About

Caris believes all patients and their family members deserve the best care and treatment throughout their time with us.

Our nursing professionals, staff and volunteers are committed to excellence, while reflecting our core values of compassion, accountability, respect, integrity and service – the Caris promise to you.

Caris has 28 offices in Tennessee, Virginia, Missouri, South Carolina and Georgia, and we are grateful to have been trusted with the well-being of more than 40,000 patients and their family members. Our unwavering commitment is to provide a graceful and peaceful end-of-life journey.

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About

Caris believes all patients and their family members deserve the best care and treatment throughout their time with us.

Our nursing professionals, staff and volunteers are committed to excellence, while reflecting our core values of compassion, accountability, respect, integrity and service – the Caris promise to you.

Caris has 28 offices in Tennessee, Virginia, Missouri, South Carolina and Georgia, and we are grateful to have been trusted with the well-being of more than 40,000 patients and their family members. Our unwavering commitment is to provide a graceful and peaceful end-of-life journey.

Message from our Founder, Norman McRae


I clearly remember the first time I saw a need for hospice care. My grandmother, the matriarch of our family, died of cancer at home. At the time, hospice care had not reached the mountains of North Carolina where I lived.

Later in my life, I attended divinity school where I had the opportunity to take a course on hospice through Hospice of Louisville (Kentucky). During this course, I found my life’s calling. I worked in hospice 15 years before starting Caris, using these years as valuable learning opportunities for how I could one day begin a hospice company that would provide the most excellent care possible for hospice patients and their loved ones.

In 2003, my wife, Linda, a registered nurse, and I took a leap of faith and started Caris along with our partner, National Healthcare. This partnership was a perfect match because we had a shared passion for bringing more high-quality hospice care to those in need.

We assembled a team of hard-working, compassionate employees, volunteers and medical directors who would help us lead Caris to becoming a world-class hospice provider.

At Caris, we believe in a personal approach to hospice care that caters to the unique physical, spiritual and emotional needs of each patient and their family. We do this by training our employees and volunteers with The Better Way – a list of promises that must be fulfilled during every patient visit.

We believe that The Better Way is the path to providing excellent hospice care where each patient is comfortable, safe and uniquely cared for.

I hope that if the need arises for hospice care, you will let Caris become a part of the journey and serve you or your loved one with the compassion and care you deserve.  

The Better Way

Each Caris employee and volunteer is trained through The Better Way program. Through this program, they learn a set of promises that we will uphold with each patient during their time under our care. These promises serve as our commitment to always doing what is right by our patients and their loved ones. Each promise is fulfilled during every patient visit to ensure that the needs and wishes of our patients and their loved ones are honored.

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Vision

Committed to being your world class hospice

Mission

Hospice care with grace

Values

Compassion

Accountability

Respect

Integrity

Service

The Better Way

Each Caris employee and volunteer is trained through The Better Way program. Through this program, they learn a set of promises that we will uphold with each patient during their time under our care. These promises serve as our commitment to always doing what is right by our patients and their loved ones. Each promise is fulfilled during every patient visit to ensure that the needs and wishes of our patients and their loved ones are honored.

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Vision

Committed to being your world class hospice

Mission

Hospice care with grace

Values

Compassion

Accountability

Respect

Integrity

Service

  • Founded Caris in 2003
  • Has more than 30 years of experience in hospice care
  • Earned Master of Divinity and Master of Public Administration

Norman McRae

Founder

Norman McRae, founder of Caris Healthcare, has more than 30 years of experience in hospice care. Originally operating out of a home office, Norman began Caris in 2003 with a vision to provide exceptional, mission-driven hospice service – not just in major metropolitan areas but wherever there was a need.

Norman’s passion for hospice care began when he attended a class provided by Hospice of Louisville. Later, when studying for his master’s degree in public administration at the University of Kentucky, Norman wrote a business plan for a hospice company as his thesis.

Prior to beginning Caris Healthcare, Norman worked seven years as the head of the hospice division at Housecall Medical Resources, a Knoxville, Tennessee-based post-acute provider. After three years, he was promoted to CEO and improved operating margins in each division, leading the company through three successful accreditation surveys by The Joint Commission, an independent nonprofit that accredits health care organizations in the United States.

Norman also served as the first full-time employee and president of Hospice of Hope in Maysville, Kentucky, where he built a community-based provider that continues to thrive. Under his leadership, Hospice of Hope quickly attained Medicare certification, became the first hospice in Kentucky and Ohio to be accredited by The Joint Commission and expanded its service area to 12 counties across northern Kentucky and southern Ohio. Norman also created the Hope Endowment, which had assets of more than $7 million when he left the organization in 1997.

An advocate for high-quality, end-of-life care, Norman is an active board member for Hospice Action Network; National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization; and Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence. Norman also serves as director of Knoxville-based Clayton Bank and Trust.

Norman earned a Master of Public Administration (MPA) in health care at the University of Kentucky and a Master of Divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He has a Bachelor of Arts from Mars Hill University in Mars Hill, North Carolina.

  • Helped implement
    “The Better Way”
  • Joined Caris within first year of operation
  • Served in multiple senior leadership positions before being named CEO

Paul Saylor

CEO

Paul Saylor joined Caris Healthcare in 2004 and served in multiple senior leadership positions before becoming president and CEO in 2018.

Paul started his career at Caris as regional director of operations. In 2006, he was promoted to vice president of operations and in 2009 became chief operating officer.

He helped lead the implementation of Caris’ signature program, The Better Way, a customer service approach based on 20 promises that each Caris staff member must fulfill during interactions with patients, referral sources, volunteers, fellow staff members and the community.

Paul’s ascent to CEO was part of a leadership succession plan announced in 2016 by Norman McRae, founder of Caris Healthcare.

Prior to joining Caris, Paul worked at Apria Healthcare as a regional logistics manager. He also worked for American HomePatient, a predecessor of Apria Healthcare, and served as an administrator for Housecall Hospice – where he worked with McRae – and as general manager of Housecall Medical Resources.

Paul served as an examiner for the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence and the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA).

He is an active board member of the nonprofit that the company operates to support the mission of Hospice Ethiopia, which partners with Caris Healthcare under the auspices of Global Partners in Care.

Paul earned an MBA with a major in management from Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee.

  • Offers expertise and extensive home health experience
  • Oversees Caris’ cloud-based IT infrastructure
  • Served as finance director for Housecall Medical Resources

Alan Seivers

Senior Vice President of Finance

Alan Seivers, who has extensive experience in home health and hospice care, ensures that Caris Healthcare remains in excellent financial standing and can operate debt-free with the resources needed to fulfill its mission of “hospice care with grace.”

Alan also oversees the company’s cloud-based IT infrastructure that supports both urban and rural locations.

Since joining Caris in 2005, Alan directed accounting, information technology, scheduling and call center operations as the company expanded across five states. He implemented cost containment initiatives that rank the company in the 95th percentile nationwide.

Alan previously served as director of finance for Housecall Medical Resources in Knoxville, Tennessee, and held multiple accounting positions with Diversicare Management Services, a regional nursing home provider.

Alan graduated from Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee, with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and earned his master’s degree in business administration from the University of Tennessee at Martin.

  • Has 40 years of nursing experience
  • Developed clinical teaching programs
  • Served as Tennessee Hospice Organization board member

Bonita Ledgerwood, RN, CHPN

Vice President of Patient Care

Bonita Ledgerwood has dedicated most of her 40-year nursing career to hospice and home health. As vice president of patient care, she directs a clinical staff that provides hands-on care to approximately 1,100 patients and families each day.

Bonita joined Caris in 2006 as regional director of clinical care, and within five years, she was promoted to her current position. During her tenure, Bonita implemented a new electronic system for staff to chart each patient visit, and she developed clinical teaching and orientation programs.

Prior to joining Caris, Bonita spent 12 years with Baptist Home Care in Knoxville, Tennessee, where she served as a supervisor, trainer, staff education manager, assistant clinical director, associate director of nursing and quality assurance coordinator.

Bonita served two two-year terms on the board of the Tennessee Hospice Organization (THO). She also has been an examiner for the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence (TNCPE).

Bonita earned an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) from Cleveland State Community College in Cleveland, Tennessee, and Bachelor of Science in health arts from St. Francis University in Joliet, Illinois.

In 2008, Bonita obtained certification as a Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse (CHPN) through the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.

  • 7 years at Caris
  • Continuous improvement of benefit and performance management programs at Caris
  • 20 years of professional HR experience

Gary Fleenor, PHR

Vice President of Human Resources

Gary Fleenor transformed Caris Healthcare’s human resources platform to support the company’s evolution from a statewide hospice provider to a large, multisite provider with offices in five states. A certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR), he has served as vice president of human resources for Caris since 2011.

Caris’ workforce has increased by nearly 70 percent since 2011 and to keep pace with the company’s growth, Gary established new procedures to improve efficiency in hiring processes, introduced a new performance improvement method and modified compensation and benefits plans to better suit the needs of Caris employees.

Gary’s experience includes human resources management at two of the world’s largest industrial and engineering companies. He served as a strategic human resources business partner for six years at Siemens Molecular Imaging. He also worked as a senior human resources generalist for CTI Molecular Imaging, Inc. and a human resources representative for Bechtel National Inc.

  • Certified as medical record compliance expert
  • Has 10 years of hands-on nursing experience
  • Serves as at-large board member of The Carolinas Center

Sylvia L. Singleton

Corporate Compliance Officer

An expert on medical record review and compliance, Sylvia Singleton oversees the design, structure, implementation, education and auditing of the company’s comprehensive corporate compliance plan.

She also is responsible for evaluating all calls to the Caris Values Line (1-800-273-8452), which employees, volunteers, medical directors, vendors and contracted partners are encouraged to contact if they see anything amiss within any of their interactions with Caris Healthcare or its representatives. Under company policy, the caller remains anonymous without any retaliation.

Sylvia started at Caris Healthcare in 2012 as an internal auditor, and within one year, was promoted to her current role as corporate compliance officer. She is certified by the Compliance Certification Board of the Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA).

Prior to joining Caris, Sylvia, who also has 10 years of hands-on nursing experience, worked with Palmetto GBA/BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, one of the nation’s largest providers of high-volume claims and transaction processing.

As a leader and advocate for hospice quality and compliance, Sylvia is an at-large member of the Board of Directors of The Carolinas Center, the leading voice for quality end-of-life care in the region. She also served as a presenter for The Carolinas Center and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

Sylvia attended the University of South Carolina before changing her academic focus to nursing. She obtained her associate degree in nursing from Central Carolina Technical College in Sumter, South Carolina.

  • Provides company-wide strategic planning
  • Licensed as nursing home administrator
  • Learned health care from the ground up

Brad Rector

Senior Vice President of Operations

Brad Rector joined Caris Healthcare in 2014 as a regional director of operations and in April 2016 was promoted to senior vice president of operations. A licensed nursing home administrator with years of experience with the National HealthCare Corporation (NHC), Brad provides strategic and operational planning across Caris.

Brad started as an intern in finance and facilities management at NHC. He obtained his license as a certified nursing assistant, which fueled his desire to work in health care and showed him what it took to provide hands-on, high-quality and compassionate care. Brad joined NHC’s administrator-in-training program and quickly rose through the ranks.

Brad is active in the Columbia, Tennesse, community and has been a member of the board of directors of the Maury County Chamber and Economic Alliance; Columbia Children’s Museum; Zion Christian Academy; and People Helping People.

A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Brad spent most of his youth in the St. Louis, Missouri, area and graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science in finance.

 

Caris Gives Back

Your Life, Our Mission Hospice Foundation, a nonprofit operated by Caris Healthcare, supports the expansion of high-quality hospice care for those in need.

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Caris Gives Back

Your Life, Our Mission Hospice Foundation, a nonprofit operated by Caris Healthcare, supports the expansion of high-quality hospice care for those in need.

Learn More