From the moment you meet Hospice Austin Chief Medical Officer Bob Friedman, it’s obvious he cares, really cares, about his patients, his staff, and the delivery of end of life care that honors the values and goals that a patient holds dear. It is with great sadness that we announce his retirement, but Hospice Austin is so fortunate that he has been at the helm of our medical services for more than 10 years.
Dr. Bob, as he is affectionately known, has been a hospice and palliative care physician since 1995 and a family practitioner since 1983, serving urban and rural communities. As Chief Medical Officer of Hospice Austin and President of Austin Palliative Care, he provided comprehensive end-of-life care while promoting best practices for the delivery of hospice and palliative care. As a member of the Hospice Austin administrative team, he was also involved in clinical administration, providing guidance and direction in both hospice and palliative medicine. He was also responsible for supervising and collaborating with the physicians and nurse practitioners of Austin Palliative Care.
“When I compared notes with my colleagues nationally,” said former Hospice Austin Executive Director Marjorie Mulanax, “they always told me how lucky we are to have Dr. Bob Friedman as our chief medical officer. He is clinically excellent, administratively excellent, a fantastic supervisor and a great mentor to his physicians and nurse practitioners. And he’s always been there for so many of us when we’ve had our own personal time of crisis. He is beloved. We’ve been so fortunate that he has chosen to work at Hospice Austin all these years.”
Dr. Bob was instrumental in successfully establishing a robust community-based palliative care program, the only program of its kind in Austin, to provide palliative services to patients wherever they call home.
He established the Dell Medical School medical student and resident rotation for inpatient hospice care experience at Hospice Austin’s Christopher House and collaborated with the creation of the Dell Medical School Hospice & Palliative Fellowship program.
In collaboration with Marjorie Mulanax and Dr. Kate Tindall, he achieved a contract through the Travis County Medical Access Program for funding for APC patients with no insurance or other source of funding.
Dr. Bob is board certified in Family Medicine and in Hospice & Palliative Medicine. He is also a Fellow with the American Academy of Family Practice and with the American Academy of Hospice & Palliative Medicine. In addition, he is a board certified hospice medical director.
As an educator, Bob devoted over 20 years to providing educational programs about hospice and palliative medicine, including symptom management (physical, psychosocial, emotional and spiritual) and counseling in the end-of life setting. His audiences have included hospice and palliative care physicians, nurse practitioners, hospice nurses, other hospice discipline members, community physicians, community nurses and the general public.
He has worked regionally and nationally to help shape the future of palliative care and ensure access of palliative care services for all.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve all of you over the last 10-plus years,” Dr. Bob said in his final message to staff. “I’ve been truly blessed to have spent this time living in that rare space of right place, right time, and right people. I could not have dreamed of a better way to close out my career. I have learned so much from all of you and you have all helped me to become a better person. I look forward to continue hearing great things about Hospice Austin and Austin Palliative Care.”