and nurtured so successfully by Gail,” says Donna. “Kentucky is a desirable environment for hospice professionals. Hospices in Kentucky work in a collaborative spirit and the state is considered a national leader in terms of care outcomes.”

Hospice Care Plus is the sole provider of hospice, home palliative, and bereavement care in Estill, Jackson, Lee, Madison, Owsley and Rockcastle counties. The non-profit organization provides all care and programs regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. To learn more or to inquire about services, contact or call 859-986-1500.