Hospice of Santa Barbara officially opened its doors in 1974, making it the second oldest hospice program in the United States. Alice Heath, who founded Hospice of Santa Barbara with the help of Altrusa Club and other interested citizens, served as our founding President and first Executive Director.
In 1980, Hospice of Santa Barbara partnered with the Santa Barbara Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) to participate in the Hospice Demonstration Project- a federally funded study that made hospice care reimbursable by Medicare. In 1990, Hospice of Santa Barbara relinquished its home health agency license to collaborate again with the VNA to provide hospice services.
Today Hospice of Santa Barbara is a volunteer hospice organization- a hospice that emphasizes the emotional, social and spiritual care needs of the terminally ill and their families. As a volunteer hospice organization, we provide all our services free of charge. We do not provide nursing care. We do work closely with all home health agencies, certified hospice programs and private duty agencies to meet the nursing needs of patients.
In 2001 Gail M. Rink assumed leadership of Hospice of Santa Barbara, Inc. We celebrated our 30th anniversary in 2004; the same year, we received the 2004 Health Care Hero Award from the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics.
2007 was a milestone year in our growth and development, including a generous gift from the DiStefano Trust to the Santa Barbara Hospice Foundation, which accepts and invests endowment funds to sustain and enrich the many programs of Hospice of Santa Barbara. Annual income from our endowment provides for our administrative costs; therefore all donations from the community go directly to the support and extension of our services.
In 2015, David Selberg assumed to role of Chief Executive Officer of Hospice of Santa Barbara and works to lead the organization to continue to meet its mission to care for anyone experiencing the impact of life-threatening illness or grieving the death of a loved one.