Leonard to retire from Our Hospice

Laura Leonard, president of Our Hospice of South Central Indiana and Palliative Care, will retire at the end of this year after nine years of leading the organization.

Leonard succeeded Our Hospice founder, Sandy Carmichael, who led the local hospice organization from its inception in 1980. Laura joined Our Hospice in November 2013. During Leonard’s tenure, Our Hospice has:

  • grown the number of patients served annually from 1,100 patients to more than 1,450
  • expanded the geographic footprint from 15 to 16 counties served
  • increased the number of staff from 148 to 170
  • expanded Bereavement care service to include children’s groups and outreach
  • launched Palliative Care as a new medical specialty in 2019 currently serving over 350 patients
  • initiated an endowment for future sustainability of unfunded or under-funded services including Palliative Care, Bereavement Care and the Hospice Center
  • strengthened and expanded the leadership structure and the strategic planning capability of the organization
  • set the path for growth and financial sustainability

“Under Laura’s guidance, the organization has grown in so many ways. She has spearheaded the increase in the number of patients cared for, in the community outreach and impact, and has also increased philanthropic support of our local hospice,” said Our Hospice Board of Director’s President, Tom Dowd. “By far, her greatest achievement was the launching of Palliative Care, a service that is a critical need in the post-acute health continuum of care. Launching a service line that receives only 14 cents on the dollar in reimbursement was a challenge, but she met the obstacles head on as she drove toward the vision of bringing Palliative care to our community. We will miss her, but she leaves Our Hospice and Palliative Care in a great position for the future and we wish her well in her retirement.”

Leonard began her career with Columbus Regional Health in 2000 as the Diversity Adviser, becoming Director of Diversity Strategy, and eventually Director of Volunteer Services and Diversity Strategy before accepting the position of President and Administrator of Our Hospice of South Central Indiana.

She has been active in the community throughout her tenure working with the Spanish-speaking population, Volunteers in Medicine (now VIMCare), Healthy Communities, the CRH Auxiliary and Gift Shop and is a former board member of the Heritage Fund, the Community Foundation of Bartholomew County, Su Casa Columbus, the IUPUC Diversity Council and the Latin American Education Coalition.

“I have worked with Laura for more than 20 years, both in her various leadership roles within Columbus Regional Health and serving as a board member of Our Hospice. Throughout Laura’s leadership tenure, Our Hospice has worked closely with CRH to extend the continuum of care by caring for patients who are managing a serious illness, and by bringing comfort to those near the end of life. Laura has been a valuable partner, and her contributions will be long-remembered. She will be missed, and I wish her much happiness in her well-deserved retirement,” said Jim Bickel, CEO of Columbus Regional Health and Our Hospice board member.

Leonard said it has been “a special privilege” to lead Our Hospice.

”The dedication of the staff to our mission and the gratitude of the patients and families we care for are forever imprinted on my heart. Leading Our Hospice and Palliative Care has been a true blessing and has given me much more than I have given to the organization. I’m deeply grateful to every staff member for their willingness to follow my lead as they each contributed to my life and my progress every day. I know the new president, leadership team, and staff will continue to provide the highest quality care, delivered with compassion and grace for many years to come.”

Leonard and her husband, Doug, plan to remain active in the Columbus community, she said.