Meet the Staff

SAK’s associates have over 250 years collective experience in all phases of long-term care operations, and have spent a large portion of their long-term care careers in turn-around situations, rescuing troubled facilities. This combined collection of knowledge and expertise is unmatched in the industry; please take a few minutes to meet the members of our highly-qualified and dedicated staff.


JENNIE McCALL, Chief Financial Officer
and Financial Advisor
Jennie McCall has served in many advisory and strategic positions in acute care, skilled nursing, assisted living and ancillary services settings.  In addition to fiduciary roles, she is also an experienced Corporate Compliance Officer and has served as the lead Officer on mergers, acquisitions and dispositions.  Ms. McCall has overseen Human Resources for labor relations, union contract negotiations and  Risk Management of workers compensation, employee health, as well as, professional and liability insurances.  She also has experience overseeing the collaboration of Information, technology, finance and clinical systems to select and implement sustainable, scalable systems for growth and development.   Ms. McCall's
strategic accomplishments include acquiring over 50 distressed facilities from REITs, receivership or from bankruptcy and turning them around to be viable entities with sustainable financial operations that meet debt covenants.  She has experience working with capital companies, commercial lenders and HUD for acquisition financing, working capital,  bridge loans to permanent financing,  collateral projections, budgets and  coordinating  due diligence to secure mezzanine financing, and  participating in joint ventures between $100M-$250M.

Ms. McCall has extensive experience negotiating with state Medicaid agencies securing rate adjustments for capital improvements and operations with new ownership while also focusing on retaining both Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement through solid cost reporting and documentation strategies.  Most recently, Ms. McCall was the CFO for a chain of 30 skilled nursing facilities and assisted living properties, where she was responsible for treasury and revenue cycle, financial reporting and debt covenant compliance, budgets, audits for all 30 facilities with over 3,400 skilled and assisted living beds in 9 states with affiliate ancillary service companies including rehabilitation and pharmacy companies.   She successfully negotiated vendor savings using formularies and par levels for medical supplies saving in excess of 35% or $1.2M.  She also rebid many services and vendor contracts saving an additional $1M. 

Ms. McCall has a Master’s degree in Business Administration and an Undergraduate degree in Business and Public Administration.  She began her career in public accounting focusing on tax work for proprietary and not for profit companies prior to working in healthcare management.


STEPHEN J. GAZDICK, CPA, Financial Officer
Stephen J. Gazdick has over 20 years experience in both the for-profit and not-for-profit healthcare industries, including significant experience in acute care, home health, long-term care, and retirement housing. He served as the Chief Financial Officer of an acute care hospital, a home health agency, and long-term care retirement communities.


Stephen provided the financial leadership for Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing facilities, licensed and unlicensed assisted living facilities, acute care, substance abuse and psychiatric inpatient units, independent living retirement communities, and a licensed home health agency. He is experienced in financial and strategic planning, valuation modeling, cash flow management, budget development and management, audit and tax return preparation, the preparation of financial feasibility studies, third party reimbursement issues, operational audits, and re-engineering system reviews. Stephen provided financial analysis for merger and acquisition transactions and several tax-exempt bond issues. Stephen is a graduate of Manchester College, in North Manchester, Indiana, with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. Stephen is a member of the Indiana CPA Society. In addition to conducting management training, he also conducts Medicare and Medicaid billing training.

 

JOYCE CIYOU, MS, RN, LHFA, CLNC, Clinical Executive Consultant
Masters prepared and possessing extensive hospital expertise from bedside nursing to administrative management and leadership roles; this wide spectrum of experience provides Ms. Ciyou with the ability to solve problems that impact a variety of operational facets. She understands the hospital culture and maneuvers easily through the various layers of the hospital continuum of care.

As a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator. Joyce understands the operations of the long-term care industry. She holds a degree in Gerontology and understands the complex medical conditions of the older adult. Joyce has vast experience in setting up productive communication and team building systems with all layers of staff in the long-term care setting. She has the expertise to bring a facility into financial and regulatory compliance.

As a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant (CLNC) and Certified Case Manager (CCM) Joyce knows the value of the team approach to problem solving. She strives to work with others in order to bring about resolution to difficult situations. Her Masters Degree in Organizational Management better enables her to understand the business operations of both the acute and chronic care settings. Ms. Ciyou is a Registered Nurse in the state of Illinois and Indiana and a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator in the state of Illinois and Indiana and a Certified Wound Specialist.


KEITH HUFSEY, Director of Operations

With 30 years experience working in the long term care industry Keith Hufsey provides SAK Management and our clients with a wealth of knowledge and experience. As the Assistant Director of Operations he is involved with the overall operation in all facilities and plays an instrumental role in the turnaround of deficient facilities.

Over his career Keith has accumulated a number of deficiency free surveys, which speak to his ability to deliver results, and has maintained major involvement in assisting the turn around of deficient nursing homes into operationally sound facilities.

Keith's input and operational involvement include the benefit of his experience in various facets of the long-term care industry as well as other related fields. The value he brings to every client includes knowledge that stems from being a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator for over 25 years. His expertise of writing Plans of Correction for government approval and State licensure and Federal certification is unmatched. He carries a Food Service Certification and is a Licensed Practical Nurse in Illinois and a Certified Trustee to a multi-million dollar religious organization.
 

ELIZABETH CIYOU - Allee, MLD, BA, RN, CLNC, CHPN, TNCC, ELNEC-Peds and ACLS - Clinical IT/Informatics Consultant
Ms. Ciyou-Allee has extensive experience in a magnet organization, and expertise in emergency medical care, hospice, and renal diabetes that enables her to function effectively in a variety of roles. She was chosen as a Magnet champion and Magnet escort as Clarian Health progressed through the Magnet certification process. Elizabeth is experienced in the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Hospital Organizations process.

Active in the evidenced based practice career advance program, Elizabeth sat on the career advance committee at Clarian Health Partners - the second largest hospital system (by bed capacity) in the United States. She has served in a variety of key positions, including as a certified legal nurse consultant (CLNC), certified hospice palliative nurse (CHPC) and trauma nurse core certified (TNCC). This extensive experience allows her to see and deal with the wide-ranging issues that affect health care facilities, from bed management to emergency room overcrowding.

Elizabeth understands the long-term care industry and has developed quality assurance programs to improve nursing home resident care. She delivers leadership to dysfunctional nursing departments through participative communication and team projects. Ms. Ciyou-Allee is a Certified Wound Specialist and a Registered Nurse in the State of Illinois and Indiana.
 

WILLIAM L. KEMPINERS - Health Care Policy and Regulatory Specialist
William Kempiners has been involved with health care public policy, regulatory and reimbursement issues for more than 30 years, He was a four-term member of the Illinois House of Representatives, the Director of Public Health for Illinois, and the Executive Director of the Illinois Health Care Association, a trade group composed of nearly 500 licensed geriatric long-term care facilities, skilled pediatric facilities, assisted living and supportive living facilities, and facilities and programs for the developmentally disabled, for nearly 18 years. Mr. Kempiners participated in the development of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act of 1979, and that same year resigned his seat in the House of Representatives to become the Director of Public Health for Illinois. As the Director he was responsible for a wide variety of health promotion, regulation, funding and planning programs with an annual budget of $127 million.

While Director of Public Health, Mr. Kempiners was appointed to the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) and the Advisory Committee to the Women, Infants and Children’s Advisory Committee (U. S. Department of Agriculture). He served on the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) Executive Committee and chaired several committees, requiring him to present testimony before committees of the U. S. Senate and House of Representatives.

During his tenure at IHCA, Mr. Kempiners actively participated in a variety of activities and committees of the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living. There are few other professionals with his acute understanding of public policy and its impact on long-term health care.
 

LEONARD KOENIG - Administrative and Census Development Specialist
Leonard Koenig provides managerial expertise in all facets of long term care, assisted living operations and home health care services. His background includes operations management, census development-focused marketing and advertising, contract negotiations, service scheduling, staffing and retention.

Throughout his professional career Mr. Koenig has planned, developed and implemented programs designed to improve the overall operation of health care facilities and agencies at which he was assigned thereby enhancing the level of care provided residents and client services. Career highlights include:

  • Developed creative, efficient and cost effective marketing strategies promoting service levels far beyond past performance of a facility, by increasing occupancy from 70% to 100% which in turn created a waiting list of prospective tenants.
  • Cultivated strategic, creative and cost effective ideas from community sources such as physicians, hospitals and local businesses while guiding the marketing staff's efforts to better promote their facility against competitors in the same market.

He earned his Bachelor of Science Degree from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. He received a Certificate in Business Studies and is a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator in the state of Illinois.

KAREN BYSTROM - Regulatory Nurse Consultant
Karen Bystrom started her nursing career on the acute care side in Intensive Care, Emergency Room, Surgery and High Risk Obstetrics. Her healthcare experience includes over 30 years as a Registered Nurse, 13 years as a Health Facilities Surveillance Nurse for the Illinois Department of Public Health, and 4 years as a Health Facilities Surveillance Nurse for the Illinois Department of Public Aid. She's conducted state licensure and federal certification surveys to ensure facility compliance with state and federal laws governing long term care facilities, as well as sanitation, environment, dietary, care planning, staff competence and qualifications evaluations.

Ms. Bystrom investigated complaints, accidents and incidents, and served as team coordinator for multidisciplinary survey teams. She's worked with the State Police on issues that may have involved criminal offenses, and testified in federal hearings regarding nursing home care. Her service as an expert witness in legal cases across the country exemplifies her knowledge and expertise.

Karen also conducted "Inspection of Care” surveys in long term care to determine Health Facility’s reimbursement rates and "Quality Incentive Program” surveys, rewarding facilities that gave above the minimum quality of care to residents, and she approved bed holds for residents receiving Medicaid funds that were hospitalized. Ms. Bystrom is a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant (CLNC). Karen is a Registered Professional Nurse in Illinois, Iowa and Florida, and a member of the Illinois Nurse’s Association.

TERRI R. SHERMAN, CPA - Finance Specialist
Terri Sherman has over 15 years experience in the healthcare industry including significant experience in long-term care and retirement housing. For eight years she was the Chief Financial Officer/Comptroller of a major senior health system located in the Lower Hudson Valley of New York providing the financial leadership for over 300 nursing home beds, 300 assisted living beds, a 163-unit continuing care retirement community as well as a licensed home health agency, a managed long term care program, adult day care and many community outreach programs.

Terri is experienced in the preparation of financial feasibility studies, third party reimbursement issues, operational audits and re-engineering system reviews. She's conducted financial analysis of merger and acquisition transactions and productivity reviews, as well as strategic planning sessions and is experienced in the development of managed care contracting and reporting arrangements.

Terri is a member of the New York Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (NYAHSA), the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA), and the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA). She is an accomplished presenter on relevant topics affecting skilled nursing provider reimbursement. Terri is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. She holds a Certificate in Managed Care from Rutgers University and a Certificate in Senior Housing Development and Finance from Johns Hopkins University graduate school. Terri is a member of the New York State Society of CPA’s and the American Institute of CPA’s.

MICHELLE MCDONALD - Administrative and Senior Nurse Consultant
Michelle McDonald has over 20 years in the long-term care and public health industry. She is an experienced New York State Licensed Nursing Home Administrator and registered nurse, and a nationally recognized expert in quality initiatives in skilled nursing facilities. Currently Ms. McDonald is a project leader in the current CMS initiative to compare and review federal and state survey processes.

Recently Michelle was the project manager for the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Data Assessment and Verification (DAVE) contract, and as such is an expert in the accurate preparation of the Multiple Data Assessment (MDS) tool. Michelle is experienced in the Joint Committee for the Accreditation of Hospital Organizations (JCAHO) process, and implemented care management programs in acute, post acute and in community settings. Michelle has participated in numerous New York State Nursing Home surveys and has conducted mock surveys throughout the State. Other credentials and notable accomplishments include:

  • Recipient of the Ralph J. Barron Scholarship/Grant awarded by the NY State Chapter of the American College of Health Care Administrators
  • Recipient of the Joint Commission Resource Discretionary Award for outstanding performance in project management
  • A master’s degree in public health policy and management from New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York
  • Undergraduate degree in nursing from Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, New York
  • Membership in the American College of Health Care Administrators, and the New York State and American Nurses Associations
  • Chairperson of the Utilization Review Committee, the Professional Advisory Committee, the Charting and Documentation committee and the Community Service committee for the Orange County Department of Health
  • Accomplished speaker and trainer in Survey readiness, RAI, RAPS and Care planning

CHRISTINE O’TOOLE - Nurse Consultant

Christine O’Toole is an accomplished clinician and nursing expert, with 25 years of nursing services primarily in the long-term care industry. In her tenure as Director of Nursing for nursing homes in the lower Hudson valley region of New York she maintained deficiency free homes, and is accomplished in writing statements of deficiencies and plans of correction.

She is certified to perform Patient Review and Screen Instruments, and conducts statewide reviews and training. Christine is an expert in the design of efficient nursing staffing patterns to ensure quality of care and cost effectiveness. She developed new initiatives in the area of pain management in skilled nursing facilities and continues to be in the forefront of implementing innovative policies to ensure patient satisfaction and clinical effectiveness.

Christine is a licensed New York State Nursing Home Administrator, and a Registered Nurse. She is a graduate of St. Josephs College with a Bachelor in Health Care Administration, and is pursuing her graduate degree in health care administration from St. Josephs College in Maine.


KELSEY SCHWARTZ - Administrative and Senior Nurse Consultant

Kelsey Schwartz is a leader. She guides interdisciplinary teams in working with health care facilities in regulatory crisis, interim management, state appointed management and educational programming in an effort to bring about positive and lasting change.

In the past 20 years Ms. Schwartz has worked with over 300 long-term care facilities and is a recognized expert in the regulatory process. She is skilled at assisting facilities improve care while consolidating costs, and her method of developing and implementing systems in long-term care has assisted facilities to achieve and maintain compliance long after the survey is over.

Kelsey is acknowledged nationally as an expert in quality assurance programming, management and system development, Medicare reimbursement and the Resident Assessment Instrument, and frequently asked to speak on these subjects at industry gatherings. Her credentials and other notable accomplishments include:

  • Licensed Nursing Home Administrator and a Registered Nurse in Michigan
  • Certified in Gerontology and Case Management
  • Served as Executive Director, Administrator, Dir. of Nursing in long term care facilities
  • Certified remediator for the Michigan Public Health Institute
  • Author of "The Abuse Prohibition Manual" published by the Briggs Corporation
  • Frequent contributor to the Post Acute Payment Report


LINDA L. SAUNDERS - Administrative and Census Development Specialist

A Licensed Nursing Home Administrator for 20 years, Linda Saunders' specialization in opening new facilities (long term care, continuing care retirement communities, assisted living projects) has developed facility based leadership teams and spearheaded aggressive marketing programs that exceed occupancy goals and profit expectations. Deficiency free surveys, high resident satisfaction scores and JACHO accreditation with commendation at the facilities for which she has worked highlight Ms. Saunder’s commitment to high quality resident care.

Ms. Saunders was the Vice President of Business Development for an Ohio based rehabilitation services company that while under her leadership experienced 400% growth in 3 years. Her unique blend of administrative skills coupled with tenacious marketing expertise advanced her success as a mentor in the health care arena; consulting to a number of national long-term care companies in the areas of marketing, customer service and managed care contracting, while developing specialty and sub acute units.

A Licensed Nursing Home Administrator in the State of Ohio, in 1999 Linda was awarded the "Marketing Tool of the Year Award" by The Health Care Admissions and Marketing Directors Association of America. She is an active member of the Ohio Health Care Association, The Ohio Academy of Nursing Homes, The American College of Health Care Administrators and The Case Management Society of America, and a frequently sought keynote speaker.


LORETTA PRICE, MDS/Reimbursement Specialist

Ms. Price has over 30 years of experience in the Post-Acute Care Environment and 20 years of experience in the reimbursement field.  As an experienced Nurse and MDS and IDT Care Plan Instructor, Ms. Price's clinical skills have proven results in developing individual methodologies for each facility to maximize reimbursement through documentation and the assessment process.  She is also confident in her skills to consult, train/educate the IDT team members on the MDS completion, submissions, and restorative programming.  Ms. Price oversees, teaches, and trains MDS coordinators and IDT team members on accuracy of assessment, CAA, Care Plan completion and restorative programming, she educates all levels of nursing staff on regulatory requirements and survey techniques.  Ms. Price develops and implements Plans of Corrections for survey citations and provides Direct In-services to staff for the Plan of Care Process.  Ms. Price is a strong asset and valuable resource to the nursing component while focusing on financially attributed programming.

Ms. Price understands the significance of quality assurance.  Her effectiveness in gathering and assessing information, developing action plans for targeted and potentially problematic areas have resulted in positive outcomes.  Her constructive focus is not only on outstanding Medicaid accounts, Demand Billing Requests, and Medicare Additional Inforamtion Requests, but also focusses on monthly Medicare Billing.  Ms. Price is overly capable of working self-guided as an effective team member in a fast-paced and ever changing environment.


TERRI MCINTOSH - Consultant

Terry is an AHIMA credentialed professional who is both a Registered Health Information Technician and Certified Coding Specialist. She has over twenty years experience in medical record auditing and coding. Terri is a University of Detroit-Mercy graduate with a degree in Health Information Technology.

Terri began her career at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit, Michigan as Assistant Manager in Utilization Management, where she also served as Committee Assistant to the Surgery Quality Assurance Committee. From there she moved into the consulting arena and has consulted in all areas of healthcare including acute care, post-acute care, physician practice, clinic and psychiatric facilities.

Specializing in coding compliance, Terri has assisted many Health Information Management departments with process improvement as it pertains to Revenue Cycle and Reimbursement. She has assisted Patient Accounts departments with denial management and revenue recovery. Terri has also served in many interim HIM management positions.


MARY BLYTH, RN, MSN - Consultant

Mary Blyth is a registered nurse with over 30 years of clinical and administrative experience in healthcare industry in USA, Middle East and United Kingdom.

She has extensive clinical experience specifically in the areas of critical care, renal dialysis and case management.

Her administrative experience ranges from program development where in the 1980s she was the clinical leader in setting up the first peritoneal dialysis program in Saudi Arabia, which was hospital based with outreach to Bedouins in the desert, to more recently developing clinical documentation improvement programs at a multi site facility in the NY area.

Most recently Ms Blyth has been Administrator / Director for a Utilization Management program overseeing coordination of denials and appeals, for commercial and government payors, including RAC and MAC. This program successfully appealed many of RAC denials with an impressive multi million dollar recoupement.

Ms Blyth received her Masters in Nursing Case Management with a minor in Administration, and her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from St Peters College, NJ.

HELEN KOUIS - Office Manager - Paralegal
Helen Kouis is an experienced office manager and paralegal with over 30 years of experience in the field of law, insurance and banking.  Ms. Kouis oversees, organizes, evaluates and delegates all day-to-day office management operations and procedures.  She will monitor, review, record, maintain and prioritize all workman's compensation claims, resident incident reports, DON reports, complaints, surveys, wound reports, new admissions, census, death dossiers, lawsuits and legal documentation.  She will monitor, oversee, maintain and follow-up on various criteria with the insurance companies.  She will work closely with the SAK team and provide support as needed.