Our Team

MEREDITH FERGUSON, MSW, LCSW

President, Principal Consultant

Meredith Ferguson has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker for close to 20 years. As a clinician, she has worked in a variety of acute and outpatient settings: ED, Case Management (UR and Discharge Planning), Acute Rehabilitation, and Behavioral Health. In addition, she has extensive clinical experience in the area of oncology, dialysis, trauma, ED, outpatient case management, and discharge planning to all areas of the hospital.

Prior to consulting, she was a Clinical Consultant for one of the largest EMR companies in the country.  She managed accounts for over 120 hospitals, including large national accounts.  In addition, she provided onsite assessments to pre-automated case management and coding departments to over 175 acute facilities.  She also identified workflow and process redesign needs in the context of automation and industry best practices. She has 12 years of experience in software implementations and has worked with health systems to realize post implementation ROI and system optimization opportunities.

Her particular areas of interest include:

  • Social Work, Care Coordination, and Case Management workflow and process redesign
  • IT Optimization for Case Management, Discharge Planning, and Post-Acute Admissions for Home Health, Hospice and SNF.
  • System expertise include Allscripts Care Management, Curaspan, Epic, MEDITECH, MEDHOST, McKesson, and Midas+
  • Return on Investment and Gap Analysis for IT systems
  • Transitions of Care and Discharge Planning
  • High Risk Patient Identification and Tracking
  • LOS and Readmission Management

With her clinical experience and IT background, she has learned to quickly identify organizational systemic and process issues, as well as to demonstrate revenue and time saving solutions.  Her background in case management, social work, healthcare IT, assessment, process redesign, project management and implementation makes her an ideal change agent to your organization. She has successfully implemented enterprise process redesign and case management IT systems to large health organizations such as Tenet Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, and Davita Healthcare Partners.

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In her many positions, she has accomplished the following:

  • Allscripts Care Management assessment, implementation and system redesign for a large national health system for post-acute discharges with SNF, HH and Hospice referrals, with an annual savings of $2.3M per year, over 1M pieces of paper and eliminating offsite storage.
  • Post-Acute discharge process redesign resulting in 10,000 clerical staff hours saved annually for 110,000+ referrals.
  • Single handed reimplementation and optimization of Discharge Planning process and software to 21 hospitals in 6 months.
  • Consultant and advisor to CEUschool.com
  • Clinical consulting to an EMR company resulting in road map changes to accommodate multiple DRG tables and expanding their sales pipeline opportunities.

From 2000-2012, Meredith was the President and Co-Founder of the Global Social Work Network, a membership based international networking and recruiting organization for social workers.  She also held certification from the CCETSW to practice social work in the United Kingdom.  Meredith is currently licensed in the state of Texas. In addition, she holds professional membership in the American Case Management Association (ACMA), National Association of Social Workers (NASW), and the Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care (SSWLHC).

MICHAEL MARRON-STEARNS, MD, CPC, CPFC

Senior Physician Advisor and IT Consultant

Michael-Marron Stearns, CPC, CFPC, MD, is a physician informaticist, accomplished author, health information technology (HIT) and healthcare compliance consulting professional. He has 18 years of experience in the areas of electronic health records, quality reporting, health information exchange, clinical terminology development, standards, and billing and coding compliance.

His accomplishments and area of focus include:

  • Physician informaticist, certified professional coder (CPC), and certified family practice coder (CFPC).
  • 15 years of direct patient care experience followed by 12 years of EHR design, template development and implementation experience.
  • 10 years of professional coding experience, including defending physicians from coding audits/investigations.
  • Developed clinical coding applications including automated Evaluation and Management (E/M) software tools for use in EHRs.
  • Extensive experience assisting physician practices with template development/refinements, coding optimization, coding compliance, PQRS, Meaningful Use, ICD-10-CM, MACRA preparation, and coding and workflow optimization.
  • Provided leadership and project management during the formation of SNOMED CT.
  • Accomplished author and presenter with over 300 professional presentations on clinical, health information technology (HIT) and coding compliance topics. Invited to testify before federal panels on HIT related topics on 5 separate occasions.  Invited to present to the OIG, FBI and Justice Department on EHR related automated E/M coding on two occasions.
  • Provided executive leadership to several organizations at the director, chief medical officer, president and CEO levels.  Founding board president of the Texas e-Health Alliance, founder of the University of Texas at Austin Health Information Technology Certificate Program. Serve on Advisory Boards for Mentegram and Mimir Health Services.

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Dr. Marron-Stearns has provided leadership to informatics and terminology projects at the National Library of Medicine, the National Cancer Institute, and the College of American Pathologists. He served as the International Director of SNOMED International, where he played a central role in the design and development of SNOMED CT. He has provided direction and leadership to two leading EHR vendors, served as the founding board president for the Texas e-Health Alliance, and sits on numerous boards and committees including the National Patient Safety Board, the AHIMA Terminology and Classification Practice Council, the University of Texas at Austin HIT Certification Program Curriculum Committee, the Mentegram Advisory Board, the Mimir Health Advisory Board, and the University of Texas at Austin Health Information Exchange Laboratory Advisory Board. Dr. Marron-Stearns is a cofounder and lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin Health Information Technology Certificate Program, a nationally recognized model for HIT workforce development.

Dr. Marron-Stearns is a leading national authority on protecting the integrity of digital health information in electronic health records and health information exchange. He is also a certified professional coder (CPC), certified family practice coder (CFPC), neurologist (and former assistant professor of neurology and residency program coordinator), and accomplished author. He has provided lectures on a variety of HIT topics, including HIT policy, patient privacy, patient safety, interoperability, natural language processing, clinical decision support, genomic medicine, clinical data integrity, ICD-10-CM/PCS, SNOMED CT, MACRA, coding compliance, practice optimization and other topics. Between 2008 and 2012 he was invited to testify in Washington, D.C. before federal HIT policy organizations on 5 separate occasions, and in 2012 was invited by the Director of the Office of the National Coordination of Health Information Technology to attend a White House Town Hall event focusing on the success of government funded HIT initiatives. In 2012 he was awarded two Certificates of Excellence by HIMSS Electronic Health Record Association for leadership and assistance with Patient Safety and Meaningful Use initiatives.


JOSEPH K. BURKE, RN, MPH

Senior Consultant for Clinical Process Improvement

Joe Burke is a Senior Consultant with greater than 30 years healthcare experience. He has passion to improve clinical care using data and proven improvement methodologies. He advises healthcare organizations on how to improve processes (efficiency) and outcome (effectiveness) to meet internal, system or external clinical quality, regulatory and operational goals.

His particular areas of interest include:

  • Care Coordination
  • Case Management
  • Process/Quality Improvement
  • Outcome Measurement/Improvement
  • Transition of Care
  • Readmission Reduction
  • Process/Quality Improvement Education

Before becoming a consultant Mr. Burke worked for Tenet Healthcare as a Regional Director of Clinical Quality Improvement for Tenet’s Central Northeast Region and subsequently as Director of Care Coordination at Saint Louis University Hospital.

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He has many years of health care operations experience, a substantial portion gained at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis and within Tenet Healthcare. He has successfully held several director positions at a hospital and system level with responsibility for inpatient care, outpatient services and process/quality improvement planning and implementation.

In his many positions, he has accomplished the following:

  • Led multiple improvement teams at a system and hospital level to improve clinical and financial outcomes.
  • Assisted with development, planning and implementation of numerous information systems and databases.
  • Provided direction to meet and monitor adherence to JCAHO, CMS, and State regulatory standards.
  • Provided assessments and recommendations to improve effectiveness of Case Management and Quality/Process Improvement.
  • Participated in several facility planning and construction projects.
  • Helped develop, implement and monitor strategic and operational plans at hospital and health system levels.
  • Implemented several new programs and services.
  • Developed grants and participated in research projects.
  • Provided quality/process improvement education to management and staff.

Joe has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences from Illinois State University and has an Associate Degree in Nursing from Southwestern Illinois College. He has a Master of Public Health degree, with an emphasis in health planning, from Saint Louis University and has completed a Master Certificate in Lean Six Sigma from Villanova University. He is also a Registered Nurse in the State of Missouri.

He has received numerous awards and recognitions for his work at hospitals and within the community.

In his spare time Joe hangs out with his family, reads a lot, swims, volunteers with a local hospice and plays the acoustic guitar.

KEVIN MORAN, MS, MBA

Senior Consultant for Physician Practice Management

Kevin Moran has a proven record of accomplishment in business as a senior executive and entrepreneur. Kevin has more than 15 years executive experience in the Human Resource and Healthcare industries. Kevin has completed a Master’s Degree in Systems Management and a Master’s in Business Administration. Kevin brings a results-driven philosophy to each of his engagements and his experience and innovation will help your organization achieve success.

His particular areas of interest include:
• Medicare, Medicaid, and Commercial Payor Contracting & Enrollment
• Contract modeling and analysis of fee schedules
• Provider credentialing/privileging & managed care payor enrollment
• Regulatory Compliance Management
• Strategic planning & business development
• Budget Planning/Administration

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Kevin has provided the following services in previous engagements:
• Measurement of the effectiveness and efficiency of the health system community benefit programs through statistical analysis and participant quality surveys
• Providing leadership to identify and report community benefit services and assist with coordination and oversight of annual community reports
• Initiatives to assess community needs and develop community benefit programs to address specific regional and community healthcare issues
• Working with a large hospital groups looking to expand the number of affiliated hospitals, medical clinics, specialty providers and physicians
• Managed Care contracting responsibilities for Medicare, Medicaid and commercial Payors
• Providing leadership to identify and report community benefit services and assist with coordination and oversight of annual community reports
• Responsibilities for new business ventures including research, writing business plans, working with financial institutions, and developing marketing strategies
• Execution of business development and marketing plans, sales goals, fiscal policies, and audit systems for human resources consulting firm
• Change management, staff training and development, corporate vision setting, and fiscal policy and control in a large corporate settings
• Collaboration with board members, management officials, and executives to discuss and resolve issues and manage business operations and activities
• Preparation of financial statements, cost reports, and compliance with all federal and state financial reporting requirements and regulations

JENNIFER ALBRIGHT, RN, BSN

Senior Consultant, Emergency Department and Throughput

Jennifer Albright has over 30 years’ experience in Emergency Department Nursing.  In addition, she has 10 years’ experience with Allscripts Healthcare Solutions.  While at Allscripts, her focus was education, implementation, sales support, reducing admissions and assessing patient flow throughout the acute stay.  Jennifer also has a broad band of knowledge with ED Evaluation and Management providing suggestions to maximize unrealized revenue opportunities within the ED.

Her particular areas of interest include:

  • Emergency Department assessment and process flow
  • Meaningful Use and ACO Strategy
  • Emergency Department Clinical Documentation Improvement and Coding
  • Return on Investment and Gap Analysis for IT systems
  • System Expert, Project Management, Implementation, Optimization and Training for Allscripts ED and Patient Flow
  • Outcomes Measurement and Reporting Improvements

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In her many positions, she has accomplished the following:

  • Worked as an independent implementation consultant, provided training for physicians, nurses and administrators in preparation for automation with Allscripts ED into a live environment for large health systems (clients such as Johns Hopkins, Elmhurst NY, NSLIJ and Lennox Hill)
  • Clinical Support provided to Sales for Pre Implementation ROI, Assessment and Demonstrations for key stakeholders.
  • Independent consultant for Health Care Systems resulting in client acquisitions for ED EMR.
  • Developed, implemented, and directed the Emergency Department coding program; the success of the program increased hospital’s billable revenue by 40%.
  •  “Superuser” for Healthmatics ED, provided EMR implementation and application management to physicians and temporary staff unfamiliar with Healthmatics.

Jennifer has become a trusted resource for her hospitals she has engaged in.  She has been involved with many clients from some of the smaller institutions to the largest.  She is known for using the software to solve problems and meet National Care Standards.


NANCY J. FLINT, BSN, MS, CCM

Senior Consultant

Nancy J. Flint has more than 35 years of nursing and health care experience.  The last 20 years have been spent in health care management.  Nancy has progressed over her long career from nursing in military service to development of comprehensive health service programs in a competitive and changing market place.  Her background has included the start-up of home health care agencies, influencing the identification of community need and justification through to licensing, Medicare certification, and TJC accreditation. In addition, she has held posts as Director of Case Management in proprietary hospitals, non-proprietary hospitals, and University Medical Centers.  These varied experiences have provided her a unique perspective on integrated management approaches.

Her particular areas of interest include:

  • Operationalization of case management & care coordination toward efficient workflow & design;
  • Community & System Transitions of Care for chronic high risk populations;
  • Primary care pathway development, e.g., appropriately refocusing care from emergency care areas;
  • Discharge planning and alignment with post-hospital facilities, agencies, and resources;
  • Development of tracking methodologies for the frequent user of hospital services; and
  • Development of a culturally acceptable transition to palliative care & hospice.

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With her extensive and diverse career background, she has been able to make significant contributions to the development of holistic advances in health care in a variety of organizational cultures and social settings.  She is always exploring the potential for opportunities to advance new and emerging approaches toward promoting the health care continuum where her flexible perspective of health care management and change leadership are able to stand out.   She is especially interested in working with clients to implement new and innovative health care strategies.  She is able to create an environment that stimulates forward thinking, systems oriented, and innovative health care structures.

In recent years Nancy has:

  • Provided operational oversight for Case Management Departments focusing on chronic disease management.
  • Designed and staffed a Clinical Resource Management department at a university medical center that employed indicators and adaptive management strategies to balance the delivery of care in a fiscally responsible way.
  • Directed pediatric hospital department heads in development of a Family-Centered Care initiative.
  • Served as lead administrator for the comprehensive multi-disciplinary provision of care services at a pediatric rehabilitation hospital.
  • Developed a new position for creating liaisons with special diverse populations of pediatric patients and families.
  • Directed ambulatory children’s facility with 50 physicians and an average outpatient visit rate of 250/day.
  • Identified and managed initiation of computer & telecommunication systems supporting clinical processes in acute care and home health settings.
  • Established and directed a certified home health agency in rural Virginia that grew to a client visit rate of over 1,000/month within 5 years.

Her most recent consultancy involved serving as interim Director for a Case Management Department in a South Carolina hospital.  During her tenure, she worked with management to improve the overall function and efficiency of the nursing/social worker staff, effectively implemented a Quality Management review program, and proposed, justified, and obtained management approval on the expansion of staff to best utilize department FTEs.

Nancy obtained a Master’s Degree in Administration from Texas A&M University and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree from D’Youville College.  Nancy holds professional membership in the American Case Management Association (ACMA) and served as a Board Member and President Elect of ACMA’s Northern California Chapter.  She also is a member of the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE).  Nancy holds a Certification for Case Management which has been in effect from 2003 to the present.

 

 

JENNIFER LATIMER

Senior Vice President of Strategic Marketing

For more than 15 years, Jennifer Latimer has been driving effective marketing programs and delivering top-line results for organizations, primarily in the healthcare IT industry. Her history with building strategic marketing and communications for maximum impact has led to leadership roles within aggressive growth businesses and organizations.

Jennifer’s healthcare background includes software, technology and services for the small and large ambulatory physician market; IDNs/hospitals and health systems; post-acute organizations and pharmaceutical development organizations. With a passion for creating a more efficient and connected community of health, her breadth of experience spans the following solution areas:

  • Population Health Management
  • Care Management / Care Coordination
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Practice Management, Cost Accounting/Budgeting
  • HIE / Longitudinal Patient Record
  • Home Health and Hospice
  • Patient Engagement
  • Mobile Healthcare
  • Emergency Department

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In her 8 years at Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, a $1.4 billion company, Jennifer served as Director of Segment Marketing for three different business units as well as Director of Product Marketing. Her leadership roles provided overall strategic direction for the marketing plan, including product messaging/positioning, budget, program and campaign development, reporting/assessment methods and marketing communications. Her efforts were responsible for generating leads and helping build and close sales pipeline to meet business unit sales and revenue targets. She was also an integral project leader during the $330M Misys/Allscripts merger, overseeing the marketing integration of the physician market solutions.

Other accomplishments include:

• Led overall strategic marketing programs and corporate brand communications, including seminars, collateral, sales tools, Web site, events, Webinars & industry/partner relations
– Improved marketing return on investment to 2,485%
– Built PR’s return on marketing dollar to $15.75
– Increased Web & print advertising-generated sales by 410%
– Elevated advertising leads by 192%
– Boosted direct mail return on investment by 804%
• Managed key public relations initiatives for the Pharmaceutical Development business unit of a $44 billion, Fortune 25 healthcare services & technologies corporation, generating more than 35M media impressions & an estimated $1.2M in earned PR value over the course of one year.
• Designed & supervised the communications for a grand opening of an $80M state-of-the-art drug development facility, including media relations, event planning, investor relations & public affairs initiatives
• Played a leading role in long-term media relations project for pharmaceutical brand identity firm, resulting in an annual revenue increase of 52% percent for client
• Delivered industry insight as Communications Work Group committee member for national vendor association (HIMSS EHRVA)
• Developed powerful positioning and messaging for existing and new solutions, including competitive analysis, win/loss interviews and sales enablement tools / training.

STACY HOWARD, RN, MBA, MHA

Senior Clinical Consultant

An experienced Registered Nurse with Masters Degrees in Healthcare Administration and Business Administration, Stacy Howard boasts more than 30 years of healthcare experience in her consulting role at HCIT.  Stacy Howard specializes in clinical optimization and standardization at both the local and large health system level. Howard’s ability to develop and implement key strategic initiatives, while assisting senior level healthcare executives deal with core business challenges, ensures the success of your facility and organization.

Prior to consulting, Howard held several executive leadership roles: Market CEO for Kindred Hospitals; Director of Utilization, Surgical and Medical Products & Services at Mercy Health System; Executive Director, Clinical Supply Chain for MedAssets; Director of Clinical Standardization, Clinical Excellence for Ascension Health; and Chief Nursing Officer at Vencor Hospital.

Her particular areas of interest include:
• Quality Outcomes
• Clinical Process Improvement and Standardization
• Product Utilization
• Value Analysis
• Contract Negotiations
• State and CMS Regulations and Surveys as well as Action Plans
• P&L Accountability
• Supply Chain
• Reorganization & Process Improvement

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Career Accomplishments include:

  • Promoted to Market CEO after stabilizing and turning around a failing facility on the brink of closure to profitability in 18 months and opening a brand new HIH LTAC.
  • Doubled the Average Daily Census. and returned Kindred-St. Louis to profitability moving from a YE12 de­cit to a YE13 EBITDA of 1.1M over budget.
  • Responsible for guiding and supporting the implementation of the Clinical Excellence initiatives at the corporate level in partnership with the clinical, supply chain and administrative teams across 67 Ascension Health facilities.
  • Developed a Single Use Device reprocessing initiative, achieving 90% compliance during the ­rst year resulting in $5M in revenue. The initiative continues today with an annual revenue stream estimated to be in excess of $6.5M.
  • Served as the Clinical Leader and Chair of Mercy system wide Core Nursing and OR Service Lines. Key member of the contracting vertical with a $100M portfolio serviced by a team of sourcing and clinical professionals.
  • Reduced Drug Cost Per Patient Day from $130/PPD to $85/PPD through an Antibiotic Stewardship Program, Therapeutic Equivalent, establishment  of PNT Team, & Formulary Review Process.
  • Led largest to-date clinical evaluation/trial across Mercy & touched over 3,000 physician evaluation
  • forms to gain support to move away from Ethicon products to Covidien resulting in$17M savings.
  • Led savings initiatives totaling $4.5M for Sisters of Mercy in the OR & Medical/Surgical Service Lines Led Reprocessing Program for the Mercy System increasing annual savings from $197K to $1.7M.