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Oaklawn Hospice staff is awarded federal agency’s top rating

MARSHALL – A federal medical oversight agency has presented Oaklawn Hospice’s staff with its highest rating for family and patient support and satisfaction.

The five-star award by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is based on scores compiled through the agency’s Hospice Quality Reporting Program during 2021.

“Our organization is the only hospice in the region to receive the five-star designation,” said Carolle Hicks, RN, HCS-D, administrator of Oaklawn Hospice.

“In fact, we are one of just six hospice organizations in Michigan to receive this rating,” she added. That region includes Calhoun, Branch, Barry, Kalamazoo, Eaton, Ingham and Jackson counties.

In 2022, Oaklawn Hospice received a SHPBest Premier Performer family-satisfaction award for 2021, issued by Santa Barbara, California-based Strategic Healthcare Programs LLC. The new designation by Baltimore, Maryland-based CMS is based on information compiled during the same survey and compares all hospice agencies nationwide.

“I am absolutely thrilled that our hard-working, dedicated staff is receiving this honor,” Hicks said. “We are truly blessed to have such a wonderfully devoted team that goes above and beyond for our patients and families every day.”

Using a standardized survey, the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers & Systems measures such factors as communication with family, getting timely help, treating patients with respect, emotional and spiritual support, help for pain and symptoms and training families to care for the patients.

CMS sets regulations for all licensed hospice agencies in the country and provides reimbursement for the majority of hospice patients that use Medicare benefits, Hicks said. The annual SHPBest program was created to acknowledge hospice providers that consistently provide high-quality service to families and caregivers of patients receiving hospice care. 

“We provide care to our patients and families during some of the most difficult times of their lives,” Hicks said. “Our reward is knowing that the care we provide allows our patients to live as fully and comfortably as possible.”

Oaklawn Hospice’s office is at 13444 Preston Drive in Marshall, and may be contacted at (269) 789-3939. More information may be found online at

Oaklawn Hospice’s staff offer specialized services in medicine, nursing, home health aid, social work, spiritual care, volunteer services and bereavement counseling. Because of the range of skills among team members, patients and their families receive a variety of services that extend beyond physical care, including mental and spiritual assistance, Hicks said.

The organization’s bereavement services are made available free of charge for at least 13 months after the death of a loved one. Such services include an annual memorial, monthly bereavement support mailings, grief support groups, monthly lunch group and a lending library featuring grief support books.

CMS is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that administers the Medicare program and works in partnership with state governments to administer Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and health-insurance portability standards. Additional information about CMS’s Hospice Quality Reporting Program may be found online at

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