Professionals in the Classroom - Bios
Tracey Baker `93 HPA
Tracey Baker has more than twenty years of experience in health care administration and policy and project management. She works for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), where she has held several positions during her sixteen-year federal career. Baker is currently serving as the lead project manager and government task lead (GTL) for the Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug (MARx) enrollment and payment system. In this position, she oversees the contract that provides maintenance and development of the software that drives the MARx system. In this role, she provides technical guidance and contract direction.
Prior to her GTL role, Baker oversaw the Medicare prescription drug operations for more than ten million low-income Medicare beneficiaries. She also served as the subject-matter expert for several operational areas related to the Low Income Subsidy for the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit.
Prior to joining CMS, Baker worked in the private sector for several managed care plans in the Northeast. She has also held a position at Express Scripts as a Medicare product manager as well as the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, where she served as the facility planner.
Baker holds a B.S. in Health Policy and Administration from Penn State. She also holds an M.B.A. in health care administration from the Baruch College, a City University of New York, and a M.S. in information systems from Drexel University.
Alan Brechbill is the president of the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center located in Hershey, Pennsylvania. In this capacity, Brechbill oversees the medical center that employs more than 10,000 people and operates facilities in seven counties throughout Central Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the medical center in 2006, Brechbill served as the executive vice president and chief operating officer for Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He has more than thirty years of university hospital experience with the majority of that time spent in leadership roles.
Brechbill has a B.S. in psychology from the University of Colorado, an M.H.A. from George Washington University, and an M.B.A. from Loyola University, Chicago.
Robert B. Burleigh CHBME, ’76 Bus
Bob has more than forty years of health care 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, now Siemens, in both the Hospital and Physicians Services Division related to systems sales and delivery, project management, billing service management and consulting, and twenty-four years as founder and president of Brandywine Healthcare Services.
Bob has conducted hundreds of engagements in medical practices, billing companies and hospitals in over forty-six 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.
Clients 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.
From July 2003 to February 2004, Bob served as president and CEO of Alpha Thought Global, Inc., 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. Commencing on Feb. 17, 2004, he resumed the consulting practice he founded in 1988, Brandywine Healthcare Services.
He has testified before Congress regarding patient privacy and the healthcare billing industry, as well as advising HCFA regarding billing company and physician compliance, the 4010 and 5010 transaction code sets, ICD-10 CM, provider enrollment, certificates of medical necessity, and physician documentation guidelines. He is a nationally recognized authority on various topics, including billing services, Medicare regulations, professional service coding and fees, regulatory compliance, and more.
Bob is a frequent lecturer and author for numerous organizations including the Healthcare Billing and Management Association, Medical Group Management Association, Health Care Compliance Association, and many others.
Bob's authorship includes contributions to books on hospital and physician reimbursement, CPT-4 coding, contracts and risk management, emergency department management, feasibility studies, and billing.
Bob is an advanced member of HFMA and was an advisory board member of its PFS Forum, HBMA – serving as consultant to and member of its Board of Directors and chair of the Ethics and Compliance and Government Relations Committees and HBMA president from 2003 to 2004. He is a certified healthcare billing and management executive and member of AHLA, HCCA HFMA, MGMA and AAHAM. He is a 1976 Business Management graduate of Penn State.
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.
Brent Fuller ’13 HPA
Brent Fuller is a Manager Ambulatory Operations at Lancaster General Health Penn Medicine, a 630-licensed bed, not-for-profit health system with 300 physicians and thirty offices throughout Lancaster County. Brent Fuller manages a primary care office that has two sites, five providers and more than 20,000 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.
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.
Formerly, a vice president with AON Consulting, Gray specialized in utilization and data management to understand key cost drivers. She is an expert in developing and redesigning pharmacy programs and understanding the cost drivers within these programs as well. Gray assisted in developing an analysis of disease management programs of more than one hundred vendors and presented results on carriers’ strengths and weakness to clients, undertaking an approach on lowering claims dollars on their self-insured programs.
As a national account manager with Aetna Inc., Gray was responsible for overall account management from a financial and operations perspective for clients with more than 10,000 employees operating in multiple locations. She detailed plan design opportunities for clients as well as monitored the ongoing financial implications to plans. She also served on the Aetna Presidents Roundtable Committee, fostering communications between clients and the president’s office regarding suggested changes that would improve Aetna’s operational procedures.
Gray currently resides in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, with her family.
Lynn Hendrickson ’01 HPA
Lynn is the Administrative Director of the Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. She is responsible for managing the Center’s finances and operations as well as the implementation of a new strategic plan to guide the Center’s growth in the following areas: preclinical and clinical research, community outreach, and education and training initiatives. Lynn builds strategic partnerships, develops philanthropic relationships and expands the grant portfolio to support the Center’s development.
Originally from the Boston area, in previous roles Lynn has worked as an Administrative Manager at Massachusetts General Hospital, an independent consultant at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and the Director of Operations at Addgene, Inc.
Lynn graduated from Penn State in 2001 with a B.S. in Health Policy and Administration and minors in Business Management and Gerontology. While at Penn State, Lynn was president of the Academic Assembly (part of the former Undergraduate Student Government), Mortar Board Senior Honor Society, and the HPA Affiliate Program Group. She also holds an MBA with a concentration in Marketing from Boston University. She has been actively involved in the Penn State Alumni Association, serving on the Board of Directors of the Boston Chapter from 2002 – 2006 and as President of the NYC Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association from 2013 – 2017.
Paul Kempinski, MS, FACHE `82 HPA
Paul Kempinski is president of the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware, and enterprise vice president for Nemours Children’s Health System. With more than thirty years of health care experience, Kempinski is responsible for the strategic and operational leadership of this internationally recognized 200-bed referral hospital, which is Magnet designated and recognized as one of the top children’s hospital in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Kempinski was promoted to president in late 2015 after serving as chief operating officer since joining Nemours in 2003.
In 2015, Nemours Children’s Health System served over 1.3 million patients from fifty states and forty-seven foreign countries. With operations in both the Delaware Valley and Florida, Nemours is one of the largest children’s health systems in the country.
Prior to joining Nemours, Kempinski was chief operating officer of Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Pennsylvania. He also held senior leadership positions at ViaHealth in Rochester, New York; Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois.
Kempinski received his bachelor’s degree from Penn State 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 he received the Rochester Business Journal “40 Under 40” award for professional achievement and community service by young leaders. Kempinski is chair of the board of directors for the Ronald McDonald House of Delaware. He also serves on the association board of directors of the Brandywine YMCA, and on the advisory board of the undergraduate program in Health Policy and Administration at Penn State. He is a frequent presenter at local, regional, and national meetings and conferences on health care issues.
Kempinski resides in West Chester, Pennsylvania with his wife Maureen. The couple has three children, Kristen (Penn State ‘15), Brian (Penn State ‘17) and Jennifer (Penn State ‘19).
Ron Kocent, FACHE, ’79 HPA
Ron Kocent is currently working for Zimmer Biomet, an international orthopaedic device company, as an economic and reimbursement field consultant for hospitals, orthopedic surgeons, and neurosurgeons to assist in making technology available to patients.
He was formerly the director of health care economic strategies for Medtronic spinal and biologics for the Northeast United States. Prior to that position, he had twenty-three years of experience in health care administration with a comprehensive blend of provider and payer background.
His hospital responsibilities included general administration as the assistant administrator at rural Punxsutawney Area Hospital and facility and strategic planning Presbyterian University Hospital. He was the executive director of a successful provider-owned HMO and worked for Blue Cross in provider strategies. He was also the chief operating officer responsible for the management of ninety specialty physicians at UPMC.
In addition to general management, the focus of Kocent’s activity has been on entrepreneurial ventures, strategic planning, cost management, and revenue enhancement. The roles in directing the provider-owned HMO and in-practice management incorporated significant collaboration between physicians and hospital administration to enhance the value of resources committed to patient care.
Kocent has a B.S. degree in Health Planning and Administration from Penn State and an M.H.A. from the University of Pittsburgh.
Maia Kowalchuk, CRCR, ’14 HPA
Maia graduated from Penn State in the spring of 2014 with a B.S. in HPA and a minor in Bioethics and Medical Humanities. She completed an internship with Carolinas Healthcare System as a Health Policy intern. Since graduating, she has participated in the HPA alumni mentorship program.
In November of 2014, she accepted an offer with R1 RCM as a Front-End Operations Lead. R1’s business purpose is to help hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare providers more efficiently manage their revenue cycle operations. Their distinctive operating model spans the entire revenue cycle and includes people, processes, and sophisticated integrated technology. They partner with hospitals and health systems to implement proprietary methods utilizing over a decade of operation expertise, allowing them to focus on their core mission: delivering high-quality care and meeting the needs of patients. R1’s customers typically are multi-hospital systems, including faith-based or community healthcare systems, academic medical centers and independent ambulatory clinics, and their affiliated physician practice groups.
As a Front-End Operations Lead at Lourdes Healthcare System, Maia works alongside patient access and clinical leadership to increase front-end revenue, improve operational efficiencies, manage day to day patient access functions and the R1 technology, and increase patient satisfaction. Since joining R1, she has progressed to Front-End Senior Standardization Lead. Maia travels all over the US to R1’s newly acquired Ascension facilities, managing the implementation of the R1 Best Practice operating model and the R1 technology. She works with site CFOs Patient Access, and Clinical Directors to ensure a smooth transition from current to future state, operating under the R1 model and using the R1 technology to improve revenue cycle outcomes.
Michael Lanni, MBA ’81 HPA
Michael is a Category Manager for IT and Telecom Services at Pensioamo, a cognitive supply chain company. He has management responsibility of IT spend catagories that total $450 million for all hardware, software and services. He also directs sourcing events through bidding processes, as well as negotiates related contract terms.
Michael is an accomplished and results-oriented supply chain professional with a breadth of experience in strategic sourcing, category management, and process design. He has been a leader and contributor in several industries, including Healthcare, Distribution and Education.
Before joining Pensiamo in 2016, he was with University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Supply Chain.
Maria Gatto McCall, M.S. '01 HPA
Maria is a Senior Director, Clinical Services at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. Her role is to lead the GI/Transplant Service Line, to serve as the Administrator of the Jefferson Transplant Institute (a $25 million budget program), and to oversee growth programs such as the Ventricular Assist Device program, Comprehensive Weight Management, Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery. Her strategic focus is on the patient experience, growth, value and employee engagement. Under her leadership, the programs have grown an average of 4% annually and employee engagement has improved by 25%.
Prior to her time at Thomas Jefferson, Maria managed the multi-organ transplant program at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and she managed kidney transplant, plastic surgery, and general and hepatobiliary surgery at Halifax Health in Daytona Beach Florida. Maria provides consultation services nationally for compliance and quality concerns for transplant programs and subcontracts with larger consulting firms for these services as well. Maria started her career with the Healthcare Financing Administration (now the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) as a Presidential Management Fellow focusing on certification and provider compliance in the Chicago regional office. During her time with the government, she was the national lead on state survey agency data compliance.
Maria graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Biobehavioral Health from Penn State in 1999 and obtained her Master of Science in Health Policy and Administration from Penn State in 2001. She lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her husband and three daughters.
Joseph A. Pilla, ’86 HPA
Joe is the president and founder of ETA Benefits Inc, an employee benefits consulting and insurance advisory firm. Joe has 31 years of experience in the insurance and health care industries. Since opening its doors in 1999, ETA Benefits has grown into a thriving small business and well-respected industry leader. Joe is especially proud to have his business based in his hometown of Nesquehoning, PA (Carbon County).
Joe’s early career included positions in hospital administration—primarily finance, business office operations, and physician relations. He was part of the developmental team of Valley Preferred, a preferred provider organization (PPO) network owned by the Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) and its affiliated physicians. Most of his time at LVHN was devoted to physician relations and network development initiatives. His diverse background in healthcare provided a deep knowledge base for his specialized work with group health care plans.
Joe also served as an independent consultant for Prism Healthcare Partners Ltd, Chicago, IL., a company that specializes in helping hospitals, health systems and academic medical centers improve their financial, operational and clinical performance so that they can better serve the needs of their communities. In this capacity, Joe focused on health care consulting projects in human resources, primarily employee benefit programs.
In 1986, Joe received his Bachelor’s degree in Health Planning and Administration (HPA) from Penn State and has held a Pennsylvania insurance producer’s license in Life, Accident, and Health since 1996. During his time at Penn State, Joe was a member of the Dean’s Student Advisory Board for the College of Human Development and served as vice president of the HPA Club.
He currently resides in Nesquehoning with his family and serves as president of the Tamaqua Industrial Development Enterprises (TIDE) board, a non-profit economic development corporation. He is also a longtime member of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU). Outside of the office, Joe is a “foodie” and enjoys fishing, gardening, and traveling.
Tejal Raichura, ’12 MHA
Tejal A. Raichura, MHA is the Manager for Innovations and Research for the Center for Telehealth and the Neurosciences Institute at Geisinger Health. Geisinger Health is a large integrated delivery system based in Central Pennsylvania with hospitals in North East PA, South East PA, and Southern NJ.
She brings her diverse background in process improvement, operations management, patient experience design, global healthcare, and research operations to the world of telehealth. In her current role, she manages the daily operations of telehealth services across Geisinger Health and is actively involved in discussions around the growth and development of the telehealth enterprise. In addition to her work with the Center for Telehealth, she continues to provide leadership in the operations and long-term planning of research and innovations initiatives within the Geisinger Health Neurosciences Institute. She holds a dual BA in Neuropsychology and Religion from Bucknell University and a Master’s in Health Administration from The Pennsylvania State University.
Joseph R. Thear, Jr., `84 HPA
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.
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-three 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 .
Devon Trolley ‘09 HPA/MHA
Devon Trolley completed an honors bachelor's degree in Health Policy and Administration and an M.H.A. through the five-year integrated program at Penn State. After graduation, she was awarded the David Winston Health Policy Fellowship. During the fellowship, Trolley worked on health policy issues for a leading U.S. Senator during the passage of the Affordable Care Act, contributing to policies related to transparency in employer-based coverage and consumer protections in the private health insurance market.
Currently, Trolley continues to work on health care reform at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), which is responsible for implementing the private health insurance rules established in the Affordable Care Act. Specifically, Trolley focuses on the policy, operations, and technology needed to implement the Health Insurance Marketplaces operated by HHS in more than thirty states via www.healthcare.gov. The Marketplaces focus on providing access to coverage in the individual market and have led to decreases in the number of uninsured since 2014.
Renee M. Vandall `82 HPA
Renee has more than twenty-five years of experience in healthcare information technology. Currently she leads the marketing efforts at Net Health, the leader in EMR software solutions for specialized outpatient care.
Prior to joining Net Health Renee was the Vice President of Operations at Henry Ford for McKesson, one of the world’s largest healthcare companies, where she lead the account team. Previously as director for medication safety, she had responsibility for the entire life product cycle, from envisioning through market launch and maturity. Her product focus ensured that McKesson’s medication safety solutions helped reduce medication errors while meeting the needs of clinicians and patients. She also provided overall strategic direction for the company’s patient safety organization.
Prior to joining McKesson, Renee held senior sales, marketing, consulting, and implementation roles with other leading healthcare IT vendors, serving customer needs and raising industry awareness of emerging technologies for hospitals, academic Medical Centers, insurers, extended-care facilities, and physician practices.
Renee has a bachelor’s degree in Health Policy and Administration from Penn State, and continues to serve the program as a mentor to our undergraduate students. She was awarded the HPA Mentor of the Year award in 2011.