"I have peace of mind knowing hospice is always available to help and is here to maintain my quality of life."

Pauline Salazar, Hospice Patient
Bakersfield, CA

Optimal Hospice Foundation


About Optimal Health Services

Optimal Health Services has been providing compassionate health care services in home settings for almost thirty years.  Founder and current co-owner, Clark Gustafson began with a retail pharmacy in Bakersfield, California.Over the years he added additional services and products any time that he saw patients whose needs were not being met at the highest levels of quality and service.CEO and co-owner, Doug Clary, joined Clark and the Optimal team in 2002.Doug has helped carry on Clark’s vision of providing quality services to people in need and has helped Optimal transition from a provider of many types of support to focusing primarily on home health and hospice care for a larger number of communities.

Optimal began providing home health care in 1992 and today is one of the largest providers of home health in Kern, Tulare and Kings Counties. Providing home nursing, therapy, social work and supportive services to people who have experienced serious illness or injury, we have achieved quality scores higher than state and national averages. Just check out Medicare’s “Home Health Compare" website at http://www.medicare.gov/homehealthcompare/search.aspx and see for yourself!

Recognizing the need for compassionate care during the final months of life, Optimal began providing hospice services in 1998 and has grown to eight offices throughout California. Currently Optimal provides hospice services from offices in Long Beach, Bakersfield, Lake Isabella, Visalia, Fresno, Modesto, and Stockton.

Optimal prides itself on being positive community members and supporting the success of the communities we serve wherever possible.In addition to directly sponsoring many community causes, the non-profit Optimal Hospice Foundation helps fill the gap in funding for uninsured or underinsured patients.The Foundation also provides support to children who have lost a direct family member, regardless of whether that family member ever received hospice care.

All Optimal agencies are Medicare certified as well as being accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC).


Leadership Team

The Optimal Health Services Leadership is composed of highly experienced, committed professionals dedicated to providing the highest level of compassionate care to our patients and their families. The team also prides themselves on providing a supportive working environment so that our staff and caregivers are able to focus on their patients.

We are pleased to introduce you to our team.


Patrick LoschkePatrick Loschke
Vice President of Business Development and Marketing

Patrick Loschke began his healthcare career as a Respiratory Therapist Practitioner licensed by the State of California. He worked in both adult and neonatal intensive care both at bedside and in leadership roles for hospital Cardiopulmonary Departments. He transitioned into the outpatient setting, working nine years in the medical equipment industry for both private and publicly held companies, including a position as Vice President of Sales for Northern California for one of the largest medical equipment companies in the U.S. In 2006 Mr. Loschke came to Optimal Health Services where he has developed new processes for the sales teams in both Home Health and Hospice and new communications tools for the marketing team including an award winning video of our hospice services. Patrick uses a combination of strong communication skills, his knowledge of sales, and his clinical background to achieve strong growth results. Mr. Loschke has a Bachelor's degree in Management and a Masters of Business Administration.


Stacey HarrisStacey Harris
Vice President of Operations - Northern California

Stacey Harris began her healthcare career as a Physical Therapist specializing in treatment and rehabilitation of neurological patients of all ages. Stacey joined Optimal Home Health in 2004 as a Physical Therapist. In 2006, Stacey became the Home Health Clinical Manager and led the clinical team of Registered Nurses, Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists. Two years later in 2008, Stacey was responsible for organizing and directing the home health operations as the Administrator for Optimal Home Health. In 2012, Stacey became the Director of Service Excellence for Optimal Health Services. Her responsibilities were to ensure compliance with all licensing, accreditation and State/Federal standards and regulations for both home health and hospice operations. Stacey was responsible for overseeing and assuring education programs and clinical auditing programs met the needs of all home health and hospice operations. In 2016, Stacey became the Vice President of Operations for Optimal Health Services where she is responsible for overseeing the Northern Territory (Fresno and Stockton licenses). Stacey is also responsible for planning, developing, implementing and evaluating daily operations to ensure quality hospice services. Stacey has a Masters of Science in Physical Therapy from California State University, Northridge and a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from San Jose State University.


Michelle PickeringMichelle Pickering
Vice President of Operations - Southern California

Michelle Pickering began her healthcare career in palliative and hospice care with a focus on improving patient advocacy at the end of life. Michelle joined Optimal Health Services in 2017 as the Vice President of Operations serving the Southern Territory for Home Health and Hospice (Bakersfield, Lancaster and Long Beach licenses) where she is responsible for evaluating, planning, developing and implementing daily operations to ensure patients and families receive excellent quality care. Prior to joining Optimal, Michelle honed her experience by serving patients in a wide array of Post-Acute Services, including Hospice, Home Health, Palliative Care, Home Infusion and Pharmacy, Medical Equipment and Transitional Care programs. Michelle has worked with large hospital systems as well as private agencies serving both adult and pediatric patients. Most recently, Michelle served as a Board Member for the YMCA-Santa Maria and participated on the Care Collaborative for the Central Coast. Michelle is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, earning her Bachelor’s degree, has completed the MVI CEO program and has earned her Certification as both a Home Health and Hospice Administrator through CAHSAH.


Dawn KnoxDawn Knox
Executive Assistant

As Executive Assistant, Dawn Knox is an integral part of the leadership team and provides critical coordination and support on key administrative projects. Responsibilities include support for the Board of Directors, company travel, and coordinating the licensing of the multiple office locations across the state. Dawn joined Optimal Health Services in 2014, bringing a wealth of administrative experience from accounting and banking institutions to volunteer, government, and health care associations.


Not Pictured:

  • Hyrum Kirton, CEO
  • Rich Dahlquist, COO
  • Jeaneatte Dove, R.N., VP of Quality
  • Troy Backus, Executive VP of Community Relations


Mission & Values



As a team, we combine compassion with the art and science of medicine to help patients and families live life to its fullest.


While we strive to demonstrate many positive qualities, we hold the following among our highest priorities:

  • Candor - We recognize that we can solve our problems most effectively when we are honest and open about the underlying facts, and that motivates us to be willing to be candid and constructively bring problems and difficult issues to appropriate supervisors or team members.  In addition, we also appreciate honest feedback that allows us to improve our own effectiveness.
  • Can-do Spirit - We strive to react instinctively to challenges by finding a way to accomplish a goal rather than looking for reasons it cannot be accomplished.  We recognize that may mean looking for creative ways to accomplish the desired outcome that may be different than our usual processes.
  • Teamwork - We recognize that we can accomplish much more by working well together than any of us can accomplish working alone and that drives us to interact with our teammates in a way that makes them appreciate being on the Optimal Team.
  • Respect - We believe that every person we interact with deserves to be treated with consideration and respect, even when we disagree with their views or actions.



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