Board of Directors
LightBridge Hospice Community Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of community leaders chosen for their commitment to the care and services provided by hospice and their desire to truly impact the lives of patients and their families. They have a wide array of professional experience including healthcare, insurance, public relations, marketing, business, and financial management in addition to their leadership and involvement in numerous community service and charitable organizations.
Jill Mendlen, RN
Chairman of the Board
Jill Mendlen serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of LightBridge Hospice and Palliative Care which specializes in the delivery of hospice and palliative care services to individuals who reside throughout San Diego County. Ms. Mendlen also serves as Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of LightBridge Medical Associates — San Diego’s Palliative Care Specialists. LightBridge Medical Associates is San Diego’s first community-based Palliative Care specialty medical group.
Ms. Mendlen is a nationally recognized expert in clinical program development, health care management, reimbursement and strategic direction. She has developed and managed a variety of programs designed specifically to provide care to seniors and those with clinically complex medical conditions in a variety of settings including hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and the community. She is a recipient of the Thomas E. Spindle Award by the California Association of Health Facilities, in recognition of tireless devotion to the long-term care profession.
Ms. Mendlen received her nursing degree from Santa Monica College.
Steven Nico is the owner of Nico Insurance Services, Inc. which specializes in assisting both small and large group employers in their health insurance benefits needs. He has been working as a group health insurance broker for over twenty-four years. Mr. Nico is a member of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) and the local chapter, San Diego Association of Health Underwriters (SDAHU).
Mr. Nico received his B.S. degree in Marketing from San Diego State University.
Sharlene Beltran is a Senior Sales Executive at Blue Shield of California specializing in the small business market assisting employers with their health insurance benefits needs. She is a licensed insurance agent and has been working as a group health insurance for twenty years. Mrs. Beltran is a member of the local chapter of health underwriters, San Diego Association Health Underwriters (SDAHU). She has been married for 28 years to her husband Michael and has three children in which they reside in Carlsbad, CA.
Charisse retired after working 21 years in the Physical Therapy Department of the San Diego Veterans Hospital in La Jolla, CA. While at the VA, she was part of the Spinal Cord Injury Unit (SCI), a unit of the hospital that works exclusively with veterans with spinal cord injuries. She was passionate about her job and the ability to make a difference in the lives of others. In addition to her duties as a therapist, she was also the managing lead of the SCI therapy department.
After retiring in 2014, Charisse joined LightBridge as a volunteer. Her volunteer responsibilities include patient visits, 11th-hour care, administrative support and involvement in the veteran’s program. She joined the Board of Directors at LightBridge Hospice Community Foundation in late 2016.
Tom is currently the CEO/Owner of Abundant Home Care in San Diego. Tom also holds the same position at his second company, Ultimate Medical in Phoenix, AZ. Tom began his career in the Home Medical Equipment Industry in 1992 as a branch manager for a large independent dealer in the Los Angeles area. After the acquisition of this company by a Fortune 500 company, Tom became the Regional Sales Manager in charge of Arizona and Nevada. After successfully managing the region for three years, Tom was promoted to National Sales Manager. Two years later, Tom ventured out on his own, starting Ultimate Medical and later acquiring Abundant Home Care, Inc. Abundant Home Care specializes in delivering home medical equipment for the Hospice and Palliative Care providers in San Diego County. Abundant also provides equipment to private pay clients in their homes or facilities and has a retail store open to the public in Poway.
Pamela Hough is Senior Vice President of Operations/Executive Director at LightBridge Hospice & Palliative Care, She served on the three-member start-up team for LightBridge and was instrumental in earning accreditation by the Joint Commission. She also helped create and develop Ohr Ami, The Jewish Hospice Program, at LightBridge. Ms. Hough’s career has been focused in healthcare and insurance with an emphasis on the development and implementation of specialty care management programs and services for those living with complex, chronic and terminal conditions – a highlight was managing the creation of a Medicare demonstration program for a large integrated healthcare delivery organization in Las Vegas. Before joining Ms. Mendlen in the LightBridge start-up, Ms. Hough was Executive Director of Geriatrix, a senior care management program for nursing home residents based in Tulsa, OK, and Southern CA.
Ms. Hough previously served on the Professional Advisory Committees for Family Home Health and Family Hospice in Las Vegas, NV and as Assistant Secretary, Board of Directors of Family Home Hospice. She has been involved in faith-based charities across the country. She currently serves as a member of the Coordinated Care Initiative (CCI)/Cal MediConnect Advisory Committee for the county of San Diego.
Ms. Hough holds a B.S. with an emphasis in Organizational Leadership from Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, OK.
Jeff S. Katz
After working as an executive in corporate America, Mr. Katz branched out as a freelance business development consultant extending his proven sales, marketing, and networking reach to various businesses enhancing their campaign strategies and impact in the marketplace. With a successful track record in dealing with C-Level executives, professional sports franchises, athletes, entertainers and philanthropists, Mr. Katz helps in cultivating synergy between products and decision-makers that influence today’s’ culture. His own philanthropic efforts have spanned the globe from Africa to India and his platform of “Empowering the Success of Others” earned him 1st prize in Proctor & Gambles “My Rising Tide” entrepreneur competition.
Jill’s practice involves the representation of physicians and other health care providers. She has comprehensive experience in commercial and business litigation and oversees and manages litigation involving health care issues. She has represented clients in administrative hearings relating to federal and state reimbursement matters.
Jill focuses on regulatory compliance, including compliance with federal and state fraud and abuse laws. She has a thorough knowledge of the regulatory environment and has designed and implemented compliance plans for a variety of clients. She has assisted clients in internal investigations and responses to incidents of noncompliance and has represented clients in government investigations and in voluntary disclosures to government agencies.
Jill is knowledgeable in the rapidly changing health care industry as it relates to physician selection and deselection, credentialing, compensation, marketing, self-referral and fraud, and abuse issues. She represents physicians and physician groups in medical staff proceedings, at both the hospital and IPA levels. Jill also advises clients on numerous reimbursement issues related to managed care and federal health care programs, and regularly assists with the auditing and evaluation of their practices and business operations.
Jill’s practice also includes the development and licensing of health care facilities such as laboratories, ambulatory surgery centers, home health agencies, DME suppliers, sleep centers and hospices. She has expertise in licensing, certification, investigations and enforcement issues relating to these providers. She has assisted laboratories, durable medical equipment suppliers, hospices, sleep centers, home health agencies and other healthcare providers in Medi-Cal and Medicare reimbursement audits and investigations. As health care providers expand their areas of services, she has advised these clients on the regulatory and compliance requirements of other states.
William J. Sheffler, FCA, EA, MSPA, ASA
Executive Vice President, SMI Pensions
Bill Sheffler has a B.A. in Economics from Claremont McKenna College and an M.A. in Mathematics from the University of Arizona. After service in the United States Army, he worked in the home office of Security Benefit Life, a mutual insurance company in Topeka, Kansas for six years. He then joined an international benefits consulting firm in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is the executive vice president of Economic Growth Pension Services (EGPS).
A native Californian, he returned to San Diego, where he established his consulting practice in 1985. Mr. Sheffler is a member of several actuarial organizations, including the Society of Actuaries, the American Academy of Actuaries, the Conference of Consulting Actuaries, the College of Pension Actuaries, and the American Society of Pension Actuaries. He is enrolled to perform actuarial services under ERISA, by the US Department of Treasury and the Department of Labor.
His extensive experience in the Qualified Plans area is applied to a wide range of clients. They include Corporate-sponsored retirement plans, Municipal plans, Taft-Hartley (Multi-Employer) plans, as well as small employer (Keogh) plans.
In 2003, Mr. Sheffler was appointed by the mayor to the San Diego Pension Reform Committee and later to the San Diego City Employees Retirement System. During his time on sdCERS, Mr. Sheffler became well-known in government accountability circles through his outspoken advocacy for sensible pension policy.
Mr. Sheffler was named 2007 Person of the Year in recognition of his efforts on behalf of the City of San Diego Public Retirees by the City of San Diego Retired Employees Association.
Jeff’s more than a decade of experience and passion for working through the complex wealth planning issues that business owners, executives, and retirees face making him uniquely positioned to help his clients pursue their financial and lifetime goals.
Jeff has earned the prestigious CIMA® (Certified Investment Management Analyst®) designation, the only credential in the U.S. to have met an international standard for personnel certification (ISO 17024) and earned accreditation by American National Standards Institute. The CIMA® is a designation for experienced financial professionals seeking competency as advanced investment counselors. Certification is awarded by the Investments & Wealth Institute™ formerly known as IMCA®, it is conferred only after individuals have met the requirements for experience and ethics and completed graduate level, investment-management coursework taught in conjunction with the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Students are required to pass a rigorous exam and, once licensed, must agree to ongoing continuing education requirements and pledge to uphold the IMCA code of professional responsibility, performance reporting standards, and standards of practice.
Jeff is also an Accredited Asset Management Specialist, AAMS®, a professional designation awarded by the College for Financial Planning, to financial professionals who successfully complete a self-study program, pass an exam and agree to comply with a code of ethics.
Jeff was named a 2017, 2018 and 2019 Five-Star Wealth Manager by San Diego Magazine.*He also holds his FINRA Series 7, 66 and 24 securities licenses and his Life Insurance license.
Jeff is a San Diego Native and enjoys spending time with his wife and two boys at the beach, fishing, hiking and traveling. He is a former Chairman of the Alpine & Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce and supports many other charitable causes.
Lisa Swaiman is currently retired and happily volunteers for LightBridge Hospice — leading Expression Through Art sessions and visiting patients one-on-one. Prior to retirement, Lisa was Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at The Capital Group, parent company to American Funds. At American Funds, based in Los Angeles, she started the retirement plan communications department, which created web and print materials to teach everyday people to plan for retirement. The goal was to translate financial-ese into English. Prior to American Funds, Lisa was Vice President at Fidelity Investments in Boston and Assistant Vice President at the Investment Company Institute in Washington, D.C. In her early years, Lisa worked in San Diego in investor and employee relations at SDG&E. Lisa hails from Minneapolis. She is married to Jim Grossman and has one daughter, Sarah Swaiman Grossman. In addition to LightBridge, Lisa enjoys multi-media art classes, travel, family and friends.