April 21, 2009


Keith Sanderson Presents Public Health Lecture on Health Care Job Market

“The Health Care Job Market: Is it Healthy?” was the focus of a public health lecture at Northeast Alabama Community College on April 14 as part of a series of free lectures on health issues for people in the College’s service area. The lecture was presented by Keith Sanderson, President and Founder of ABC Hospice, Inc. Approximately 150 people attended.

Sanderson was introduced by Susan Barron, NACC Events Planner, who said, “We welcome you and thank you being here today. Mr. Sanderson is a long-time resident of Rainsville and his business covers five counties. He is an Auburn graduate and has owned several businesses prior to ABC Hospice. Mr. Sanderson will speak about the health care job market and Hospice care.”

Sanderson thanked those in attendance and expressed appreciation for the opportunity. He said, “I grew up with a pharmacist as a father, and as a child I remember well his old-time drug store. It was there that I met many of my father’s peers, and they influenced me to do what I am doing today in the health care field.”

Sanderson presented facts and statistics on the topics of ABC Hospice, Inc. (which he founded in 2005), higher education opportunities at NACC, the health care job market, and career opportunities.

ABC Hospice, Inc., in its fifth year of operation, serves DeKalb, Jackson, Cherokee, Marshall, and Madison counties. It is licensed by the Alabama Department of Public Health, certified by the Medicare/Medicaid Services Center, a member of Alabama Hospice Organization, and a member of the National Hospice Palliative Care Organization. The mission of ABC Hospice is “to provide world-class care to all that we serve by ever upholding our core values of empathy, respect, compassion, and integrity,” said Sanderson.

He defined hospice care as the treatment that enhances comfort and improves the quality of an individual’s life during the last phase of life, six months or less. “We educate the patient about what to expect, educate the patient’s family on expectations, and enhance the patient’s life with physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs,” said Sanderson.

Careers in hospice care may include: administrative, clergy/pastoral, customer service, home health aides/certified nursing assistants, marketing, medical director, and nurses.

“NACC provides many health education opportunities in nursing, EMS/Paramedic, medical assistant, radiology, certified nursing assistant (non-credit), pre-pharmacy, pre-medicine, and programs which will springboard a student to other fields,” said Sanderson. “I attended Northeast. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I had not gone to Northeast and taken advantage of the opportunities provided. Use your education here to springboard you to wonderful opportunities. This is an outstanding institution.”

He explained that 2.6 million total jobs were lost in 2008, the highest since 1945. Looking around the room he said, “In our lifetime, this is the worst job market we have seen. During 2008, the health care job market added 487,000 jobs. In the worst recession in our lifetime, health care jobs are still available,” he continued.

“Is the health care job market healthy? The bottom line is that there are no signs yet that this downturn is affecting employment opportunities in health care,” said Sanderson. “It is healthy, yes, and growing. Every part of the industry is growing. I plan to be here in the future taking care of those in need; my question to you is -- will any of you choose the health care path?”

The following additional information was provided by Sanderson during the question and answer session: Hospice is paid for, usually by Medicare, but the care is provided to those who qualify even it they are indigent and cannot pay. They receive the same quality care of those who can pay. Ages of Hospice patients range from one year old to 100 years old; there is no minimum or maximum age. Work experience of those working in Hospice is dictated by the market, of those who are available. Hospice care is not restricted to cancer patients only; there are patients with heart conditions, hydrocephalus, COPD, pulmonary disease, dementia, and Alzheimer’s--anything that is diagnosed as terminal, which encompasses a lot of illnesses. If patients improve while on hospice, they are discharged and can be re-evaluated at a future time. Wherever a patient is determines where their care is provided; it must be their legal residence.

Following the program, Barron stated, “We thank Mr. Sanderson for being with us today. Thank all of you for being here.”

For more information about the Health Care public lecture series, contact Susan Barron, Director of Events Planning at or phone ext. 248.


Welcoming Keith Sanderson to the NACC campus is Susan Barron, Director of Events Planning at NACC.

(Article written by and photo taken by Debra A. Barrentine, Director of Promotions and Marketing)