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Dr. Maura Brennan among first in nation to earn credential of Hospice Medical Director Certified

October 21, 2014

Dr. Maura Brennan, medical director, Baystate Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice, is among the inaugural national group of qualified hospice physicians – including only two in Western Massachusetts – to take and pass the first examination to earn the credential of Hospice Medical Director Certified.™

There are now 306 certified hospice medical directors in America, including 11 in Massachusetts and 35 throughout the six New England states.

The examination

The examination covered five main topic areas:

  • patient and family care
  • medical knowledge
  • medical leadership and communication
  • professionalism
  • system-based practice

According to Sally Weir, CAE, executive director, Hospital Medical Director Certification Board, based in Chicago, IL, their mission emphasizes "improving the quality of life for hospital patients and their families by promoting the excellence and professional competency of hospice medical directors."

It is the Certification Board’s belief that "voluntary credentialing demonstrates a physician’s commitment to professional development."

"Dr. Brennan is a wonderful educator and collaborator. Our multidisciplinary team looks forward to their weekly patient care meetings with her because they are always occasions for expanded learning from a caring expert," said Maura McQueeney, president, Baystate Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice/Post Acute Executive.

Dr. Brennan's background

Dr. Brennan, a longtime Baystate Medical Center physician, is dedicated to clinical care and research in geriatrics and palliative medicine. She also devotes herself to teaching the core principles of palliative medicine and geriatrics to the future internists and geriatricians in Baystate’s training programs. In addition to serving as the Hospice medical director, she is also the interim chief of Geriatrics, Palliative Care and Postacute Medicine, director of the Geriatrics Consultation Service and program director of the Geriatric Medicine Fellowship at Baystate Medical Center.

Dr. Brennan is board certified in Internal Medicine, Hospice and Palliative Medicine and Geriatric Medicine. She earned a master’s degree in Political Science from Columbia University in 1974, before turning her attention to medicine a decade later and earning her medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine. She came to Baystate Medical Center in 1989 as an intern. Following a Fulbright Award, some research in Japan, and a fellowship in general medicine/geriatrics at Baystate, she joined the Department of Medicine. In subsequent years, she also completed a fellowship in geriatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Over the years, she served as medical director at Springfield Municipal Hospital and medical director of the long-term care unit at Baystate Medical Center. In 1997, she was appointed the inaugural director of the Geriatric Consultation Program at Baystate. She is a member of numerous professional medical and honor societies including: the Massachusetts Medical Society, Hampden County Medical Society, Fulbright Association, Association of Director of Geriatrics Academics Programs, Gold Humanism Honor Society, American Geriatrics Society, American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and American College of Physicians. Her accomplishments and service to the latter three organizations have been recognized by her appointment to “fellow” status in those societies. She has also reviewed articles for the Journal of General Internal Medicine and Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Active in the community, Dr. Brennan has served on various boards over the years and is currently a BHS Corporator for the Mason-Wright Foundation and a member of the Small House/Model of Care Committee for Jewish Geriatric Services in Longmeadow, MA. She is a founding member of the Springfield area Palliative Care Providers Group.

"Hospice patients deserve to be cared for by the most qualified and compassionate clinicians, who know how to deliver the right care as people approach the end of their lives. I am proud of the nurses, chaplains, volunteers, social workers and others who work alongside me at the Baystate Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice. I wanted to do my part to ensure I meet the highest standards of knowledge to support my team. I am delighted to have passed the examination and am honored to be in the first group of certified hospice medical directors," Dr. Brennan said.