Media Release

Partners in Care:Together for Kids Program

Tuesday, October 7, 2008 1:00 AM

12:45 p.m.

ALACHUA COUNTY, FL - The Florida Department of Health (DOH) Deputy Secretary/ State Health Officer for Children's Medical Services (CMS), Joseph Chiaro, M.D., announced today that Hospice of the Nature Coast and CMS Gainesville has been approved to provide pediatric palliative care services to the children and families of Alachua County who are enrolled in the Children's Medical Services Network.

CMS in Gainesville, in collaboration with Hospice of the Nature Coast, located in High Springs, and the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) will provide the "Partners in Care:Together for Kids Program"  (PIC:TFK). Hospice of the Nature Coast will provide PIC:TFK services through their local children's program "Herry's Kids".

The PIC:TFK program's primary goal is to provide additional support to families and their children who are at risk due to their chronic health condition.   PIC:TFK services include pain and symptom management, therapeutic counseling, expressive therapies for young children, respite, specialized nursing and personal care.  Palliative care is an approach to provide total comprehensive comfort-oriented care for children, adolescents, and families as a whole.  Its purpose is to enhance quality of life, minimize suffering, relieve causes of distress, and provide emotional and spiritual support through interdisciplinary services and interventions.

CMS Nurses and Hospice of the Nature Coast are now working on identifying children and their families who are eligible and encouraging them to enroll in the program.  

"We are very excited about partnering with Nature Coast who are experts in providing palliative care and palliative support services", says Maggie Bednar, Nursing Director for Gainesville CMS.

For more information, contact CMS Executive Community Health Nursing Director, Sharon Surrency at (352) 334-1409

The goal of the Alachua County Health Department is to promote, protect, maintain and improve the health and safety of all citizens and visitors.





  • Mark Sexton
  • Communications & Legislative Affairs Director
  • Phone: 352-374-5204
  • Cell: 352-283-2317

If you have a disability and need an accommodation in order to participate in a County program, service or public meeting, please contact the Alachua County Equal Opportunity Office at 352-374-5275 at least 2 business days prior to the event. TTY users please call 711 (Florida Relay Service).