News and Media

Ascend Hospice News

September 2016

Ascend President and CEO Anthony Spero, Ascend Hospice Executive Director, Carmella Libolt, and Ascend Home Health and Concierge Executive Director, Serena Niehaus present Chrissy Buteas and Don Pendley with the NJ Homecare and Hospice Association a donation for Aides Scholarships at the Ascend Leadership meeting held in NJ the week of September 26.

September 2016

Last week, the Ascend Leadership Team gathered in NJ to discuss and celebrate many milestones. Quality, new programs with commitment to the essence of the human experience at the end of life were just two topics. Jim Avery, MD, Palliative Care Specialist and Professor from the University of Virginia spoke about transformational leadership and the future of hospice in the United States. Many of the Ascend Medical Directors were in attendance along with Clinical Directors from California to Pennsylvania. President and CEO Anthony Spero likened his organization to the most in tune crew team similar to the reference from “The Boys in the Boat.” Over the four days, each state presented opportunities to increase access to Home Health, Concierge and Hospice for those patients and families in need.

July 26, 2016

Ascend Hospice meets with lawmakers about Care Plan Act

Last week, our own Kerrie Wallace, Executive Director of Massachusetts was asked to visit the U.S. House and Senate Representatives in Washington, DC to discuss End of Life Issues.
This year, Kerrie started working with the Hospice and Palliative Care Federation of MA as a member of their Education Committee and was invited to attend by the president of this organization.

In DC, she met with Massachusetts Congressman and Senators to review pending upcoming legislation.
She reviewed the proposed Care Plan Act which in addition to increase patient advocacy would allow for concurrent care.

In addition, she participated in reviewing the Rural Access to Hospice Act which would allow patients in rural areas to keep their primary care physicians even after electing physicians.
Currently, in rural areas patients are no longer to keep this relationship and therefor forgo Hospice election. In addition she was part of the group which asked for the Opposition of the MA Carve in of Hospice.

This bill would limit the autonomy of the Hospice Medical Director. Potentially, it could require Hospice to pay for services and or care not related to terminal diagnosis. This would threaten the financial sustainability of hospice.

February 10, 2016

How much do you know about heart disease? Find out now!

At Ascend Hospice, our mission is to increase the quality of life of those living with late and end stage heart failure and cardiac disease with our program, Essence of the Heart.

Test your knowledge about our heart health and hospice services by downloading and completing our informational quiz. Review our test with your physician to see how hospice services can benefit you.

February 9, 2016

Ascend Hospice Launches New Cardiac Care Program

In honor of American Heart Month, we are launching Essence of the Heart, a specialized hospice program for patients living with late and end stage heart failure and cardiac disease. In the program, we develop personalized treatment plans, educate patients on how to monitor their symptoms and eat healthy, and provide heart health supplies and information in order to minimize re-hospitalization and maximize quality of life.

September 21, 2015

Ascend Hospice Appoints Dr. Mark Lebenthal as Medical Director

Ascend Hospice, a leading health care provider specializing in a holistic and personalized approach to hospice care, announces Dr. Mark Lebenthal as a new Medical Director. With more than twenty-nine years of experience in the healthcare industry, Dr. Lebenthal is committed to providing exceptional health care, comfort, and compassion to those affected by terminal illness.


Dr. Mark Lebenthal specializes in cardiology and is certified in peripheral vascular noninvasive interpretation. He brings an unmatched level of industry knowledge and expertise to Ascend Hospice as a Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation (RPVI®). As Medical Director, he will lead and oversee all training in cardiac care for both Ascend Hospice and Ascend Home Health.

Dr. Lebenthal is an appointed staff member at Robert Wood Johnson University Medical Center and Somerset Medical Center. He currently holds the role of Director of Congestive Heart Failure Program at several locations throughout New Jersey, including Somerset Valley Rehabilitation & Nursing Center/CareOne Management and Somerset Medical Center.

His previous experience includes serving as the Director of the Department of Medicine and Director of Noninvasive Laboratory at Somerset Medical Center and as a member of the Cardiac Health Advisory Panel (CHAP) for New Jersey. He received his Medical Doctorate degree from Autonomous University of Guadalajara and completed his fellowship at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

Recently, Dr. Mark Lebenthal has been involved in several projects seeking to advance cardiovascular medicine. He serves as the Co-Director of Cardiac Screening for a Somerset Medical Center community project seeking to prevent sudden cardiac death for young athletes. In addition, he has been active in orchestrating clinical trials for patients with atrial fibrillation on anticoagulation.

Dr. Mark Lebenthal is an active member of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Cardiology. He was previously awarded with the Physician’s Recognition Award from the American Medical Association in 1984 and 1987.

Ascend Hospice welcomes Dr. Mark Lebenthal as the newest member of their specially trained team of professionals and plans to continue providing personalized, holistic care with his industry experience and expertise in cardiology.


September 18, 2015

Ascend Hospice Holds Physician Dinner 

Crista Cardillo, National Director of Business Development and the Riverside, CA team held a physician dinner last night with 30 IPPA and Riverside Community Medical Center doctors to represent the CA team. Guest speakers included Crista Cardillo discussing “CPO Billing” and Dr. Huynh, M.D discussing “ICD-10”.

Happy birthday to Dr. Tan and Crista Cardillo!







September 17, 2015

Ascend Hospice Appoints Carmella Libolt as Executive Director of NJ

Ascend Hospice announces Carmella Libolt as the new Executive Director of its New Jersey location. With more than twenty-seven years of experience in the healthcare industry, Libolt is dedicated to providing exceptional health care, comfort, and compassion to those affected by terminal illness.

Carmella Libolt specializes in healthcare management and is a certified Assisted Living Administrator. She brings an unparalleled level of industry knowledge and expertise to Ascend Hospice with her abilities developing, organizing, and implementing all programs, goals, and policies necessary in providing quality care and support to patients and their loved ones.

Carmella Libolt’s previous experience includes serving as the Branch Director of Loving Care Agency, Inc. and Executive Director of SolAmor Hospice, and managing a Psychology practice.

As the Executive Director of Ascend Hospice’s New Jersey location, she will oversee all marketing, fundraising, program development, and accounting efforts and act as the main representative of the organization to the public.

Ascend Hospice welcomes Carmella Libolt as the newest member of their specially trained team of professionals and plans to continue providing personalized, holistic care with her industry knowledge and expertise in hospice care and healthcare management.


September 10, 2015

Ascend Hospice Promotes Elizabeth Jones to Senior Executive Director

Ascend Hospice announces the promotion of Elizabeth Jones to Senior Executive Director of its Pennsylvania and Virginia locations.  Jones previously served as Executive Director of Ascend Hospice Pennsylvania.

Jones joined the Ascend Hospice team in 2006 serving as the National Director of Volunteer Services. In 2010 she was promoted to the role of Executive Director of the Pennsylvania office. Under her leadership, the Pennsylvania office grew to a census of 90 employees and volunteers and has helped in validating the clinical systems at Ascend Hospice.

With more than 32 years of experience in the hospice healthcare industry, Jones is committed to implementing and managing marketing campaigns designed to empower and develop Ascend Hospice and its mission to provide exceptional health care, comfort, and compassion to those affected by terminal illness.

Prior to her roles at Ascend Hospice, Jones served as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in the inpatient unit (IPU) at Hospice St. John. She has also led several successful marketing campaigns and fundraisers as the Director of Volunteers and Fundraising Events at Mercy Hospital Hospice Inpatient and Home Health before serving as the Marketing Manager for the IPU unit.

Ascend Hospice welcomes Elizabeth Jones to the new position and plans to continue providing personalized, holistic care with her industry expertise and experience.


September 7,  2015

Ascend Hospice Welcomes Dr. Kamran Tasharofi to Team

Ascend Hospice announces Dr. Kamran Tasharofi as the new Senior Medical Director. With more than fifteen years of experience in the healthcare industry, Dr. Tasharofi is committed to providing exceptional health care, comfort, and compassion to those affected by terminal illness.

Dr. Kamran Tasharofi brings an unparalleled level of industry knowledge and understanding to Ascend Hospice as a skilled internal medicine physician. He received his Medical Doctorate degree in Internal Medicine from Seton Hall University and his Research Doctorate degree in Medicine from Ross University School of Medicine.

Dr. Tasharofi serves as the President of Pioneer Medical Group and currently holds the roles of Medical Director and President at Union County Health Care Associates, and Attending Physician at several New Jersey hospitals including Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Trinitas Regional Medical Center, and Overlook Hospital. He is an Associate Medical Director at Elmora Hills Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center, and a Workforce Investment Board Member at County of Union. His previous experience includes serving as the Medical Director at Cranford Health Extended Care in Cranford, New Jersey.

Recently, the New Jersey Honor Legion (NJHL), a nonprofit charitable organization that sponsors and supports families of fallen police officers, children with disabilities, and more, recognized Dr. Tasharofi as an “Honored Citizen.” The award is given to private citizens who have contributed to the objectives of New Jersey’s law enforcement and to the goals of NJHL. The NJHL has only honored 155 people with Honored Citizen status since 1966.

Ascend Hospice welcomes Dr. Kamran Tasharofi as the newest member of their specially trained team of professionals and plans to continue providing personalized, holistic care with his industry expertise and experience.



June 2015

Everyone, Please join us in Congratulating Stephanie Scott, CNA in Massachusetts, as the recipient of the Ascend Employee of the Quarter award for 1st Quarter 2015!



May 2015

Ascend Hospice Honors our Veterans on Memorial Day

In honor of Memorial Day on Monday, May 25th, Ascend Hospice honors those that have served for our country and are never forgotten.

Ascend Hospice has an Individualized Veterans program that honors those in need at end of life with our best in class hospice team.

For more information click here.


President Anthony Spero speaking at the Home Care Leadership Summit in Palm Beach, FL

President of Ascend Health, Anthony Spero, will be speaking at the Home Care Leadership Summit, July 13-14, 2015, Palm Beach FL

For more information, click here.

April 2015

You’re invited to the Partners Nation Education Series

Join us at “It’s All in the Stars: Understanding the New Nursing Home Ratings” part of Partners National Education Series. Please click the link below the view the invitation for your state.

New Jersey





March 2015

Join us for an open house in honor of the art work of Carlos Ortiz

Please join us next Thursday at 4:30pm for an open house featuring Carlos Ortiz, Harriet Fink, and John Powers! For more information, please click here.


More blankets donated to Ascend Hospice

Leisure Village Quilting Group donated another 83 quilts to Ascend Hospice. These quilts surround our patients with the warm of friendship and the joy of laughter expressed through the volunteer quilters when they gather together regularly to sew these unique and special gifts.




Our New CEU Programs (Click on the list below) are coming this spring. 

CEU Programs List for Ascend Hospice


Recently, Chaplin Chip Roughton carried out the festivities of Purim at the office and with our patients. Celebrations like this are an amazing example of how our staff truly does provide best in class care!



Our PA Social Workers

We recently honored our social workers at the Ft. Washington office. Manju and her Intern Erica do an amazing job for our patients and their families. We are truly blessed to have such a dedicated staff. Each social worker received a small gift in recognition of their compassion, commitment, and amazing spirit in living the Ascend Hospice mission. On Tuesday, March 17th, we will be honoring our Lehigh Valley social worker. Thank you all so much for the work you do!


January 2015

Ascend Health’s President, Anthony Spero, will be Presenting at the 2015 AHCA/NCAL Symposium

Ascend Health, which includes Ascend Hospice, Home Health and Concierge Home Care, is pleased to announce Anthony Spero’s upcoming speaking engagement at the AHCA/NCAL Symposium February 23– 25, 2015.

This annual event offers healthcare professionals the opportunity to collaborate, learn and challenge each other through thoughtful and inspiring breakout sessions.

Staying true to Ascend Health’s mission, vision and values, Mr. Spero touches on the importance of holistic transparent care when building the patient-provider relationship. Below is a glimpse of what will be presented:

Seeing Care through the Eyes of the Person

Along with Ascend Health’s President Anthony Spero, this session will also be presented by post-acute thought leaders Andi Clark, RN, CEO, Andi Clark & Associates; Ed McMahon, PhD, Vice President, Quality, Sunrise Senior Living; and David Stordy, Chief Operating Officer, Mainstreet.

Session Description:
This session is dedicated to unlocking the power of innovation as the presenters ask participants to “see care through the eyes of the person.” Presenters will examine and discuss with participants a holistic approach to transparent care that embraces the partnership between the person and their family, and the physician and the interdisciplinary team. This partnership team develops a comprehensive plan of care that anticipates and responds to the personal and family needs, including physical comfort, and emotional, informational, cultural and spiritual learning.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Learn how to define transparent care across the continuum as it relates to the emerging new values and expectations of the individual
  • Learn how active listening will develop a trusting-caring-learning relationship with the person and their family, which is needed to develop a holistic, inclusive plan of care and healing
  • Understand how innovative technology contributes to a transparent environment, and encourages learning and independence
  • Imagine and examine how the person sees their healthcare setting today, and what they will see in the future, including innovative concepts and design that present a caring-healing environment

July 2014

Ascend Launches Rebranding Efforts

Care Alternatives, BergenCare Home Health, BergenCare Personal Touch and Total Care of Massachusetts are pleased to announce that they have just completed an exciting rebranding effort with their family of companies to better communicate their services as well as maintain continuity in the care they provide. Although this transformation includes new names, logos and uniforms, Ascend will still continue to provide the same best-in-class service for each and every one of their patients and their family members.

To reflect their commitment to delivering the highest standard of care and to position them as a progressive and high-reaching organization, they have chosen to rename their family of companies Ascend. Meaning “to move, climb, or go upward; to rise to a higher point”, their new name truly embodies their goals as a united company.

The Ascend family of companies now includes:
• Ascend Hospice, formerly Care Alternatives
Ascend Home Health, formerly BergenCare Home Health and Total Care of Massachusetts
Ascend Concierge Home Care, formerly BergenCare Personal Touch
• Ascend Rehab

Ascend strives to be recognized as a trustworthy leader in healthcare and is dedicated to inspiring people to live better lives through innovative, personalized health and wellness programs, products, and services.

View the video below to meet the dynamic team behind this innovative family of companies.

Ascend Launch Party – July 22nd 2014 – Cranford, NJ