Norman McRae Founder and CEO

normanCaris Healthcare Founder and CEO Norman McRae combines a heart for mission-driven, community-based hospice with an entrepreneur’s drive for developing and nurturing outstanding teams, running efficient operations, differentiating on quality outcomes, and identifying and meeting community need.

And that’s what he’s accomplished since founding Caris in 2003. Operating originally out of Norman’s home office, Caris has grown to serve patients and families from 27 locations in Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Missouri, caring for nearly 1,100 patients each day. But more important than the growth of Caris has been the way it has grown, anchored by the values of Compassion, Accountability, Respect, Integrity and Service and guided by the mission of being a world-class hospice.

Since his first inspiring exposure to hospice as a divinity student in Louisville, Kentucky, Norman had dreamed of starting his own hospice company. Later, when studying for his Masters in Public Administration at the University of Kentucky, Norman wrote a business plan for a hospice company as his masters’ thesis.

And having subsequently worked for community-based not-for-profit, all-volunteer and publicly traded proprietary hospices, Norman founded Caris Healthcare nearly 15 years ago with the vision of building a multi-site hospice committed to providing hospice care with grace—not just in major metro areas but wherever there was an unmet need for ready access to quality hospice care.

Key to providing hospice care with grace, have been two features of Caris’ patient-centered care. At admission, every patient is asked a basic question: “What are the three most important things we need to know about you to provide excellent care.” Three Most Important Things has become Caris’ benchmark to ensure it meets the needs of patients, no matter how unique or individualized. Caris is also guided by its 20 Better Way Promises, which inspire every Caris employee’s interactions with patients, families, referral sources, fellow staff members and volunteers, and the community.

Norman founded Caris after seven years with Housecall Medical Resources, a Knoxville-based post-acute provider specializing in home health, hospice, home infusion, respiratory therapy and home medical equipment. Norman joined Housecall as head of its hospice division and after three years was promoted to Chief Operating Officer. During his tenure, Norman led the hospice division to a successful financial turn-around and led the company through three successful Joint Commission accreditation surveys, improved operating margins in each division and rationalized a number of essential operations through strategic centralization.

Norman began his hospice career as a chaplain with Hospice of the Bluegrass, Lexington, Kentucky. But within two years he was presented with the opportunity to lead an all-volunteer hospice as it transitioned to a Medicare-certified, not-for-profit provider. As the first full-time employee and President of Hospice of Hope, Maysville, Kentucky, Norman built a community-based provider that continues to thrive today. Under his leadership, Hospice of Hope quickly attained Medicare certification, was the first hospice in Kentucky and Ohio to be accredited by The Joint Commission and expanded its service area to 12 counties across northern Kentucky and southern Ohio. Norman also created the Hope Endowment, which boasted assets of more than $7 million when he left the organization in 1997.

As an advocate for quality hospice and end-of-life care, Norman is an active member of the Board of Directors of the Hospice Action Network, the largest national organization dedicated to preserving and expanding access to hospice care in America by providing hospice advocates with the tools they need to fight for the hospice cause at home, in Washington and online. From 1997–2002, Norman served on the Board of Directors of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Closer to home, Norman is a member of the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence, a not-for-profit economic development organization whose mission is to drive organizational excellence in Tennessee. Norman also serves as a director of Knoxville-based Clayton Bank and Trust.

Under Norman’s leadership, Caris in 2007 formed a not-for-profit foundation to support the work and mission of the Hospice of Ethiopia, which is partnered with Caris Healthcare under the auspices of Global Partners in Care (formerly the Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa).

Norman holds a Master of Public Administration in Healthcare form the University of Kentucky, Lexington, and a Master of Divinity Degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky. He earned a Bachelor of Arts at Mars Hill University, Mars Hill, North Carolina.

excellence

Operational Excellence

In 2010, Caris was honored by a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award visit.
2014-03-05T21:02:51+00:00
excellence
In 2010, Caris was honored by a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award visit.
services

Exceptional Service

“Calling Caris wasn’t giving up on my wife. It was just the opposite – it gave her more.” —   Donald M.
2014-03-05T21:05:58+00:00
services
“Calling Caris wasn’t giving up on my wife. It was just the opposite – it gave her more.” —   Donald M.
services

Exceptional Service

“Our hospice nurse showed great care while working with my mom, and gave me tremendous support. God bless you all and Caris for doing what you do at the end of someone’s life.” —   Susan T.
2014-03-05T21:05:07+00:00
services
“Our hospice nurse showed great care while working with my mom, and gave me tremendous support. God bless you all and Caris for doing what you do at the end of someone’s life.” —   Susan T.
services

Exceptional Service

“The Caris hospice team was wonderful! My family could not have asked for any better care than what was given to my father. The nurses would talk to us as if they had no other patients at all. Please don’t change any of the care that you provide.”

—   Janie B.
2014-03-05T21:05:19+00:00
services
“The Caris hospice team was wonderful! My family could not have asked for any better care than what was given to my father. The nurses would talk to us as if they had no other patients at all. Please don’t change any of the care that you provide.” —   Janie B.
excellence

Operational Excellence

In 2014, the Caris Johnson City office was recognized by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization as a Level 4 “We Honor Veterans” partner.
2014-04-25T16:10:07+00:00
excellence
In 2014, the Caris Johnson City office was recognized by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization as a Level 4 “We Honor Veterans” partner.
excellence

Operational Excellence

In 2008, Caris was awarded the prestigious Excellence Award from the Tennessee Center of Performance Excellence.
2014-03-05T21:03:40+00:00
excellence
In 2008, Caris was awarded the prestigious Excellence Award from the Tennessee Center of Performance Excellence.
services

Exceptional Service

“I could never have words to tell my gratitude to Caris and their caring and compassionate staff! You are truly angels of mercy!” —   Maria S.
2014-03-05T21:04:23+00:00
services
“I could never have words to tell my gratitude to Caris and their caring and compassionate staff! You are truly angels of mercy!” —   Maria S.
excellence

Operational Excellence

In 2014, the Caris Myrtle Beach, SC and Somerville, TN offices received the Deyta Hospice Honors Award for achieving the highest levels of patient satisfaction.
2014-04-25T16:09:26+00:00
excellence
In 2014, the Caris Myrtle Beach, SC and Somerville, TN offices received the Deyta Hospice Honors Award for achieving the highest levels of patient satisfaction.
quality

Outstanding Patient Care

Ninety-three percent of Caris employees say they intend to stay with Caris for the next several years.
2014-03-05T21:02:15+00:00
quality
Ninety-three percent of Caris employees say they intend to stay with Caris for the next several years.
quality

Outstanding Patient Care

Eighty-eight percent of Caris employees say they would be likely to recommend Caris as one of the best places to work in the community.
2014-03-03T16:44:28+00:00
quality
Eighty-eight percent of Caris employees say they would be likely to recommend Caris as one of the best places to work in the community.
services

Exceptional Service

“Caris came into my son’s life at a time when he really needed kindness shown to him and I’m really thankful.” —   Roberta M.
2014-03-05T21:06:20+00:00
services
“Caris came into my son’s life at a time when he really needed kindness shown to him and I’m really thankful.” —   Roberta M.
quality

Outstanding Patient Care

Caris is grateful and honored to have touched the lives of more than 26,000 patients and their families in the last 10 years.
2014-03-05T21:02:31+00:00
quality
Caris is grateful and honored to have touched the lives of more than 26,000 patients and their families in the last 10 years.
services

Exceptional Service

“It takes special people to bear so many people’s burdens at such a critical time. I wouldn’t have done without Caris.” —   Mallory B.
2014-03-05T21:06:57+00:00
services
“It takes special people to bear so many people’s burdens at such a critical time. I wouldn’t have done without Caris.” —   Mallory B.
quality

Outstanding Patient Care

All Caris hospice teams include a nurse on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
2014-03-05T21:02:00+00:00
quality
All Caris hospice teams include a nurse on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
excellence

Operational Excellence

In 2011, Caris Director of Family Services David Fleming was awarded the Champion of Excellence award from the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence.
2014-03-05T21:03:23+00:00
excellence
In 2011, Caris Director of Family Services David Fleming was awarded the Champion of Excellence award from the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence.
services

Exceptional Service

“It was so beneficial to have someone with vast experience who could answer our questions so that we could feel that Mom was receiving the best care possible at all times. This service is so important to those whose life is ending as well as their families.” —   Gary M.
2014-03-05T21:04:02+00:00
services
“It was so beneficial to have someone with vast experience who could answer our questions so that we could feel that Mom was receiving the best care possible at all times. This service is so important to those whose life is ending as well as their families.” —   Gary M.
services

Exceptional Service

“I feel at Caris, we add life to days, not days to live.” —   Dr. Jamie Oakley
2014-03-05T21:06:40+00:00
services
“I feel at Caris, we add life to days, not days to live.” —   Dr. Jamie Oakley
services

Exceptional Service

“Why wait to call? I’d much rather have my husband comfortable for six months than six days.” —   Mallory B.
2014-03-05T21:05:39+00:00
services
“Why wait to call? I’d much rather have my husband comfortable for six months than six days.” —   Mallory B.
services

Exceptional Service

“I would like to thank the whole Caris team for their thoughtfulness. They made sure about my husband’s dignity and helped us to fulfill his last wishes. The Caris team that cared for Billy and the way you helped us was very special. There was always someone to give us that little touch so we could go that next step.” —   Margie W.
2014-03-05T21:04:53+00:00
services
“I would like to thank the whole Caris team for their thoughtfulness. They made sure about my husband’s dignity and helped us to fulfill his last wishes. The Caris team that cared for Billy and the way you helped us was very special. There was always someone to give us that little touch so we could go that next step.” —   Margie W.
services

Exceptional Service

“Caris cares for and makes life easier for my patients and their families at the most difficult time of their lives. Caris helps my patients leave this life comfortably; both psychologically as well as physically.”
– Dr. Burgin Dossett
2014-03-03T16:39:59+00:00
services
“Caris cares for and makes life easier for my patients and their families at the most difficult time of their lives. Caris helps my patients leave this life comfortably; both psychologically as well as physically.” – Dr. Burgin Dossett
widget-3

Operational Excellence

In 2013, Caris was awarded the Pinnacle Award for Business Excellence in the large business category by the Knoxville Chamber.
2014-03-05T21:03:10+00:00
widget-3
In 2013, Caris was awarded the Pinnacle Award for Business Excellence in the large business category by the Knoxville Chamber.