PAC Member Awards

Access Champions | Best Practice Award Winners

2024 Access Champions

The Patient Access Collaborative recognizes members who have demonstrated excellence in patient access. These individuals have positively impacted patient access at their health system by improving access workflows, breaking down access barriers, or going above and beyond their call of duty to ensure patients get access to the ambulatory enterprise.

Gregory Addicott

Amy Tufano, MBA, CPXP

Sr. Director, Patient Access, Seattle Children's 

Nominated by Tia Rooney, Director, Ambulatory Operations and Strategic Initiatives 
"It is with great pleasure that I nominate Amy Tufano, Sr. Director of Patient Access at Seattle Children's, for the Access Champion's Award. Amy's dedication to improving patient access and her relentless pursuit of excellence make her an exemplary candidate for this recognition.

Amy's journey in healthcare administration, spanning her tenure at Virginia Mason to her current role at Seattle Children's, has been marked by a steadfast commitment to continuous improvement and lean methodology. What sets Amy apart is her remarkable ability to lead with humility and empathy, never letting her ego overshadow the importance of collaboration and teamwork.

One of Amy's notable achievements lies in her exceptional relationship-building skills with service line leaders. Through her efforts, she has cultivated strong partnerships that have proven instrumental in breaking down access barriers and streamlining workflows. Her collaborative approach has fostered a culture of transparency and cooperation, enabling the entire organization to work towards a common goal of enhancing patient access.

A testament to Amy's dedication is her unwavering support for the Adolescents Medicine team. Recognizing the critical importance of access to care for adolescents, Amy personally spearheaded a value stream analysis to identify and address barriers impeding timely access. Over the past 12 months, she has invested significant time and resources into implementing solutions that have resulted in tangible improvements in access for adolescent patients.

Amy's leadership extends beyond mere professional obligations; it embodies a genuine commitment to the well-being of patients and their families. Her tireless advocacy for access to care reflects her deep-rooted belief in equitable healthcare for all. The team is now meeting their fill rates and visit volume targets which means kids are getting the care they deserve! 

In summary, Amy Tufano exemplifies the qualities of an Access Champion. Her dedication, leadership, and passion for continuous improvement have not only transformed access workflows but have also made a profound impact on the lives of patients served by Seattle Children's. I wholeheartedly endorse Amy for the Access Champion's Award and believe she is highly deserving of this recognition."


Barbara Rieseberg

Barbara Rieseberg

Director of Operations, Ambulatory Services, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

Nominated by Mary Bolg, VP of Medical Specialties & Diagnostics
"Barbara has been engaged in access work for many years. In her current role, she is leading up multiple efforts including our scheduling optimization work, which focuses specifically on template builds, as well as our TAP work (Throughput & Access for Patients) which focuses on 6 elements to improve clinic efficiency and patient throughput:  policies, referral management, use of non-provider staffing, use of APPs, scheduling and space, and use of telehealth and all of this is centered around leadership commitment so that we can build these practices into the clinic in a sustainable way.  Her work has resulted in us seeing thousands of more patients year over year.  She is positively impacting our ability to take care of our community."


Barbie Beaudrie

Barbie Beaudrie

Utilization and Capacity Manager, UF Health Jacksonville

Nominated by Xiomara Velez, Director
"Barbie is EPIC certified and has dedicated and immeasurable amount of time to meet with each individual practice in our system to advocate for access, to provide solutions towards each provider's template, to sort through an inordinate amount of data always keeping the patient at the center of the work that needs to be done.  

Her work is impressive she gives beyond 100% and shows true commitment and dedication to access."


Brynn Howard

Brynn Howard

Operations Administrator, Mayo Clinic

Nominated by Jessi Johnston, Coordinator Practice Operations - Project Manager
"When you look up Access Champion in the dictionary (just pretend it’s listed and that dictionaries are still laying around for just these moments…), you will see Brynn’s Mayo Clinic Directory photo. The woman eats, sleeps, and breathes access. Case in point, she listens to meeting recordings like they are podcasts.

In absolute sincerity, during Brynn’s three years with Office of Access Management (OAM) she has moved the needle in all aspects of access including template innovation, operational planning to meet the needs of an omni-channel “call center”, self-scheduling acceleration to give our patients the off-hour opportunities they desire, knowledge management to guarantee our teams have resources to easily assist patients and colleagues, and automation workgroups to not only ensure the team is utilizing all that is currently available, but to proactively automate in ways that best support our patients and staff. By building multi-disciplinary, and sometimes cross-site, project teams and workgroups the needed stakeholders are present to make the highest impact decisions possible.

Additionally, by engaging with organizations such as the Patient Access Collaborative, she has emboldened our leadership team to share best practices, lessons learned, and innovation with an audience including, but also much larger than Mayo Clinic. Brynn’s revolutionary and fast paced ways keep Mayo Clinic’s OAM team at the forefront of cutting-edge access!"


Carlos Estrada

Carlos Estrada

Chief of Urology, Boston Children's Hospital

Nominated by Kevin Pawl, Senior Director of Patient Access
"We are nominating Dr. Carlos Estrada, MD, MBA and Chief of Urology at Boston Children’s Hospital for his exceptional commitment and advocacy toward Patient Access. As a precursor to and throughout all of this work, Dr. Estrada has found unique success by building a culture that places the patient at the center of everything that drives BCH Urology. In a professional world where differences in preferences and approach drive variation in clinical care delivery constructs by individual site, clinic and/or physician, Dr. Estrada has been a guiding light whose work to gain consensus where appropriate, build relationships and foster a culture of transparency and direct accountability to the mission of BCH Urology has resulted in unprecedented Faculty alignment, trust and buy-in. None of the work below would have been possible without, first and foremost, the focus on organizational behavior and development that Dr. Estrada has committed to over the last 3 years. Since being named Urologist-in-Chief in 2021, Dr. Estrada has sought to redefine patient access and service excellence, with the goal to become best-in-class; his leadership served as a critical turning point that completely transformed our department's approach to patient access". 

Some of this work and associated accomplishments include:

1. Optimized patient/family phone access via improved phone tree routing:
- Improved time to answer by 35% (from 4.6 minutes to 3 minutes)
- Reduced abandoned calls by 43% (~17 calls per day)

2. Championed the removal of all pre-scheduling, provider triage wait queues for non-urgent general urology and voiding dysfunction new patient visits to prioritize patient access and convenience, and live scheduling which led to:
-  Increased percentage of new patients being scheduled at the time of initial outreach by 40%
- Completely eliminated new patient inquiry loss (patient never scheduled) for a subset of triaged patients (from 20%)
- Decreased number of second opinions routing through clinician review/waiting process by ~60%

3. Led initiative to add “same week” access appointments for patients and PCPs. As a result, ~11 patients each week are now scheduled in the same week as their initial inquiry (~1,100 appointments scheduled same week over a two year period):

4. Led multiple initiatives aimed at fixing Epic Decision Tree (GPS) algorithms which:
- Optimized patient self-scheduling scope/ability (~750 self-scheduled patients per year)
- Decision tree optimization sets the stage for exponential growth in patient self-scheduling upon BCH’s broader Epic launch in June 2024
- Allowed centralized schedulers (PLP) and satellites to book visits directly, reducing scheduling delays and hand-offs between administrative professionals
- Removed new patient testing from Urology’s new patient workup processes, which reduced number of new patients who needed testing prior to visit by 93%

5. Patients who did not receive testing before visit experienced a 14% reduction in lag time.

6. Led multiple initiatives aimed at increasing appointment access within the existing clinic day construct (without adding physician time):
- Worked collaboratively to optimize scope of Advanced Practice Clinicians (NPs and Pas), which increased appointment access by 14% without adding physician time; Increased ratio of surgical orders generated to appointment visits scheduled by 3% and the number of surgical procedure requests generated by 15% ; increased clinic volume by 11% (with one less surgeon)
- Led multiple template optimization initiatives that added available appointment slots without adding physician time (~4% increase in FY22, ~3% increase in FY24); increased satellite appointment slots available by 10%
- Shifted clinic times to provide after-hours, evening virtual visit access for patients who frequently need follow- up, which have 100% fill rates
7. Led multiple initiatives that will enhance care continuity for return patients and avoid loss-to-follow-up:
- Implemented Epic Digitized check out (Return to Clinic Orders) for 95% of our patient encounters
- Implemented annual rolling open templates, ensuring that BCH Urology physician schedules are always open at least a minimum of 13 months and up to 18 months in the future
- The combination of the above opened up ability for patients to schedule live at check out for 85% of their visits."


Christie FuehrerChristie Fuehrer

Coordinator - Access Operations, Mayo Clinic - Rochester

Nominated by Kali Eastway, Supervisor - Coordinator Operations

"Christie is an exceptional employee who consistently exceeds expectations in her role. Her collaborative spirit is highlighted through her active engagement with leaders to explore innovative approaches to enhance the utilization of our Epic System and maximize access for our patients. She generously shares all her insights and best practices with her colleagues, fostering a culture of continuous improvement. 

It is evident Christie’s resourcefulness is demonstrated in her hands-on approach to problem solving. She continuously demonstrates a willingness to dive into details to troubleshoot root causes of issues or errors and implements effective solutions in a quick, efficient manner. 

Christie’s commitment to excellence and her ability to adapt to changing circumstances makes her a valuable asset to the organization. Her collaborative, innovative, and resourceful mindset not only benefits her immediate team, but also positively impacts the broader organization. Christie’s exemplary work ethic and dedication make her a role model to her peers and contributes to Mayo Clinic’s patient-centered values."


Claire O’Donnell 

Claire O’Donnell 

Project Manager, UVA Health

Nominated by Gina D. Engel, MD and Alan C. Dalkin, MD

"UVA has been undergoing a major access improvement project that started over 2 years ago. It will eventually touch every clinic and every provider in over 120 clinics with 1500+ providers. This work has been extensive and looking just at the access piece, there has been a need to set system standards on several issues. The team has had to create system standards for the length of a session, what is our system late policy and what should a standard template look like.  The template standards alone have been complicated and have led to many conversations and iterations. Our access team members have been extremely busy not only building and adjusting individual templates, but they have also had many difficult conversations with providers and other team members who may not understand the benefit of giving our patients first call resolution and our access team members improved tools to do their work.

While there are many people deserving of recognition in this work, Claire O’Donnell is the name that comes to mind first and foremost. She has been wonderful to work with and has helped enforce and create Best Practice. Among the best practices instituted, she has helped make clear what our system standards are for creating a template.  She has helped educate our access team members, leaders in our other departments and individual providers. Through her efforts, we have clear and concise documentation of guidelines and FAQs that serve as a critical resource across the ambulatory enterprise.  She has had many difficult conversations and is always the model of professionalism. Claire has helped us be very consistent in how we embark on this work for each area.  She listens to the concerns and the nuances that occur within varying departments and can creatively solve problems to help people meet the system standards while simultaneously having a session that is doable for the provider and the clinical team.   She has helped us maintain a consistent standard approach with thoughtful flexibility and understanding that every area is not the same. 

Claire works with other members of the access team, our clinical leaders, and Associate Chief Medical Officers. She works independently and knows when to bring bigger questions back to our team.  When these instances happen, she brings issues forward in an organized and thoughtful manner, always taking care to be complete, balanced and have a potential solution prepared for consideration.  She is the model of what we want as part of a leadership team. She is great at building teams and empowering her team members. This work is measurable as we can see the number of templates that comply and even more importantly, we can see the number of additional new patient slots that have been provided. This is true across all 3 waves of our implementation. Below is a summary of the work done with Wave 3 our internal medicine, family medicine and general pediatrics. If we look at our wave 1 and 2 groups you will see similar results as well as if you see the compliance with the decision trees and how that supports the visit numbers. By using this consistent approach, this work can be replicated as we do with each wave. Finally, there is value in this work as patients get first call resolution, providers see the right patients in the right appointment slots and work such as records collection are being taken out of the clinical space.

I hope you will agree that Claire O’Donnell deserves this award and is a leader in her work in healthcare access.  Her performance has been universally superb, and she serves as an exceptional role model for those team members under her tutelage."


Daniel ThomasDaniel Thomas

Corporate Director, Access Digital Transformation, Emory Healthcare

Nominated by Sarah Kier, VP, Access

"I would like to recognize Daniel Thomas and his contributions to our system's self service options through Emory now.

Daniel transitioned into his new role in winter 2022, and had about 2 seconds of time to think about our operational plans before we launched into Emory Now. A key element of Emory Now was patient self service, and Daniel was the prime architect of the approach, the interventions, the roll out, and the execution of a hugely successful initiative. It is not hyperbole to say that every single division leader across Emory PGP has specifically named Daniel as a helpful, knowledgeable, supportive, and critical business partner. Daniel excels at "yes-if" thinking, and has a knack for getting others into that mindset as well. Due to Daniel's leadership and hard work, we crushed the goal we'd set for patient self service in FY23, and he's not done yet. 

On a personal note, Daniel is an exceptional colleague. He is thoughtful, intentional, accountable, driven, and capable. Very few professionals get to the level of anticipating needs, cutting to the heart of the matter, and being appropriately prepared as Daniel has already achieved as a relatively early careerist. Daniel's ambition and drive are appropriately backed by confidence and balanced by humility and curiosity. I look forward to seeing Daniel aggregate all of our digital access solutions under his purview and to him bringing our currently aspirational roadmap into reality."


Dawn ReichbaumDawn Reichbaum

Assistant Director, Clerical Operations, Cleveland Clinic

Nominated by Elsa Jacobson, Executive Director, Access Transformation

"Dawn Reichbaum, Assistant Director of Clerical Operations, is a true Access Champion at the Cleveland Clinic and we recommend she be recognized by the PAC for her significant contributions to access.
Dawn leads Clerical Operations for over 100 sites, and is responsible for the performance, growth, and development of 1000+ caregivers (employees) in patient coordination and scheduling roles. 
In addition to her significant operational responsibilities in Ambulatory care, Dawn led the implementation of an enterprise-wide standard, consistent process for at-the-bedside scheduling of patients in the ED and in the hospital. Before patients are discharged, one of Dawn's team members spends time with them and their family members setting up appointments for post-discharge follow-up care. Scheduling collaboratively with the patient before they leave ensures they have a plan that will work for them and also meets their clinical needs. While rolling out a consistent scheduling process (even across a large enterprise) may seem straightforward, our Hospital and ED Discharge Scheduling rollout was anything but. 
Our clinicians manage their visit types and templates differently across regions and across specialties: sometimes there are even differences in scheduling even within specialties and regions. In order to end up with a single elegant, consistent, reliable process, Dawn needed to manage change across countless different pre-existing scheduling models, she needed to manage significant complexity, and she needed to work with numerous stakeholders across our many sites. 
As obstacles, objections, and challenges came up through the rollout, Dawn reacted with professionalism and commitment. She listened to stakeholders, and while she acknowledged the barriers and difficulties, she kept her focus on the reason this work matters: proactively arranging follow-up care before patients leave is the right thing for our patients, and it produces significantly better outcomes. 
Patients who Dawn's team schedules prior to discharge have *27% lower readmission rates* than those who leave without an appointment. This is a huge benefit to our patients who can recuperate successfully at home, and helps us deliver the highest quality care possible in the right setting. 
Because of Dawn's efforts, Cleveland Clinic took a significant step forward as an enterprise in the way our patients access care after leaving our hospitals and EDs. We can't think of a person at Cleveland Clinic more deserving of recognition for effort and results in Access."


Elyse PaysonElyse Payson

Project Manager, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

Nominated by Mary Bolg, VP of Medical Specialties & Diagnostics

"Elyse - Congrats on completing the PAC ACM Master Class course! I am so glad you took the time out of your schedule to learn this valuable material. You are making such a huge difference on our TAP work and this is the type of education that makes sure we are current on our practices at DH.  The work you have done to help our clinics improve access and operational workflows improves the lives of our patients. Thank you for your dedication to DH  and our patients and your constant focus on how we can provide better care and service to our patients and their families. You are a shining star!"


Erika DeVinnyErika DeVinny

Access Operations Supervisor, Mayo Clinic

Nominated by Joan Broers, Operations Manager

"Erika DeVinny is an Access Operations Supervisor at Mayo Clinic and responsible for leading the Vascular Center and Spine Center appointment office teams. Erika has a total of 24 staff that report to her. One of the priority initiatives that Erika has led her teams in this past year is staffing to workload. As more and more work become "off the phone" tasks, it is vitally important to manage all tasks that the scheduling teams are responsible to successfully complete.  Erika creatively developed cross training opportunities for her teams to support each other in their tasks (phone calls, digital scheduling, digital communication with providers etc). In addition, efficient workflows for off the phone tasks were developed and updated which allowed the team to decrease thousands of backlogged requests in the scheduling work queues to a couple hundred. The outcomes demonstrated higher filler rates and better access for patients. Erika also recently assumed responsibility for the Spine Center scheduling team a couple of months ago. This has required Erika to patiently meet with each team member, learn their workloads, and offer coaching on opportunities and guide them in their work.  Several changes have been made to staffing to workload in this center also.  The Spine Center had large institutional goals for improvement and has successfully exceeded their patient targets by 50%. Erika is a very collaborative leader and works with others in a professional and compassionate approach in interactions and decision making."


Evan NorfolkDr. Evan Norfolk

Nephrology Physician and Division Chief, Geisinger

Nominated by Leslie Holtzapple, Senior Director, Capacity Management & Scheduling

"Dr. Norfolk is a Nephrology Physician and Division Chief at Geisinger. Dr. Norfolk is an advocate for our patients and the use of technology and automation. He is always eager to partner with our access teams to identify optimization opportunities, improve access, implement technology solutions, and automate workflows and people processes. Over this last year we have collaborated on many opportunities to improve patient access. We are in the process of establishing automated outreach to patients identified as needing follow-up care. Additionally, we are working together to implement follow-up appointment orders and self-scheduling for follow-up patients. Dr. Norfolk is an incredible access partner and his tremendous efforts in improving access show through his willingness to be a leader in improving existing processes and implementing new ones. His continued efforts further support our access and ease of use initiative at Geisinger."


Grady HebertGrady Hebert

AVP, Patient Access Services, Northwell Health

Nominated by Holly Koehler, VP, Patient Access Services

"I would like to nominate Grady Hebert for the remarkable program he led with the launch of our Spanish Access Center.   

The Spanish Access Center has demonstrated extraordinary work that made a significant impact to the Latino community for Northwell Health.   

The Spanish Access Center was created in 2023 to improve the support model for Spanish speaking patients.  Prior to the Spanish Access Center being created, the PAS representative would call the interpreter service (third-party vendor) whenever a call from a Spanish speaking patient would come in.  This process often resulted in a less than optimal patient experience.  The average time to manage the call with the interpreter service was nearly 11 minutes which was more than double the average time to handle a regular call at PAS.  This resulted in patient and PAS team member frustration.  Other negative impacts include high costs for interpreter services by a third-party vendor, and reduced PAS capacity. The third-party vendor expense represents over 95% utilization for Spanish-speaking interpreters and supports ~70K PAS calls each year.  It was clear to the PAS Spanish Access Center team that too many Northwell patients were not being supported in the way that represents the best of Northwell Health. 

The dedicated access center for Spanish speaking patients was created for patients seeking care at Northwell Health without increasing health system expense.  Grady pulled together existing representatives fluent in speaking Spanish between Jacksonville and the New York PAS sites.  Next was to assess their competency, dedication, passion, and skills to be part of the Spanish Access Center.  We identified 26 representatives to receive language certification through a credentialed program offered by Language Line.  The new team received training on how to support these patient calls. The next step was to identify which calls to include in the pilot.  The team created a process which identifies those practices with the highest utilization of interpreter service and vendor support need.  The process was then mapped out to create a model that supports a frictionless patient experience.  

The Spanish Access Center achieved incredible results through this new support model.  Team member engagement has increased by tying our teams to this mission to better serve the community.  The team reports an improvement in efficiency and patient experience.  
The following results support the success of this program and the exceptional teamwork across departments.
-    Increase in calls supported by NWH PAS Spanish Access Team (calls no longer supported by vendor) – 15K calls during the pilot.
-    Patient call time reduced by 4:12min (10:52min to 6:40min average handle time) 
-    Patient experience exceeded that of English-Speaking Team Members as shown below. 
      o    First call resolution increased by 5.3% - 91.2%
      o    Experience with representative increased by 3% - 94% 
      o    Ease to Complete increased by 3% - 94% 
-    Spanish patients are ecstatic about the new service, and they are surveying at a higher satisfaction level than their English-speaking counterparts.
      o    This is based on nearly 800 surveys answered by our Hispanic patients.
      o    We didn’t have PX scores prior to the pilot, but the baselines create an excellent platform to continue to support this population of patients.
-    Vendor expense reduced by reduced utilization of the service.
-    in year one by ~96K based on the number of calls handled by the Spanish Access Team at approximately $8 / call with LL.

I would like to share with you the following supporting testimonials as a testament to this phenomenal work supported by this team.

Patients feedback: 
"Thank you for having an option to speak to someone who speaks Spanish.  Thank you, thank you so much!" 

“Good morning, I just want to say Maria was very polite and professional in all that she did for me today. She resolved my issue today and I really appreciate it and am so thankful that she is the one who answered my phone call." 

"This lady was excellent. She solved my problem. I love it, Thank you.”

PAS Spanish Access Team Member feedback:

“It is a good way to look out for our patients, it has helped us communicate better with our Hispanic community.”

“Patients have been very grateful for the new bilingual system; they are very happy that someone can assist them in their language and that there is no need to place them on a long hold for an interpreter. From my perspective as an agent, it’s been very good. In the beginning, it was a little more difficult and calls were longer but as I got more used to the line, it has been better.”

“Patients for the Spanish queue feel that they are being heard.  They feel a sense of relief because they are speaking to someone who will understand them.  A lot of them don't know what they are calling about and its helpful to them and we can assist them with what they truly need.”

“I just enjoy helping our population, it makes me feel better that they are not waiting as long and dealing with challenging interpreter services.”

In conclusion, I would like to nominate Grady Hebert for access champion."


Haley BoltonHaley Bolton

Corporate Director, Access Shared Service, Emory Healthcare

Nominated by Sarah Kier, VP, Access

"I would like to nominate Haley for her work on “Emory Now”. Truly a seed planted by Duke several years ago, we took a rough concept to a fully developed program and initiative across Emory Healthcare. The organization was in financial peril, our c-suite leadership was in flux, and “Access” was named as a pain point and organizational problem. The pressure was on, the stakes were unbelievably high, and Haley not just jumped but swan dove into the fray and got her arms around it very quickly. Haley’s deep organizational and technical knowledge, strong relationships, creativity, organization skillz, persistence, collaboration, and fierce dedication to deliver results allowed her to truly own and manage this project from inception to transformative change. Haley had to balance going deep into details with summarizing and managing up. She had to rally her exhausted and crunchy team who were coming off a long and difficult Epic implementation into a “yes, if” “how can we help” “happy to” team of professionals that were sent autonomously out to help facilitate this change. She had to petition, champion, and advocate for this work to take priority across so many teams – EHC, PGP, Divisions, Digital – and she was able to not only make the case but get others excited about being a part of the change. I can not think of another moment in my career where the job that needed to get done so exactly matched the talent and competencies of an individual. This was a perfect alignment of Haley’s growth, development, finesse, and readiness, and she absolutely captured the moment. I could not be prouder of how Haley led through a very difficult series of sprints, challenges, problem sets, and opportunities. Haley was the spokesperson for this body of work to our executive leaders (including the BOARD!) and did a wonderful job representing all the blood, sweat, and tears that the collective teams put into the project.

Speaking personally, Haley is a true joy to work with. I so appreciated her partnership, advice, friendship, humor, and candor this year as we did hard things. It is incredibly gratifying to reflect on the 10 year journey that we have been on together and individually, and to see the growth and change reflected back to us via organizational change and success."

Nominated by Kelsey Thomas, Assistant Director, Business Services

"Haley was a key part of Emory’s success in transforming outpatient scheduling from a heavily blocked scheduling structure to a more flexible scheduling framework in only four months. During an onsite strategy session for all outpatient divisions Haley led discussions to educate stakeholders on EHR functionalities & best practices, and brainstormed how to move towards a more flexible scheduling framework. These standard expectations for each section are highlighted in the attached document. Following the session, Haley led her teams to consistently meet with the division leaders to ensure that progress was consistently being made. Her team worked in partnership with the clinical sections to implement changes including rebuilding decision trees, expanding template hours to align with cFTE expectations, removing blocks, and changing block and/or visit type settings. This laid the framework to implement a similar, streamlined scheduling experience for patients within MyChart and on the Emory Healthcare website. Lastly, Haley was instrumental in pulling key reports to better understand access performance. She also facilitated building a custom dashboard which allowed end users to understand future capacity and usage metrics for each division, giving users the opportunity to proactively identify capacity constraints or changes. The work was highly successful and would not have been possible without Haley’s support."


Jennifer LongstrethJennifer Longstreth

Access Improvement Specialist Intermediate, Geisinger

Nominated by Marco Mejia, Director, Access Analytics and Technology

"Jen has made an immediate impact upon her arrival in our department over 2 years ago. In that time, she has worked towards making improvements to both agent facing and patient facing communication, to provide a streamlined and more personalized experience.

Curated lists of patient needs and opportunities, such as closing care gaps or encouragement to sign up for the mail order pharmacy, were presented on the agent desktop during their patient interaction.

Additionally, targeted campaigns were developed increase care gap closures, along with a push to increase patient self-scheduling.

These combined efforts resulted in 5% increases to Quality scores for both Colorectal Cancer and Breast Cancer screening, along with a 58% increase in self-scheduling from CY 2022 through CY 2023.

Through her tireless efforts, Jen has made a measurable and meaningful impact to the lives of our patients and community.”


Jessica WilsonJessica Wilson

Director Centralized Access Support, University of Colorado Medicine

Nominated by Paul Rohrer, Director of Access

"Jessica Wilson embodies the mantra of "Access is a Team Sport."  She had an idea of an ambulatory access improvement framework to pilot, found success and developed an FTE neutral Centralized Access Support Team (CAST) to spread the success across the organization (University of Colorado Hospital and UCHealth Medical Group).  Her team supports the template and decision tree initiatives and has seen tremendous outcomes in 14 day access, fill rate, fast pass expansion and daily visit improvements.

While we work for different entities, we share goals and have found synergy through this collaboration.  Through her leadership, data has become readily accessible and subject matter experts are brought in to support the local dyad teams' focus on where they can be most impactful over the next quarter.

Jessica is an incredible partner to operations and the CU School of Medicine.  We would like to see her recognized as an Access Champion."


Julie Henderson

Julie Henderson
Access Improvement Specialist Intermediate, Geisinger

Nominated by Leslie Holtzapple, Senior Director, Capacity Management & Scheduling

"Julie is an access improvement specialist within our Capacity Management team at Geisinger. She leads and project manages many of our access initiatives, and she co-chairs our Access Design Review Group where system guidance is established, and decisions are made on scheduling process and build used throughout our organization. This year Julie completed the reimplementation and alignment of scheduling security across our entire system to support the optimal use of scheduling build and patient access. Additionally, Julie and her peers led our initiative to make scheduling easier for new and acute patients in our system. Together they created a single front door leading patients to first available access for the care they needed as a new or acute patient. Julie advocates for our patients in finding ways to make access to care easier, and her achievements are always shown in the success of accomplishing such, which Julie always executes flawlessly."


Justin PeoplesJustin Peoples

Corporate Director, Contact Centers, Emory Healthcare

Nominated by Sarah Kier, VP, Access

"I am delighted to nominate Justin Peoples for the Access Champion Award in recognition of his visionary leadership and exceptional contributions to the Emory Now initiative.

Justin led his team through the challenges of new escalation protocols, new decision tree implementation, new call handling processes, and adding on night and weekend hours across his scope of responsibilities. Justin also led the development and implementation of our front line team member incentive and development programs; leading to increased performance, improved patient and staff satisfaction, and improved retention across his teams.

In light of his outstanding contributions, I wholeheartedly endorse Justin's nomination for the Access Champion Award. Congratulations, Justin, and thank you!"


Kaci StevensonKaci Stevenson

Template Specialist, Geisinger

Nominated by Leslie Holtzapple, Senior Director, Capacity Management & Scheduling

"Kaci is a template specialist, within the Template Management team at Geisinger. Kaci has a wealth of knowledge and experience. She is well-recognized for her work in mentoring new template specialists within the department. Her accolades include ensuring the accuracy of the template and scheduling build, which this year included a complete revamp of our primary care areas. It is crucial work like this that guarantees that our patients are offered all available access for their care and further supports our access and ease of use initiative at Geisinger."


Kelsey ThomasKelsey Thomas 

Director, Emory Healthcare

Nominated by Haley Bolton, Corporate Director

"I am writing to nominate Kelsey Thomas for the Access Champion Award in recognition of her exceptional efforts in spearheading Emory Now, a transformative project aimed at simplifying scheduling processes and expanding access to care. As a driving force behind Emory Now, Kelsey demonstrated remarkable leadership and dedication, guiding the initiative from conceptualization to implementation with unwavering commitment. One of the most significant achievements of Emory Now was the successful transition from a heavily blocked scheduling system to a more flexible framework across 34 clinical divisions. Through Kelsey's strategic guidance and tireless advocacy, this transition facilitated a remarkable increase in daily arrivals by an additional 353 patients. Moreover, the realized capacity saw a notable enhancement of 8%, signifying a substantial improvement in the accessibility of care for our patients. Additionally, Kelsey helped launch a no show predictive model across our ambulatory environment, helping our teams make more informed decisions about where we could add on patients without disrupting clinic flow and operations. Kelsey's passion for making a tangible difference in the lives of our patients is evident in every aspect of her work."


Keri BurgessKeri Burgess

Contact Center Trainer, Geisinger

Nominated by Janell Pegg, Director Patient Contact Center

"Keri worked hard this year to train our staff on very important access-related flows this past year. She developed a training for Epic FastPass, and she led most of those training sessions for our agents. She wanted to equip our agents with the appropriate scripting and talking points for promoting MyChart as well as the utilization of FastPass, ensuring our patients are being seen in a timely manner. Keri also developed training for a pilot group of agents to collect payments from patients during the time of scheduling. She has also developed “Managing Up” training materials, offering positive scripting that promotes utilizing the access we have available."


Kirsten McLaughlinKirsten McLaughlin

Supervisor-Desk Operations, Mayo Clinic 

Nominated by Loyd Speer, Operations Manager

"Kirsten is the Desk Operations Supervisor in Medical Oncology and consistently exhibits the needs of the patient come first. Kirsten found a gap with orders in Beacon with scheduling all treatments for Zometa and Zoladex injections. Patient orders would fall to the appropriate work queue depending on the timetable i.e.: due within 12 weeks or 4 months, 6 months. The Desk Operations Specialists (DOS) would complete the 12 weeks and the Appt Office greater than that. What was discovered is that letters are sent to schedule their injections, however the patients do not call back and the process is to defer permanently, this caused patients to miss treatment and frustration for the care team. Kirsten saw an opportunity to fix this workflow and now has a dedicated resource from her team (Desk Operation Specialist) directly contacting the patient and scheduling all treatments for Zometa and Zoladex and all associated testing and consults for that patient's episode of care. This has found to be a great patient satisfier.

This example clearly demonstrates excellence in patient access, Kirsten positively impacted a patient access workflow in Medical Oncology with the patient's treatment plan, going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that patients treatments plans are followed as ordered by the care team."


Kyle MarshallDr. Kyle Marshall

Emergency Medicine Physician and Associate Chief Medical Informatics Officer, Geisinger

Nominated by Leslie Holtzapple, Senior Director, Capacity Management & Scheduling

"Dr. Marshall is an Emergency Medicine Physician and Associate Chief Medical Informatics Officer at Geisinger. As part of his ACMIO role he works very closely with our Capacity Management team to guide decision-making and design of our appointment request process and associated guided scheduling tools. It is through his guidance and expertise we work collaboratively with referring and specialty physicians to design referral flows that capture relative patient information that is then used to guide scheduling the patients accurately and timely. Over the past year, Dr. Marshall and his informatic colleagues have led us to simplify processes while keeping the integrity of clinical data collection intake. The success of Dr. Marshall’s work is shown in the success of our abilities to make access for our patients easier, supporting our access and ease of use initiative at Geisinger. "


Kylie Goodew Kylie Goodew 

Access Operations Supervisor: Department of Ophthalmology, Mayo Clinic

Nominated by Corey Knauss, Operations Manager

"Why Kylie Goodew deserves this award:

  •Kylie has been a leading advocate for access in Mayo Clinic’s Ophthalmology department in her capacity as Supervisor for the past one and a half years.
  •She has developed and implemented best practices for self-scheduling by strong utilization of accessible digital content, such as websites, documents, and presentations.
  •She has trained and mentored staff members on how to use self-scheduling tools and techniques, and how to overcome challenging and diverse users.
  •She has collaborated with internal partners and stakeholders to promote accessibility standards and awareness of issues within the department.
  •She has demonstrated a passion and a commitment for making Ophthalmology more accessible, inclusive, and user-friendly for everyone.
  •She has fully embraced self-scheduling opportunities by utilizing Waitlists, Fast Pass, Ticket Scheduling and Ticket Automation
  •Throughout all the changes and challenges, Kylie has kept a positive and curious attitude which has been crucial in equipping her to drive change.

How Kylie has made a positive impact:

  •Kylie has helped Ophthalmology consistently achieve “Top Performer” status across all Mayo Clinic Rochester – Office of Access Management appointment offices with digital scheduling offers.
  •She has improved the user experience and satisfaction of our Patients, Patient Appoint Service Specialists (PASS), and Providers, especially identifying automated opportunities for self-scheduling.
  •She has increased the reach of self-scheduling by working to include Refraction and Sensory Motor tests.
  •She has inspired and empowered other staff members to adopt access best practices and to become access champions in their own roles and teams.
  •Kylie continues to run reports for requests that have fallen off the work queue due to lack of access so as to not lose sight of these patients.
  •She also to audit reasons for overbooking to identify misuse of slots, off-template appts, and reasons for overbooking.
  •Kylie has continued to foster an inclusive environment for cross team collaboration, openly shared concerns, and worked cohesively to implement best solutions for all.
  •Kylie has received many kudos in meetings for her approach, concerns, and genuine desire to find the best workflows for the entire department."


Laura Benson Laura Benson 

VP Radiology, Emory Healthcare

Nominated by Sarah Kier, VP, Access

"I am delighted to nominate Laura Benson for the Access Champion Award in recognition of her visionary leadership and exceptional contributions to the Emory Now initiative.

Laura was the driving force and guiding light behind Radiology's Emory Now implementation. Laura's unwavering dedication, leadership, vision, and drive allowed her team and our Access team to achieve incredible outcomes together. Laura is a fierce advocate for our patients and their access to care, a superb communicator across all levels of our organization, and a thought partner throughout the ideation and execution of this project.

The Radiology Emory Now body of work would not have happened without Laura, and it is successful because of her involvement. I am grateful to work with such a wicked smart, passionate, and visionary colleague who is fully bought in on our work in Access.

In light of her outstanding contributions, I wholeheartedly endorse Laura's nomination for the Access Champion Award."


Laurie O'BryanLaurie O'Bryan

Director, UNC Health

Nominated by Cassandra Miller Georgakopoulos, Director

"Laurie has led innovative advances in nurse triage protocols and the collaboration between scheduling and nurse triage work across UNC. She's also assisted in aligning UNC entities on red word protocols and standards.  Her work has directly impacted patient safety as well as improved our administrative workflows in supporting clinic communication, and patient phone and referral scheduling."


Leticia WarterLeticia Warter 

Quality Manager, Patient Contact Center, UC Davis Health

Nominated by My Tran, Analyst

"I am thrilled to take a moment to acknowledge and celebrate Leticia Warter on a remarkable effort in developing our Quality Assurance (QA) team from its inception to a pinnacle of best practices. Her dedication, leadership, and expertise have played a pivotal role in shaping the team into a powerhouse of quality and efficiency.

Her Achievements:

Strategic Vision: Her strategic vision and foresight in establishing a comprehensive QA strategy have been instrumental in ensuring that quality is not just a goal but a fundamental aspect of our entire development process.

Leadership: Her leadership in fostering collaboration between team members, promoting a culture of continuous improvement, and emphasizing the importance of early involvement in the development process have set the standard for excellence.

Process Optimization: Through her meticulous planning and implementation of automated testing processes, she has significantly enhanced the efficiency and reliability of our testing procedures, saving valuable time and resources.

Continuous Learning: Her commitment to continuous learning and staying abreast of industry best practices has elevated our QA team's capabilities, keeping us at the forefront of quality assurance methodologies.

Team Collaboration: Her emphasis on a collaborative approach has not only strengthened the bonds within the QA team but has also fostered a culture of open communication and shared responsibility across the organization.

This recognition is a testament to her unwavering commitment to excellence, her innovative mindset, and her ability to inspire and lead a team to achieve remarkable milestones.

I extend my heartfelt gratitude for her exceptional contributions. Her dedication to quality has undoubtedly raised the bar for our QA team, and we are privileged to have her as a key driving force in our journey toward excellence.

Linda RoeschLinda Roesch 

Director, Emory Healthcare

Nominated by Haley Bolton, Corporate Director

"I am honored to nominate Linda Roesch for the Access Champion Award in recognition of her exceptional leadership and invaluable contributions to the Emory Now initiative.

As one of the main driving forces behind Emory Now's implementation across imaging, Linda Roesch displayed exemplary leadership, technical expertise, and unwavering dedication. Her role in leading technical discussions, informing the build, and working seamlessly the Epic and Radiant teams was instrumental in ensuring the project's success.

One of Linda's remarkable achievements was her adeptness in navigating the complexities of capacity management within the imaging department. Linda orchestrated the implementation of Emory Now, facilitating a seamless transition that significantly enhanced scheduling efficiencies and expanded access to care for our patients.

Moreover, Linda's proficiency in data analysis and visualization played a crucial role in the project's success. She built numerous dashboards that provided real-time insights into key performance metrics, empowering stakeholders to make informed decisions and drive continuous improvements in access to care.

Linda's collaborative spirit and effective communication were essential in garnering support for the Emory Now project across imaging.

The success of the Emory Now project within imaging would not have been possible without Linda's leadership, expertise, and dedication. Her tireless efforts and commitment to improving access to care for all patients exemplify the qualities of an Access Champion.

In light of her outstanding contributions, I wholeheartedly endorse her nomination for the Access Champion Award."

Lisa E. GriffinLisa E. Griffin  

Vice President - Consumer Experience and Clinical Access, University Hospitals

Nominated by Maureen Duque, Sr. Project Coordinator

"Lisa Griffin created a consumer-centric operational workflow for the patients and employees.  She established a new department called Care Connection Access, driving the change through strategic initiatives and innovation by providing open patient access.  It is focused on servicing our community by seamlessly matching each unique patient need with all available care and services offered across the UH Health System with undivided attention, empathy, compassion, and expertise.  Lisa provided 5-Star services in connecting patients with the right care, at the right location with a consistently exceptional experience and barrier-free access.
Lisa is committed to improving the quality of care and workflow proficiencies.  Lisa identified a need for change in processes to improve operational efficiency or the way we care for our patients. Lisa Griffin’s greatest strength is unblocking the barriers and consistently working on removing obstacles and operational gaps.  Lisa can engage the necessary stakeholders and drive methodical alignment tactical efficiency and innovation.  Lisa championed the implementation of the first-ever University Hospitals Access Council Committee. This council will oversee all manner of activities that directly affect the patient experience in receiving the care they deserve. With the engagement of our most senior executive team to front-line staff, the council will remove barriers to access with a line of sight across the entire enterprise. She has also implemented a new Referral Management Center. The department will leverage the most advanced telephony applications to drive resolution for patient scheduling and close the loop in communication across the health system."

Lori VineLori Vine  

Supervisor - Desk Operations, Mayo Clinic 

Nominated by Jodell Nelsen, Operations Manager 

"Lori is an outstanding leader who is incredibly invested in her team, particularly when it comes to managing change and encouraging innovation, like implementing self-scheduling. Lori acts as a fantastic mentor to her team, providing them with all the necessary resources and tools for success in these areas. What's truly impressive is how Lori approaches change management with such a positive attitude. Her department is now one of the most successful in the organization when it comes to patient self-scheduling. Lori always considers how any change will impact patients and multidisciplinary teams. She is always willing to share her knowledge and experience with her immediate team and other supervisors, particularly when it comes to aligning their practices with the organization's vision of innovation. Lori is an incredibly valuable member of Desk Operations and the entire organization."

Lorrie Bowe 

Lorrie Bowe 

Supervisor - Training Practice Operations, Mayo Clinic Rochester

Nominated by Cassie Crary, Operations Manager

"I am honored to nominate Ms. Bowe for her exceptional contributions to patient access through her exemplary leadership and unwavering dedication. Lorrie's commitment to improving training programs, refining resources, providing recognition, and nurturing a sense of belonging among our team members has profoundly influenced our scheduling operations. Her steadfast adherence to our institution's mission and values serves as a guiding light for all who collaborate with her.

Lorrie's ability to lead by example, combined with her natural talent for motivating and empowering others, distinguishes her as an exemplary champion in our department. From the very beginning of an employee's journey, Lorrie ensures they feel inspired and energized about the significant impact we make in patient access. 

Lorrie's visionary leadership and unwavering commitment make her an indispensable asset to our team, and I enthusiastically endorse her for this well-deserved recognition."

Megan Lex

Megan Lex

Access Improvement Specialist Intermediate, Geisinger

Nominated by Janell Pegg, Director Patient Contact Center

"Megan Lex works long hours to support our patients and our staff. She strives to make sure our agents have the information they need at their fingertips to be successful on their phone calls. She has worked hard to make our instance of Panviva one of the “best implementations” that Panviva has seen. Her team relies on her for accurate information, as well as our agents, our management team, and other departments within our organization. She has become certified in Content, Administration, and Implementation in Panviva this past year. She has also learned to maintain information within SharePoint, Service NOW, and Policy Manager. She is always open to feedback from our agents and her peers, which has helped to improve documentation. Megan is a go-to in the department due to her desire to help others as well as her knowledge and expertise."

Megan Stenzel

Megan Stenzel 

Office of Access Management Supervisor, Mayo Clinic 

Nominated by Christie Fuerher, Office of Access Management Operations Coordinator

"Megan has done a tremendous job leading her divisions through constant change and innovation. She is adept at change management techniques to ensure staff and provider understanding and buy-in on new workflows and scheduling automation opportunities. Megan takes pride in her work and leads by example. Megan spends whatever time is needed to mentor and provide guidance when others reach out.

Megan has worked hard to align her practice’s available access and scheduling workflows for automation. She has created and updated scheduling SOPs and QRGs for the scheduling team’s easy reference. She collaborates weekly with practice leaders and decision tree builders to ensure the needs of the patients and the practices are met. Megan’s contributions have led to increased patient self-scheduling opportunities, reduction in scheduling errors, increased productivity, staff and provider satisfaction. Megan is innovative and willing to share her knowledge with others at every level.

We are proud to nominate Megan for her true dedication to excellence and innovation. Her ability to share and clearly explain the benefits of new opportunities has catapulted her scheduling team into a highly efficient and effective team that now is a leader in trialing new technologies and workflows."

Michelle Winfield Hanrahan

Michelle Winfield Hanrahan 

Chief Clinical Access Officer, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Nominated by Amber Daugherty, Patient Access Director; and Holly Choate, Senior Director of Patient Access

"Michelle Winfield Hanrahan, Chief Clinical Access Officer at UAMS and Senior Nursing Director for the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, is a healthcare leader who is passionate about improving patient access to care and the patient experience. She started her career in health care as a registered nurse for Cardio Thoracic Stepdown at Cleveland Clinic. Michelle has gone on to served in healthcare leadership for over 15 years, and since 2009 has served in senior leadership roles in large healthcare systems. She is a strategic leader that has proven results improving various programs, as-wide strategic healthcare leadership. Michelle is recognized for her innovative approaches to connecting underserved patients to healthcare services. She serves on national committees dedicated to healthcare equity and is considered a thought leader in patient access, leveraging technology to assist in better processes to improve the patient experience. 
Since coming to UAMS in 2021, Michelle has identified and removed barriers to providing exceptional patient experiences, while mentoring and building strong, collaborative teams. She has had a hand in every service line, improving scheduling lag for patients, providing more support for the providers, providing higher quality of care, increasing revenue, using technology in several areas, and driving the Access group in a positive direction. She works tirelessly to improve access for patients across Arkansas. In just over a year, she centralized Neurology, Cancer and Imaging Scheduling to improve struggling areas. She is so passionate and inclusive, she has successfully built very large teams that strive to work with her to improve patient access. Michelle doesn’t just freely share her skills and knowledge with her own facility, she is always available to work with other organizations around the country. She is truly an Access Champion and we are so proud to have her at UAMS."

Nick Woodbury 

Nick Woodbury 

Assitant Director, Emory Healthcare

Nominated by Haley Bolton, Corporate Director

"I am delighted to nominate Nick for the Access Champion Award in recognition of his outstanding leadership and remarkable contributions to the Emory Now project.

As a key leader in the Emory Now initiative, Nick demonstrated exceptional technical expertise, innovative thinking, and unwavering dedication. His pivotal role in leading technical discussions, informing the build, and leveraging scheduling capabilities within the imaging department was instrumental in driving the success of the project.

One of Nick's notable achievements was his adeptness in optimizing scheduling capabilities to enhance access to care for our patients. Through his deep understanding of scheduling dynamics and meticulous attention to detail, Nick spearheaded the implementation of Emory Now, facilitating a seamless transition that significantly improved scheduling efficiencies and expanded access to care."

Prasana Ruxmohan

Prasana Ruxmohan, MHA 

Ambulatory Operations Transformation Specialist, UCI Health 

Nominated by Donna Hurt, Director Ambulatory Care

"Prasana is a highly accomplished colleague who has made significant contributions to improving patient access within our healthcare organization across various projects.

She played a pivotal role in developing an Enterprise Governance Access Structure, establishing system-wide access guiding principles, and creating a comprehensive playbook for specialty template design. She conducted a deep dive into Urology, OBGYN and Ortho data, leading to template clean-up and implementation of best practices for follow-up procedures. 
Under the Vizient Access & Throughput project, Prasana moved our national ranking from being ranked as 7 to number 2 in the nation. Through various clean ups/consolidation of Cancellation Codes, SMS cadence reminders, automated waitlist management for fast pass leveraging SMS, enhancing our referral capture processes by developing an external referral site, eliminating faxing inefficiencies, and ensuring seamless information flow.

Beyond her designated responsibilities, Prasana spearheaded initiatives such as digitizing questionnaires, forms, and consents collaborating with managers to streamline processes, and addressing concerns in high-volume clinics. Patient experience scores are higher than they have been in Ambulatory. She also worked on an In-basket optimization project to address burn out of messages and ensuring patients receive timely responses.  

Overall, Prasana's dedication, strategic approach, and collaborative efforts have significantly improved patient access workflows, broken down access barriers, and enhanced operational efficiency within our ambulatory enterprise."

Rebecca Buss

Rebecca Buss 

Access Strategist, Mayo Clinic

Nominated by Elissa Nelson, Senior Director Systems Transformation

"Rebecca Buss has served in the role of Self-Scheduling Access Champion for Mayo Clinic for the past 3 years. Rebecca led the team working with our practices and with our technical build team to configure the self-scheduling of individual appointments and bundles. She has used a data driven approach to identify the highest impact targets and strategies.  Her communication to leadership has been excellent to raise awareness of self-scheduling as an important improvement to patient experience – our patients are expecting to be able to self-schedule appointments! Rebecca has also shared her knowledge and expertise with external organizations via presentations at conferences and webinars – including the Patient Access Collaborative and Epic XGM/UGM/Empower Webinar series. During Rebecca’s leadership over the last three years, self-scheduling grew 700% and resulted in 3 million self-scheduled appointments in that three year period!  Rebecca, thank you for being an Access Champion at Mayo Clinic!"

Robin Rogan

Robin Hogan 

Supervisor, Mayo Clinic 

Nominated by Kendra Ask-Carlson, Operations Manager

"Over the past year, Robin has gone from supervising a singular work unit, to assuming a dual role in Access Operations. She supervises the scheduling float staff, adding to her already full plate, our outside medical record requisition team. Her willingness to help out and provide permanent supervisory coverage, was above and beyond, effectively doubling her staff volume and work load.  She has developed and refined access standards for atypical roles, developed asynchronous training for supplemental staff, and developed data models to recommend additional support based quantitative analysis. Robin holds her staff and herself to a high standard, providing quality assurance to scheduling and record retrieval. She is open and receptive to feedback, allowing her to grow and flourish in her role. Robin is very level headed, she digs into a problem and provides solution based adjustments that are beneficial to her team, as well as all the downstream areas that her staff supports. This ensures there is trust and team building between all areas her staff float into. In addition to these accomplishments, Robin has participated in several committees including employee recognition and diversity equity and inclusion.  She is well-known for her "Daily Dose" inspiring and promoting joy for her staff and those around her."

Rodrigo Castro

Rodrigo Castro 

Senior Project Manager, Penn Medicine

Nominated by Danielle Werner, COO, Clinical Practices

"Rodrigo "Rod" Castro has been instrumental in our organizational wide implementation of a new exam room management technology which now includes over 1800 exam rooms. This work is in direct response our ambulatory leadership concerns that space is their top limiting factor to increasing new patient visits and access to care initiatives. Rod has been an unwavering champion for improved patient access and unlocking capacity. In conjunction with improving exam room assignment to match volume, this project greatly improved schedule management and communication. There is now a source for multiple stakeholders to request scheduling changes (ie; close a day) and immediately communicate to key leaders. We are fortunate to have him as part of the Penn Medicine Clinical Practices team."

Sabrina Vought

Sabrina Vought

Contact Center Quality Assurance Specialist, Geisinger

Nominated by Janell Pegg, Director Patient Contact Center

"Sabrina works hard to promote a positive experience for our patients. In addition to randomly evaluating calls for our agents, Sabrina takes the time to recognize our agents for their strengths and coach them on their areas of opportunity. She offers Quality Refresher Trainings on a monthly basis to our agents, and she meets regularly with our management team to review calls. Sabrina identifies trends, and communicates that to the management team. She presents information to agents in their team meetings or huddles, also answering many questions. She always looks at the bigger picture and raises ideas for improvement regularly. She has become a go-to in our department for agents and the management team alike due to her desire to help others and her knowledge and expertise."

Sadiqa Horne

Sadiqa Horne 

Senior Administrative Director, Mount Sinai

Nominated by Margaret Young, Project Manager I

"I am pleased to nominate Sadiqa Horne, RN, for the Access Champion Award in recognition of her exceptional contributions to patient access at the Mount Sinai Health System. Sadiqa's creative management and unwavering commitment have resulted in significant improvements within the FPA Access Center, making her an outstanding candidate for this prestigious honor.
Sadiqa's impact on patient access is exemplified by her innovative initiatives and strategic management approaches. One notable achievement is her leadership in the Nurse Triage – In Basket initiative. By collaborating with various departments and practices, she piloted the utilization of nurse triage and in-basket management, streamlining access workflows and enhancing the overall patient experience. This creative solution has proven to be highly effective in improving efficiency and ensuring timely access to care for our patients.
Furthermore, Sadiqa has played a pivotal role in implementing technological advances within the FPA Access Center. Her involvement in rolling out the Interactive Voice Recognition system (IVR), screen recording, whispers, agent greeting, and Work Force Management showcases her commitment to leveraging technology for the benefit of patients. These enhancements have not only improved communication but have also significantly contributed to the overall efficiency of the Access Center.
Sadiqa's transparent communication style has been a key factor in fostering positive changes within the organization. She ensures that the 400+ team members at the FPA Access Center are well-informed about any changes occurring within the organization, creating an environment of trust and collaboration. Her commitment to transparency has positively impacted employee engagement and, in turn, patient care.
In addition to her technological contributions, Sadiqa has demonstrated creativity in employee recognition and engagement. Through the "Celebrate and Elevate" segment in leadership meetings, she has provided a platform for team members to acknowledge and celebrate their colleagues, fostering a positive and supportive work culture. This initiative has strengthened teamwork and morale within the Access Center.
Sadiqa's flexibility in leadership style is commendable, especially in her collaboration with Capacity Management to create and implement Decision Trees for four separate departments. This creative approach has streamlined processes and improved overall efficiency, ensuring that patients receive prompt and appropriate care.
In conclusion, Sadiqa Horne, RN, has not only positively impacted patient access at the Mount Sinai Health System but has also demonstrated creativity and innovation in her management of the FPA Access Center. Her initiatives have improved workflows, broken down access barriers, and contributed to a positive and engaging work culture. I wholeheartedly endorse Sadiqa for the Access Champion Award and believe she is a deserving candidate for this recognition.
Thank you for considering this nomination, and we appreciate the opportunity to highlight the outstanding contributions of Sadiqa Horne to patient access at Mount Sinai.

Sarah Kier

Sarah Kier, MBA

Vice President of Patient Access, Emory Healthcare

Nominated by Haley Bolton, Corporate Director

"I am thrilled to nominate Sarah Kier for the Access Champion Award in recognition of her outstanding leadership, relentless advocacy, and transformative contributions to advancing access to care at Emory.
As the Vice President of Patient Access (overseeing the contact center, transfer center, telemedicine, telephony, digital transformation, patient access shared services, and referrals), Sarah's impact on improving access to care is profound and far-reaching. Sarah's visionary leadership has been instrumental in driving the success of Emory Now, an initiative aimed at enhancing scheduling efficiencies and expanding access to care. Her relentless pursuit of improvement has been the driving force behind this transformative project. 
Sarah played a crucial role in providing clarity around Emory Now, ensuring that all team members understood the initiative's objectives and their roles in its success. Additionally, she advocated for an incentive plan and a more competitive compensation plan for our frontline staff, recognizing their dedication and hard work in delivering exceptional care to our patients.
Sarah's leadership extends beyond mere oversight; she actively engages with her team on a daily basis, challenging them to think critically about how to remove barriers to care and eliminate inefficiencies in their work. Her relentless pursuit of transformation and her unwavering commitment to continuous improvement serve as a driving force that centers and motivates her entire team from "Just Say Yes" to the rapid roll-out of online scheduling to intentional team development opportunities. Sarah has fostered a culture of innovation and collaboration, inspiring her team to push the boundaries of what is possible.
I cannot imagine a better leader to work for than Sarah. Her leadership style is not only visionary and strategic but also compassionate and empathetic. Despite the immense responsibilities she carries, Sarah always finds time to listen, support, and uplift her team members. Her huge heart and genuine concern for the well-being of others make her not just a remarkable leader, but also a cherished mentor and friend.
In recognition of Sarah's exceptional leadership, relentless advocacy, and transformative contributions to advancing access to care, I wholeheartedly endorse her nomination for the Access Champion Award. Her visionary leadership, unwavering dedication to excellence, and profound impact on healthcare delivery make her an outstanding candidate for this prestigious honor.

Sheila Hojnacki

Sheila Hojnacki, CHFP, FHFMA

Access Improvement Consultant Senior, Geisinger

Nominated by Marco Mejia, Director, Access Analytics & Technology

"I’ve had the pleasure of working with Sheila these last few years on innovative and challenging projects. Some of those implementations included launching and expanding our system capabilities for outreaching to patients in need of appointments – by allowing self-scheduling or facilitating the direct connection into our inbound scheduling agents.

However, the most recent initiative was a true test of her grit and determination – how to provide automated, and timely notification to patients when a change in their providers’ schedule requires a reschedule. These notifications, when averaged over a calendar year, approximate to just under a thousand patients that would require a phone call each day to notify them.

After close to a year of careful planning, collaborating, and designing, Sheila was able to introduce a solution to this challenge. Another testament to her perseverance and patient-centric foundation.”

Shelly Alderson

Shelly Alderson

Manager, Patient Access Services, Geisinger

Nominated by Leslie Holtzapple, Senior Director, Capacity Management & Scheduling 

"Shelly is a Manager within our Patient Contact Center. Shelly is committed to the success of our access initiatives at Geisinger. She is a model of great leadership and has transformed her teams into advocates for patient access. Over this past year, Shelly has led her teams through our Patient Contact Center cross-training rollout, and transitioned call support from clinic operations to our Patient Contact Center for new services. Her ongoing efforts further support our access and ease of use initiative at Geisinger."