As a young nurse, Mary Taverna observed that terminally ill patients were lacking adequate, compassionate care. She decided there had to be a way to relieve the loneliness, isolation, and fear that haunted the last days of dying patients.
In 1976 Ms. Taverna joined Hospice of Marin, a fledgling organization dedicated to helping people die with dignity and support. Two years later she became the President of Hospice of Marin. Although the program was growing steadily, there was much resistance from other health care providers to the concept of hospice care. Undaunted, Taverna kept on.
Largely because of Mary Taverna’s persistence, Hospice of Marin was a true pioneer in the establishment of hospice, not only in the County, but also in the U.S. and elsewhere. In 1995 the National Hospice Organization honored Ms. Taverna as, “the individual who has done the most for hospice in the national and international level.”
Ms. Taverna is a true role model for hospice professionals. Health care providers from all over the country have come to Hospice of Marin for specialized training in end-of-life care. Taverna also helped write legislation to provide public health care insurance coverage for hospice services. This legislation, enacted in 1983, enabled the hospice movement to remain financially sustainable and led to private insurance coverage of hospice services as well.
Locally, under Mary Taverna’s leadership, Hospice of Marin has become a vital humanitarian organization that is known in Marin County for its high-quality patient care and strong community relationships.
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