LAKEWOOD RANCH and CLEARWATER, Florida—Jonathan D. Fleece has been named president and CEO of Empath Health and its affiliate programs. Fleece was most recently Empath Health president as well as president and CEO of Tidewell Hospice, a member of Empath Health. This transition follows the retirement of previous CEO Rafael J. Sciullo.

Fleece became president of Empath Health in 2021 following the merger of Empath Health and Stratum Health System. Before the merger, he was named president and CEO of Stratum and Tidewell Hospice in 2018 after a 24-year career as a leading health care attorney, consultant and advisor to major health systems across Florida and the country. Before becoming Stratum’s CEO, Fleece was also a Stratum and Tidewell board member and was instrumental to Stratum’s strategic expansions and success.

“I am truly honored to be the next leader of Empath Health. Being Empath’s CEO is much more than a job for me. It’s my life’s work and passion,” Fleece said. “When Empath and Stratum came together, a strong leadership succession plan was very important to me and Rafael. Expanding new affiliates and access to Empath’s premier services is a top strategic imperative for the organization. The extraordinary Full Life Care we provide for those with chronic, serious, or advanced illnesses, and for those who are grieving, is essential. Making sure Empath’s specialized care continues to be available in the communities we serve and looking for opportunities in additional communities is of the utmost importance to me so that we can serve more people.” 

Fleece serves on the board of the Florida Hospice and Palliative Care Association and chairs its Public Policy Committee. He is a member of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and of HomeCare 100. He received his juris doctor and certificate in Health Law Studies from Saint Louis University School of Law and his bachelor’s degree from Emory University. He is the co-author of “The New Age: The Future of Health Care in America,” with David Houle. Fleece and Houle are founders of tobe4HEALTH.