Professionals in the Classroom - Bios
Beatrice Abiero ’16 HPA
Dr. Abiero is a health services researcher and demographer with over seven years of analytic, project management, and consulting experience. Dr. Abiero’s research expertise includes analyzing and evaluating factors that impact demographic outcomes and processes both domestically and abroad and identifying relevant findings for policy and practice. She specializes in exploring the intersection of health and sociodemographic issues and especially for those that affect marginalized populations including migration, economic and health disparities, and spatiotemporal patterns. Her research breadth includes knowledge and practice in applying public health, economic, and demographic theories and principles to empirical research.
Dr. Abiero supervises a team of researchers, as the analytics lead for a multi-million-dollar study on patient experience in her current role as a Research Scientist at Ipsos Public Affairs LLC. The goal of the study is to understand perceptions of care in the U.S. Military Health System. Dr. Abiero manages client relationships by providing client-facing operational research, identifying and resolving problems critical to client strategic and operational success, and providing interpretive guidance for making data actionable. Dr. Abiero is also engaged in numerous business development efforts and proposal writing.
Tracey Baker ’93 HPA
Tracey Baker is a health care administration and policy, health plan operations, and project management expert. An 18 year public servant, she has held several positions at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. She has provided regulatory oversight of Medicare managed care plans and was also the subject matter expert for Low Income Subsidy benefit for the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit, a program impacting over 10 million low income Medicare beneficiaries. Since 2013, she has been the project manager, government task lead (GTL), and most recently, the contracting officer’s representative (COR) for the Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug (MARx) enrollment and payment system. She provides technical guidance and direction on the maintenance and development of this system’s software and operations, which manages the enrollment of nearly 50 million beneficiaries and processes payment for nearly 700 plans. Prior to joining CMS, Tracey worked in the private sector for several managed care plans in the northeast US.
Tracey is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University, Baruch College, which is a City University of New York and Drexel University. Aside from her professional endeavors, Tracey holds leadership positions in several organizations, including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and the National Pan Hellenic Council of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Her service to Penn State is extensive. She is currently a member of the executive board of the Alumni Council (governing body), a mentor and speaker for the College of Health and Human Development and the chair of the 2016 and 2018 Penn State Black Alumni Reunion. Tracey was also awarded the 2017 K. David Weidner Diversity Award by the Alumni Association.
Ed Balliet ’87 HPA
Ed Balliet is the Chief Operating Officer for Complete HealthCare Resources – Eastern, Inc. He has worked for the company in various roles over the past 20 years. With more than 30 years in the health care field, Ed has extensive experience as both a Nursing Home Administrator and Regional Vice President. He specializes in operational management, non-profit conversions, facility renovations and replacement projects. Prior to joining CHRE, Ed worked for a small private nursing home group as a licensed administrator. He started his career working for the Veterans Administration in Boston, Massachusetts. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health Administration from The Pennsylvania State University. Ed is currently licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Amelia Browning ‘17g HPA
Amelia Browning graduated from Penn State in December 2017 with a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Health Policy and Administration. Since graduating, she has worked at Revint Solutions (formerly IMA Consulting) as a Financial Analyst in the Underpayment Recovery Service Line (URSL). As an Analyst in URSL, she evaluates complex reimbursement methodologies among hospitals, government, and private insurance to identify missed revenue opportunities for health care systems. Alexa Pane (HPA May 2017) and Jon Moran (BBH May 2017) work with Amelia as URSL consultants.
Bob Burleigh '66 BUS
Bob has over forty-four years of healthcare financial management experience. His career has included eight years of hands-on and executive level hospital patient accounting for a 500 bed community hospital and an international chain of for-profit hospitals, eight years with Shared Medical Systems (SMS) [now Cerner] in both the Hospital and Physicians Services Division related to systems sales and delivery, project management, billing service management and consulting, and twenty-eight years as founder and President of Brandywine Healthcare Services.
Bob has conducted hundreds of engagements in medical practices, billing companies and hospitals in forty-eight states, including: practice performance reviews; assessment of billing operations; interim management and turn-around management of billing operations; compliance program development and audits; vendor performance audits, selections, and contract negotiations for billing services and coding services; coding and fee schedule reviews; billing and EDI software systems evaluations, selections, audits and contract negotiations; and litigation support of suits involving hospitals, physicians and billing service bureaus, including expert testimony and damage calculation.
Clients have included: medical schools; medical practices in virtually every specialty and sub-specialty; municipal, not-for-profit and for-profit hospitals; government agencies; law firms; public accounting firms; health insurance companies; healthcare trade associations and healthcare billing companies.
In 2003 and early 2004, Mr. Burleigh served as President and CEO of Alpha Thought Global, Inc., (ATG) one of the largest medical billing companies in the U.S. With offices in six states and New Delhi, India, ATG specialized in hospital-based medical practice billing, with clients in over twenty states. In late February 2004, he resumed the consulting practice he founded in 1988, Brandywine Healthcare Service. From 2009 to 2011, Bob served as Program Director for the RAC (Recovery Audit Contractor) Validation Contractor – Provider Resources, Inc., overseeing the initiation and operation of RAC oversight of CMS’ four RAC Contractors, including review and approval/denial of RAC audit proposals, assessment of RAC audit performance, and RAC policy development.
He has testified before Congress and NCVHS regarding patient privacy and the healthcare billing industry, as well as advising HCFA/CMS regarding billing company and physician compliance, the 4010 and 5010 transaction code sets, ICD-10 CM, provider enrollment, certificates of medical necessity (CMN), and physician documentation guidelines. He is a nationally recognized authority on billing services, professional service coding and fees, regulatory compliance, medical practice management, physician contracting, the management of hospital based medical practices, hospital departments and hospital patient accounting. Bob has been advising CMS on policy development and changes for over 15 years.
Bob is a graduate of Penn State University (B.S. Business Management) and serves as a Mentor for Penn State’s Graduate Program in Health Planning and Administration.
Jacqueline Caniglia ’88 HPA
Jacqueline Caniglia is a 1988 graduate of the Health Policy and Administration program. After graduation, she was employed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Allergy and Immunology Division, where she supported research through grant reviews and allocations. Following NIH, she entered the private industry focusing on research and development (R&D). Her first post was research in spinal devices, which led to a job working for a major pharmaceutical company, Sanofi, for more than nineteen years. Building her experience in R&D through clinical research and compound development project leadership, she ran global R&D teams on key products such as Plavix®, Taxotere®, Eloxatin® and Ambien®. While working, she obtained her M.B.A. and a master’s degree in public policy. She is a certified project management professional.
Currently a consultant for the pharmaceutical industry, Caniglia also volunteers as treasurer for her local hospital auxiliary committee. She recently reconnected with the Penn State HPA Affiliate Program Group and is part of their mentoring committee. Her most important and rewarding role is as a wife and mother of two children.
Michael A. Capehart ’10 HPA
Michael A. Capehart is a Senior Consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, tasked with advising government healthcare clients at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). He currently works as a policy analyst and content developer for the Affordable Care Act’s HealthCare.gov marketplace. In addition to his client work, Michael is a board member of the Booz Allen Brains and Hearts Campaign. The Brains and Heart Campaign is a philanthropic effort which plays a critical role in advancing Booz Allen’s reputation for service and improving employee engagement and cross-team collaboration.
Prior to Booz Allen, Michael lead commercial consulting tasks for various payer, provider and pharmaceutical clients. His experience includes data and policy analysis, systems integration, software development, and revenue management solutions.
Michael also serves as a volunteer firefighter, EMT, and hazardous materials technician for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services (MCFRS).
Michael has a B.S. in Health Policy and Administration from The Pennsylvania State University.
Dan Cardonick ’96 HPA
Dan Cardonick, 44 years old, currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Scranton, PA. He has been working in this position for almost 9 years. Prior to assuming his current role, he served as the National Director of American Programs for Young Judaea/Hadassah, a national youth movement from 2002-2010. He also held various regional positions for this organization prior to 2010. He has a strong background in leadership, administration, fundraising, strategic planning, operations & program development in Jewish communal service, summer camp & wellness services.
Dan currently serves on the Boards of the Jewish Home of Eastern Pennsylvania (long term care facility), Jewish Family Service of Northeast PA & Jewish Federation of Northeast PA. He also serves as the President of the Executives Association of United Way Funded Agencies in Lackawanna County.
Dan is a 1996 graduate of Penn State University, and holds a B.S. in Health Policy & Administration (HPA) and a minor in Gerontology. He is originally from Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and did his summer internship at the Jewish Geriatric Home. He currently resides in South Abington Township, PA (Northeast Pennsylvania) with his wife Tish and their two daughters Allison (10 years old) & Amanda (7 years old). In 2005, Dan was selected to participate in the Kaplan Seminar for Emerging Professionals at Brandeis University.
Ken Cook ’81 HPA
Ken Cook is an Operations Manager for the Southwest Virginia region of LifeCare Medical Transports, which offers ambulance and wheelchair transport services throughout Virginia. Ken’s territory covers almost 10,000 square miles.
In 2017, he was one of 106 nationwide recipients of the American Ambulance Associations’ Star of Life Award.
Ken previously served as the Director of Technical Assistance for the Virginia Rural Health Resource Center, a position he created for the organization in July of 2009. In this capacity, he provided consultation to rural physician practices and hospitals in areas such as practice management, revenue cycle management and reimbursement enhancement, compliance and coding assistance, EMS, and health planning. Ken specializes in the development and certification of rural health clinics. He has assisted approximately 50 clinics with RHC certification over the past 17 years.
Before joining the VRHRC, Ken worked as a health care consultant for over 15 years, including positions with one of the largest accounting firms located in the mid-Atlantic, and as owner of his own healthcare consulting firm. Ken has also served as the Executive Director of a regional health planning agency in Virginia and as the Regional Training Coordinator for an EMS council.
Ken is a charter member of the Virginia Rural Health Association and was President of that organization for six years. He has been active with the HPA APG for a number of years, having mentored four students and serving as the Chair of the Mentoring Committee. He has also volunteered as a firefighter and EMT for 40 years.
Lisa Davis ‘94g HPA
Lisa Davis is the Director of the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health where she is responsible for the overall direction and leadership of the state office of rural health, including ensuring that the office meets its mission of being a source of networking, coordination, and technical assistance to organizations focused on rural health care delivery; developing and sustaining linkages with state and national partners; and seeking ways to expand the office’s role in enhancing the health status of rural Pennsylvanians.
On the national, state, and university levels, Davis serves on a wide range of boards of directors, advisory committees, and task forces focused on rural health policy, rural health research, economic development, outreach and education, and vulnerable populations and specific health issues such as oral health and cancer. She has experience in the field of rural health research, policy development, and advocacy.
Davis is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health, an Outstanding Leadership Award from the Pennsylvania Rural Health Association, and an Award for Individual Contributions to Public Health from the Pennsylvania Public Health Association. The Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health received the Award of Merit from the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health.
She holds a graduate degree in Health Administration from Penn State.
John Flynn ’94 HPA
John “Jack” Flynn is the Associate Vice President of Payer Strategy and Contracting at Jefferson Health. Jack collaborates with C-Suite, finance, and clinical leadership to guide the enterprise’s payer strategies and develop its capabilities around value-based payment. Jack’s primary responsibilities are negotiating and managing the performance of all third-party commercial and governmental payer contracts.
Jefferson Health is a non-profit multi-hospital system based in Philadelphia, PA, with revenues of $5.1 billion and consists of 14 facilities in two states, with 2,904 licensed beds
Jack holds a BS in Health Policy and Administration and an MBA from Pennsylvania State University. In addition, he volunteers with Deep Run Little League and the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Brent Fuller ’13 HPA
Brent Fuller is a Manager Ambulatory Operations at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, a 786-licensed bed, not-for-profit health system with 300 physicians and 40 offices throughout the region. Brent Fuller manages a primary care office and an outpatient facility that sees more than 45,000 visits annually.
The primary responsibilities of his job role include overall coordination of practice functions, personnel management, appropriately troubleshooting problems, proactively identifying issues, understanding and implementing revenue cycle process and workflows at the practice level, and analyzing monthly income and expense reports. He is a native of South Central Pennsylvania where he started his career at the retail chain Target, where he managed logistics teams.
Richard Garrison ’79 HPA
Richard is a proven Senior Executive, C-Suite Officer, Entrepreneur, Consultant, and Board Member with over 30 years of success across healthcare, insurance (group health and workers’ comp), biotech, cancer, diagnostic imaging, disease management, biomed, personalized medicine, finance, and business consulting. Leveraging extensive experience in financing and market strategy, he is an asset for startup to midcap similar-sector companies looking for strategic product positioning, and top line strategy. His broad areas of expertise include strategic planning; sales and marketing; new business development; branding; commercialization; operations management; P&L; product development; mergers and acquisitions; regulatory affairs; team building and collaboration.
In his executive career, Richard has held leadership positions at Specialty Care Management; M2GEN; One Call Care Management; Formost; Medquist Transcription Service and Virtua Health System. He has been responsible for delivering a strategic approach to building, strengthening, and delivering top line revenue and profit growth for publicly-traded and privately-held healthcare-related companies in startup, turnaround, stable, and high-growth environments. Currently as the President/CEO of Specialty Care Management a cost containment and risk transfer company serving the self-funded insurance industry, and focusing on catastrophic and high-dollar claims, Richard grew it into a leader in renal dialysis cost containment and risk transfer products, focusing on the company’s new product development, sales and marketing, via brokers/consultant, internal sales and TPA distribution channels.
Richard earned a B.S. in Health Planning and Administration from Pennsylvania State University (PSU); and an M.B.A. from La Salle University. He has served on boards and advisory councils. He is a passionate PSU football supporter and fan!
Marybeth Gray ’89 HPA
For more than twenty-five years, Marybeth Gray has worked in the employee benefits field and has continually reduced costs for employers and their employees because of her deep understanding of the insurance marketplace. Recently she was named EBN’s 2017 Most Influential Women in Benefit Advising: 30 leaders whose unique client management strategies, innovative data manipulation and other industry-leading skills are transforming the field. She has also developed critical strategies to control costs over the long term.
Gray currently serves as a senior vice president of health and welfare consulting with Trion, a Marsh & McLennan Agency firm, supervising the overall account management for her clients. Skilled at analyzing companies’ health-care costs and benefit plans, she is an expert in identifying financial opportunities and assisting with strategic planning, particularly with large, self-insured clients.
Gray currently resides in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, with her family.
Paul Kempinski ‘82 HPA
As of November 1st, Paul Kempinski, FACHE will become President and Chief Executive Officer of Children’s Mercy Hospital and Clinics in Kansas City, MO. Children’s Mercy is one of less than 60 freestanding children’s hospitals in the country and is comprised of two hospitals, a network of primary and specialty care centers, urgent care centers, and a brand new research institute scheduled to open in early 2020. Until October 1st, Paul was President of the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware and Enterprise Vice President for Nemours Children’s Health System. With 35 years of healthcare experience, Paul was responsible for the strategic and operational leadership of this internationally recognized 260-bed referral hospital that is Magnet designated and recognized as one of the top children’s hospital in the nation by US News and World Report. Paul joined Nemours in 2003, serving as Chief Operating Officer before his promotion to COO and Operational Vice President in 2014, and then to President and Enterprise Vice President in 2016.
Prior to joining Nemours, Paul was Chief Operating Officer of Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, PA. He also held senior leadership positions at ViaHealth in Rochester, NY, Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Pittsburgh, PA, and Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL.
Paul received his bachelor’s degree from Penn State University in University Park and his master’s degree from Rush University in Chicago. He is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives, an alum of Leadership Philadelphia, and received the Rochester Business Journal “40 under 40” award for professional achievement and community service by young leaders. He is also the 2018 recipient of the Pennsylvania State University Alumni Fellow Award. Paul is Chair of the Board of Directors for the Ronald McDonald House of Delaware. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Brandywine YMCA Association, and on the Advisory Board of the Undergraduate Program in Health Policy and Administration at Penn State University. He is a frequent presenter at local, regional, and national meetings and conferences on healthcare issues.
In 2017, Nemours Children’s Health System served over 1.3 million patients from 50 states and 47 countries. With operations in both the Delaware Valley and Florida, Nemours is one of the largest children’s health systems in the country.
Paul resides in West Chester, PA with his wife Maureen. The couple has three children.
David Lutz ’87 HPA
Major David Lutz received a direct commission in the Air Force Medical Service Corps in 2011. He has held a broad spectrum of leadership roles in the military including roles in healthcare logistics, resource and information system management, and as the Group Practice Manager of a multidisciplinary outpatient clinic serving 18,000 beneficiaries located at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
He has deployed to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, spent one year as the Executive Officer to the Wing Commander at Joint Base Charleston, and has been stationed in Florida, South Korea, South Carolina, Germany and Pennsylvania. He currently lives in Allentown, where he serves as the Air Force Administrative Fellow to the Lehigh Valley Health Network, a non-profit organization of 18,000 colleagues that spans 8 campuses and 163 physician practices and serves more than 160,000 people in Northeast Pennsylvania.
Candace L. McMullen ’94 NURS ‘04g H ADM
Candace joined Homewood in April 2014 as the VP of Operations for Homewood’s five (5) senior living communities, located in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Prior to joining Homewood, she served as the Senior VP of Operations/Chief Operating Officer of Affinity Health Services, Inc. a senior living management and consulting company. Candace also worked with Baker Tilly, formerly Parente Randolph as a consultant serving senior living providers in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Prior to this, she served as a Project Manager with Quality Insights of Pennsylvania, working with nursing home providers to implement quality improvement practices.
Candace has served as both a Director of Nursing and Nursing Home Administrator and is a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing and a Master of Health Administration Degree, both from Penn State University.
Candace currently serves as the Executive Director and Board Chair of The Pennsylvania Directors of Nursing Administration (PADONA) and serves on the LeadingAge Maryland Board of Directors. She frequently serves as faculty for a variety of professional trade associations.
Wendy Oakes ’82 HPA
While at Penn State, Wendy was an inaugural member of the Lion Ambassadors and the President’s Council for Women; as well as, Panhellenic President. Wendy began her career with Procter and Gamble. She moved into medical device sales and marketing, gathering foundational experience with Kendall Healthcare, Baxter Healthcare, and B. Braun Medical. From there her focus shifted to start-up companies in California, Netherlands, and United Kingdom. She worked to develop and launch innovative interventional cardiology, critical care, otolaryngology, and radiology technologies acquired by Abbott Labs, Medtronic, and Johnson & Johnson. Most recently, Wendy served as the Executive Director for The Foundation of Innovation, Education, and Research in Otolaryngology and managed her own medical device consulting company. She is now working in the office of Corporate and Foundations at Penn State focusing on the areas of science, human development, and biomedical engineering. She is proud to share that working with Parent Philanthropy she recently was able to secure a $4.92M gift to establish a student-centric center in Biotechnology for Penn State.
Wendy is an avid gardener, house renovator, world traveler, and Penn State fan.
Ken Pasch ’75 HPA
Ken Pasch brings over 30 years’ experience in revolutionizing leader development within a broad range of organizations, including the U.S. Military, Johnson & Johnson, and the American College of Healthcare Executives. He is the founder of KiVisions, Inc., which advises good people on how to become great leaders, and serves as faculty in executive education at the Smeal College of Business at Penn State University.
Pasch is a retired Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Air Force, where he served proudly and with distinction as both a flyer and healthcare executive. These experiences formed the basis of the tools he built and now uses to help other leaders improve productivity, decrease turnover, and look forward to Monday! His new book is On Course: Become a Great Leader and Soar.
Stephen Rosito ‘16 MHA
Stephen is the Business Manager in the primary care setting for UPMC Pinnacle, an 8 hospital healthcare system in South Central Pennsylvania. The practice serves over 95,000 patients each year with a focus on the underserved population. Identifying at risk patients and providing services in unique settings, our practice is setting new standards for care in a fiscally responsible manner. In addition to primary care services, the practice also offers specialty services in Nephrology, Surgery, Orthopedics and Podiatry. We also work closely with HIV/AIDS patients and those patients struggling with addiction.
With over 27 years of experience in healthcare, Stephen also has diverse management experience in Air Medical Critical Care Transport, Patient Flow Management and Emergency Medicine operations. In each position, improvements have been realized in service quality, process improvement and revenue cycle management.
Before joining UPMC Pinnacle in 2013, Stephen was with Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Warren Eric Savitz ’81 HPA
Warren graduated with a BS degree in Health Policy and Administration from Penn State University. He started his career at Scott and White Hospital and Clinic, Temple, TX in revenue cycle management (RCM) and subsequently found his way into physician practice management and outpatient ambulatory services in their regional network. Upon earning his Master’s Degree in Health Professions from Texas State University Warren moved back to the northeast to work with Bassett Healthcare in Cooperstown, NY serving regional outpatient clinics for the hospital and clinic system. What a better way to see the west than to work it Warren went to Casper, Wyoming to set up a state wide clinic and outpatient strategy including a Physician Hospital Organization (PHO).
His entrepreneurial spirit kicked in and he found his way to the Silicon Valley of Healthcare in Nashville, TN where he was responsible for the development and growth of an MSO for Saint Thomas Hospital and their physician network. As the landscape of hospital physician practice ownership changed he started to own company to work with physicians moving out of those hospital arrangements. He merged his company with HEOPS expanding into health plan network development and RCM. After a recapitalization he left and joined a venture capital backed physician practice management company which only lasted two years. Upon the dissolution of PriCare he joined AMSURG, a national company focused on Ambulatory Surgery where he is an operations Division Vice President for Multi-Specialty services. He currently has responsibility for Multi-specialty Outpatient surgery centers in the Boston, Newark and Ft Lauderdale marketplaces.
Warren has extensive knowledge in Operations, Revenue Cycle, Health plan networks and physician relationship services. He also serves the industry on the ASC Association board in Ohio.
Cathy Stout ’95 HPA, ’15 HLS
Cathy Stout is the Compliance Specialist at University Health Services at Penn State. Cathy received her Bachelor’s degree in Health Policy and Administration from Penn State in 1995 with a minor in Health Education and her Master’s degree in Homeland Security with a focus in Public Health Preparedness, Bioterrorism and Disaster in 2015.
When she is not working she is on the sidelines watching her son, Trevor, play soccer (goal keeper) for Mifflin County High School. She is involved in her community and church and sits on various boards. She is also an avid tennis player and loves to watch football and hockey. Cathy is married to Phil Stout, ’89 ME, and resides in Reedsville, Pennsylvania.
Timothy Stroman ‘14 HPA
Timothy Stroman is a Management Associate with Atrium Health, where he specializes in strategy development and execution, and focuses on growth initiatives for the health system. He holds a BS in Health Policy & Administration from The Pennsylvania State University and will complete his MBA from Fayetteville State University in December of 2018. His recent professional activities include development of a strategic plan for Levine Children’s service line, working alongside system chief nurses on executing operational initiatives, creation and implementation of Global Healthcare Services, development of strategy for community hospitals, serving as strategy lead for the system’s northeast market, and managing numerous tools used to inform system executives on progress to strategic goals.
Mr. Stroman has been very active in the Charlotte community since his graduation in 2014. He is a founding board member of UpROAR Leadership Academy, a military charter school that opened fall 2017. He also is a fundraising committee member for Boy Scouts of America Mecklenburg County Council. In his spare time, he enjoys performing violin at different engagements across North and South Carolina.
Joseph R. Thear, Jr., `84 HPA, ’86 MBA
Joe Thear is currently the HPA Affiliate Program Group (APG) Past President and is a 1984 Penn State Health Policy and Administration graduate. Thear is an active alum, having completed two consecutive three-year terms on the College of Health and Human Development’s Alumni Society Board in 2013 and served again from 2015-2017 as President of the HPA APG and currently serves as the Student Scholarship Chair. He has also been a mentor in both the college’s HPA and MHA mentoring program since their inception and has been very active in Professionals in the Classroom events and MHA Professional Development programs over the decades. He is currently serving on the PSU MHA Board of Visitors and is chairman of the Professional Development Committee.
Thear is currently employed as a Principal Healthcare Consultant at MITRE Corporation, a federally funded research and development center where he currently assists The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in the adoption and roll out of the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act of 2014.
His thirty-five year health-care career spans sixteen years in health care information technology, employed as senior consultant for McKesson Provider Technology and vice president of software product management at QuadraMed Corporation. He spent the previous seventeen years in the provider space working in health systems finance, reimbursement and information services in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Thear also holds a M.B.A. in health finance and administration from Marywood University. He is a nationally recognized speaker on the subject of health care revenue cycle management and information technology and is a member of HFMA, AHIMA, and HIMSS.
Renee Liptak Vonada ’82 HPA
Renee graduated with a BS degree in Health Policy and Administration from Penn State University. She subsequently attended the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh earning an MBA through their accelerated program. Renee then joined USHealthcare, in the Medical Delivery segment, assuming roles in Provider Relations, Provider Contracting, Network Management and Development and was subsequently promoted to Director for the Western Pennsylvania market. In 1996 USHealthcare was acquired by Aetna, Inc. where she continued to work until 2003. Moving to Highmark Life and Casualty of that year, she took on the role of Director of Network Development for the Worker’s Compensation, Stop Loss and managed care reinsurance lines of business. In 2005, Renee was presented with the opportunity to lead the expansion of ElderHealth, a Medicare Advantage Health Plan out of Baltimore, into the Western PA market. She accepted the role of Executive Director in March of that year, and proceeded to build that health plan market to financial success within 5 years. After a brief stint with SeniorBridge, a Home Health company, she joined Humana, Inc. as a Hospital Contract Executive, where she gained significant success in building provider networks in 6 states. She was promoted to the role of Director of Value Based Contracting for the mid-Atlantic Region, where she gained vast experience in the emerging Value Based reimbursement methodology arena and structured VBA’s with such health systems as Sentara, Pinnacle Health, Geisinger and Mary Washington. Recently, Renee made the decision to garner experience outside of health plans , and joined Evolent Health, a healthcare consulting organization, where she is responsible for coordinating and assisting health systems develop their sub-contractor networks.
Renee has extensive health plan development, operational and financial experience.
Douglas Wolfberg ’87 HPA
Douglas Wolfberg (’87 HPA) is an attorney and founding partner of Page, Wolfberg & Wirth, a national law and consulting firm representing the Emergency Medical Services industry. He is also a co-founder and principal of the National Academy of Ambulance Compliance (NAAC), which provides compliance-related education and certification programs for the ambulance industry, and a founder and principal of PWW Media, Inc., which publishes compliance resources and produces popular EMS-industry conferences across the United States. Doug has written hundreds of professional articles, as well as books and book chapters for EMS and health care industry publications, and has been a featured presenter at conferences throughout the country. He has been interviewed by national media outlets on EMS and mobile healthcare issues, and has appeared on National Public Radio (NPR).
Prior to becoming an attorney, Doug was an EMT (including several years at University Ambulance Service at Penn State), and after college became a county and regional EMS director. He also worked at the U.S. Department and Health and Human Services in Washington, and then attended law school, graduating magna cum laude in 1996. As an attorney, Doug’s practice focuses on reimbursement, healthcare fraud and abuse, compliance, and transactional issues. He is admitted to the Pennsylvania and New York bars, and is a member of the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. He has three grown children and lives in Camp Hill with his wife, Tina. In his spare time, Doug is an avid bicyclist and musician.
Jill Yonowitz ’90 HPA
Jill has extensive experience in management and leadership roles in diverse healthcare settings including: managed health care (medical and behavioral health), hospitals and health systems, community mental health centers and healthcare consulting. Her career has focused on health care operations, strategic planning, building high performing teams and leading startups. For the past 10 years, Jill has worked for Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States as a Director of Health Plan Operations and currently serves as Senior Director of Delivery System Planning for the region.
Jill serves on non-profit boards of directors in Baltimore, Maryland. After obtaining her B.S. in Health Planning and Administration at Penn State, Jill obtained her M.H.A. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.