Maricelys Ortiz, recipient of the 2023 Russell S. Bickel Jr. Award for Excellence in Communication and Caring to Patients and their Families
Maricelys Ortiz, recipient of the 2023 Russell S. Bickel Jr. Award for Excellence in Communication and Caring to Patients and their Families.

Tower Health at Home Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Maricelys Ortiz views her patients as family members, treating them with dignity and respect.

“My family has taught me to offer kindness and warmth even in the worst of circumstances,” Ortiz said. “I am sure to offer my personal best, as our patients deserve nothing less.”

Ortiz’s compassion is among the reasons she was awarded the 2023 Russell S. Bickel Jr. Award for Excellence in Communication and Caring for Patients and their Families by the Reading Hospital Foundation.

"It’s surreal and a great honor to be recognized,” Ortiz said. “I’ve worked really hard to be where I am today and receiving this award motivates me to continue striving for more each day.”

Barbara Swoyer, sister to Russell S. Bickel Jr., and her family established the award in 2017 to recognize healthcare workers who consistently demonstrate excellence in communication and provide high-quality care to patients and their families. Ortiz is the first CNA to receive the award. She is recognized for the outstanding care and attention she provided to a hospice patient. Barbara Swoyer, MSN, FNP-BC and her daughter, Mary Swoyer, MSN, FNP-C, attended the award presentation to congratulate Ortiz.

“As the first CNA to receive such a prestigious award, I feel that I represent all CNAs across Tower Health at Home,” she said. “Though our work often seems mundane, it can make a significant difference in a patient’s life. Furthermore, I represent the Hispanic community by giving my all each day, to better my family by achieving my goals, and making our community a better place.”

Since 2002, Ortiz has been part of the Tower Health at Home team. She takes extreme care in preparing for each day to ensure all her patients are comfortable. She was recognized for her outstanding communication and support of a family in mourning in October 2023. The family expressed their deepest gratitude for the excellent care Ortiz provided that day.

The award was received just in time for National Home Care and Hospice Day celebrated in November and recognizes those who bring safe, comfortable care into the homes of our friends, neighbors, family members, and the most vulnerable patients.

“It is never easy to bring a loved one into hospice care,” said Sheila Baublitz, Chief Nursing Officer for Tower Health at Home. “Our dedicated staff often have difficult and tragic conversations with families about their loved ones. We strive to offer our patients and their families the highest levels of care and comfort during this time. We are so proud of Maricelys, who has consistently displayed outstanding levels of care for this patient and their family.”

Tower Health at Home provides a comprehensive range of services that allow patients to recover from a short-term illness or manage chronic conditions in the comfort of their own homes. Tower Health at Home staff members deliver high-quality, compassionate care that supports home health and hospice needs.


About Tower Health 

Tower Health is a regional integrated healthcare system that offers compassionate, high-quality, leading-edge healthcare and wellness services to communities in Berks, Chester, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties. With approximately 11,500 employees, Tower Health consists of Reading Hospital in West Reading; Phoenixville Hospital in Phoenixville; Pottstown Hospital in Pottstown; and St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, in partnership with Drexel University. Tower Health is strongly committed to academic medicine and training, including multiple residency and fellowship programs, the Drexel University College of Medicine at Tower Health, and the Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences in West Reading. The system also includes Reading Hospital Rehabilitation at Wyomissing; home healthcare provided by Tower Health at Home; TowerDirect ambulance and emergency response; Tower Health Medical Group; Tower Health Providers, our clinically integrated network; and Tower Health Urgent Care facilities across our service area. For more information, visit

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