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Friday, December 9, 2022 41°F New York

Catch Up on What’s Happening Around VNS Health: Fall News Briefs

December 8, 2022–As we say goodbye to fall 2022, here’s the latest edition of News Briefs—a quick and easy way to catch up on news, updates, and happenings across the organization over the past few months. If you have any news or announcements that you’d like to submit for consideration in an upcoming edition, please click here.  Check Out the Latest ABCD and Initiative Award Winners—all 560 of them! Here they are, all in one place—a list of team members who, over the past few months, have been recognized for going above and beyond in their work. The list covers awards from July 31st to October 31st, 2022, and features both ABCD Award and Initiative Award winners. Click here to view their names.  Behavioral Health Receives $775,000 Grant to Help Reduce Suicide Attempts in Youth/Young Adults of Color and LGBTQI+ VNS Health’s Behavioral Health team recently received a $775,406, 12-month grant from

Team Highlights

111 Team Members Were Nominated for 2022 ESPRIT Awards! Here Are This Year’s Nominees… and 10 Winners!

November 22, 2022–Representing teams from across the organization, 111 team members were nominated for this year’s ESPRIT Awards, which are presented to team members who embody VNS Health’s Core Values of Empathy, Integrity, and Agility. Of those 111 nominees, 10 were ultimately selected. Here are profiles of the 10 winners, who’ll be honored this evening, November 22nd, at a special ESPRIT Award ceremony at the Westin New York Grand Central Hotel, right next to our 220 East 42nd Street office. To view the full list of nominees, click here. Frontline VNS Health is pleased to share each of the 10 ESPRIT honorees’ profiles. (Click on their names below to read their profiles.) Congratulations, all! Myrna Agosto Ravá Blackwell Cristiana Coronado Rizza Dumalag Geraldine Kauffman Margarita Roldán Davett Scully Vanessa Taveras Reena Vadlakunta Denise Walpole

10 Things You May Be Surprised to Know About the Three Dozen Doctors Among Us!

November 15, 2022–People are often surprised to learn VNS Health has several dozen physicians and other medically licensed doctors who play an important role in our operations. Here are 10 things you might not know about them: 1) Most of VNS Health’s physicians work on the Hospice Care team. VNS Health Hospice Care has 23 physicians in either full-time, part time or per-diem roles. As hospice physicians, they work to help hospice patients retain comfort and dignity at the end of life. Their roles include collaborating with the patient’s primary attending physician (if any) to treat symptoms commonly encountered at end of life, such as—but not limited to—pain, fatigue, breathlessness, nausea, agitation and anxiety. They also provide general oversight of Hospice Care’s interdisciplinary care teams—including offering guidance on making complex treatment choices and helping to set goals for care for patients and their families. 2) Our Behavioral Health team includes five medical doctors, all of them psychiatrists. Three of the five MDs are team

Neighborhood Spotlight: Experience the Magic of Ghana!

November 8, 2022–More Ghanaian families live in the Bronx than any other part of the United States. In this latest Neighborhood Spotlight video, meet Behavioral Health Home Based Crisis Intervention (HBCI) team members Mary Nkeitah, Zamansky Twum, and Helena Tenkorang and see how they’re working with this community and changing children’s and their families’ lives for the better. To view this video, click here below. Spoiler alert: have some tissues handy!

BronxNet TV features Susan Clayton Meyer, Program Manager, Behavioral Health, on Fighting the “Holiday Blues”

November 30, 2022

Myrna Agosto Wins 2022 ESPRIT Award!

November 22, 2022–“I always try to empower the poor and marginalized.” “In my role on the Brooklyn and Queens Mobile Crisis teams, I find it rewarding when I’m able to prevent someone from hurting themself or hurting someone else. It’s so satisfying when my colleagues and I can help get our clients into the hospital to ensure they get the care they need,” says Myrna. “I have been a witness to people’s lives being transformed from suffering with mental health and physical illnesses to living a more fulfilling life.” Myrna’s exceptional diagnostic skills and empathetic, caring nature extend beyond the vulnerable clients she serves. On one home visit, she saw that her patient’s spouse was suffering in her own right, struggling with her husband’s mental-health issues and her sadness at being unable to help him overcome them. With her signature straightforward style, Myrna took the time to educate her about her husband’s

Neighborhood Spotlight: Experience the Magic of Ghana!

November 8, 2022–More Ghanaian families live in the Bronx than any other part of the United States. In this latest Neighborhood Spotlight video, meet Behavioral Health Home Based Crisis Intervention (HBCI) team members Mary Nkeitah, Zamansky Twum, and Helena Tenkorang and see how they’re working with this community and changing children’s and their families’ lives for the better. To view this video, click here below. Spoiler alert: have some tissues handy!

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle Covers Grand Opening of Sunset Park Community Center

December 6, 2022

Watch This Video from Harlem Day and Feel the Vibe!

September 7, 2022–This annual neighborhood celebration brings together the best of Harlem. “VNS Health In Action” Reporter Shandira Mulraine was on the scene, interviewing VNS Health team members who were at the annual street event connecting with the community as they do all year long: Isaac Lama, Flavia Maldonado, Alfa Dominguez, Annmarie Franco, and Veronica Torres!  To watch the video (and feel the vibe), click here below.

Community Collaborations Hosts Webinar on “Suicide Prevention”

August 24, 2022–On Thursday, September 8, 2022 from 2:00 – 3:00 PM, VNS Health’s Community Collaborations and Connect2Well will host a presentation on “Suicide Prevention” to raise awareness of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. In this presentation, participants will learn about common suicide risks and the warning signs that you should know. Awareness can help stop these tragic deaths. *This presentation is eligible for 1 Continuing Education Credit for Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) and Licensed Clinical Social Worker(LCSWS) for VNS Health team members. The Social Work Continuing Education Credit evaluation will be sent to attendees after the conclusion of the session. Click here or use the following link https://bit.ly/3KIpUmL to register for the presentation. For more information contact [email protected] To learn more, visit the Community Collaborations website at https://www.vnshealth.org/in-the-community/events/.

Courageous Conversations #5: How Do We Hold Each Other Accountable Without Playing the “Blame Game”?

November 30, 2022–To find out, you’ll just have to listen to the latest Courageous Conversations podcast. In this new episode, Chief People Officer Tracy Dodd talks with IT’s Donna Godfrey, (VP, Network Telecommunications) and Health Plans’ Tanya McCray (VP, Grievance and Appeals) about breaking down the VNS Health siloes that have developed over the years and constructive ways of holding each other accountable.

Reena Vadlakunta Wins 2022 ESPRIT Award!

November 22, 2022–“I am a problem solver. My motto is keep it simple—and provide a clear solution.” Though Reena only officially joined the team that supports the Workday application in April, she was already handling much of the same hefty workload prior to her promotion. “Her agility is constantly expanding,” enthuses one nomination letter. “She previously worked on file transfers between outside vendors and internal customers, along with resolving Workday support issues. Now, she is expanding and contributing to our increasing work on development, security, and supporting integrations in Workday. Often, her work is around the clock, supporting interfaces communicating between VNS Health and multiple vendors and customers. She is a strong critical resource for the future of VNS Health.” A distinctive part of Reena’s IT role is making complicated projects seem simple. “When VNSNY rebranded to VNS Health, there was a lot of collaboration with my team members in order to

Cristiana Coronado Wins 2022 ESPRIT Award!

November 22, 2022–“Cristiana encourages us to exercise empathy and to treat others exactly as we would like to be treated.” An eight-year VNS Health veteran, Cristiana supervises a team of 48 Contact Center Shared Services (CCSS) representatives. Since these team members often provide the first direct contact that current or potential patients, clients or members have with VNS Health, their role is critical. Even a few minutes on the phone can have a dramatic impact, coloring a consumer’s entire experience with the organization. A good call addresses questions, finds solutions, and makes the caller feel valued and heard. “I have the pleasure to work in an environment where my voice is heard and my managers, peers, and team members are passionate about improving the consumer experience,” says Cristiana. “I appreciate my direct reports, who are always agile and willing to jump right in because they believe in VNS Health’s mission. Helping the

Courageous Conversations #5: How Do We Hold Each Other Accountable Without Playing the “Blame Game”?

November 30, 2022–To find out, you’ll just have to listen to the latest Courageous Conversations podcast. In this new episode, Chief People Officer Tracy Dodd talks with IT’s Donna Godfrey, (VP, Network Telecommunications) and Health Plans’ Tanya McCray (VP, Grievance and Appeals) about breaking down the VNS Health siloes that have developed over the years and constructive ways of holding each other accountable.

Denise Walpole Wins 2022 ESPRIT Award!

November 22, 2022–“Having a positive impact on Health Plan members’ lives is one of the greatest rewards of my work.” Denise was the manager for the VNS Health MLTC plan’s Utilization Management department for several years, where she elevated team performance and improved compliance through a holistic leadership strategy, using data, communication and collaboration to create a high-performance culture. Now, as Director of Clinical Assessments and Utilization Management, she uses these strategies and leadership skills to help steer the team towards meeting not only departmental goals but also organization-wide objectives. “Ever since I started with VNS Health back in 2006, I knew that I wanted to stay with this organization,” says Denise, who is now a two-time ESPRIT Award winner. “What VNS Health provides to needy New Yorkers is so unique and powerful.” Being able to have a positive impact on Health Plan members’ lives is one of the greatest rewards of

Vanessa Taveras Wins 2022 ESPRIT Award!

November 22, 2022–“I’m passionate about ensuring the quality and integrity of new and existing processes.” As a Claims System Configuration Analyst, Vanessa assists in the configuration and maintenance of the claims system used to administer operations of current and new business for Health Plans products. Her responsibilities include analyzing, documenting, and testing all new configurations, as well as assisting in preparing and delivering reports and recommendations to address existing and potential issues in related processes across the organization. “As a person with 22 years of experience in health care, I’ve become someone who will always put 110% into everything,” says Vanessa. “I’m passionate about ensuring the quality and integrity of new and existing processes, as well as claims configuration, and I enjoy collaborating with my team as well as other business units to understand strategic goals and eliminate the potential for over-and underpayment.” In addition, she notes, “I actively seek ways to

Margarita Roldán Wins 2022 ESPRIT Award!

November 22, 2022–“A navigator of systems for her clients and colleagues.” As a full-time field social worker, Margarita visits the homes of some 20 clients per week, then provides all related followup to address their psychosocial needs. Her service area, the Bronx, is marked by high social determinant of health-related needs, driven by significant health care disparities. At times, during severe staffing shortages, she’s covered the entire region on her own, never hesitating to take on the extra workload. Margarita excels at managing complex cases, coordinating with the rest of the interdisciplinary team, and connecting clients to the internal and external resources they need in order to optimize their quality of life as they cope with illness and recovery. “I have worked very closely with various departments within VNS Health, including Volunteer Services, Behavioral Health, the Long-Term Care Navigation Team, the Gender Affirmation Program, and Pediatric Palliative Care,” says Margarita. “Many of our clients

Davett Scully Wins 2022 ESPRIT Award!

November 22, 2022–“You must always put yourself in someone else’s place. This will allow you to give that person the best care.” As a scheduler, Davett is charged with an ongoing challenge of navigating a landscape that is in a perpetual state of flux—making sure that patients are seen, that all visit paperwork and protocols are in place, and that clinicians are supported and not overwhelmed, despite the last-minute schedule challenges that are an inherent part of the job. “Although we have a huge team, Davett is always aware of each team member’s workload and schedule,” raves one clinician. “Whenever I am overwhelmed with visits, somehow Davett will be aware, and she will call and check if I need help. When I am low in cases, she will arrange new evaluations for me automatically. When I have planned vacations, Davett will arrange coverages for me in advance so I can explain the

Ravá Blackwell Wins 2022 ESPRIT Award!

November 22, 2022–“I knew I wanted to make a difference.” “As a non-clinician who came to VNS Health in an entry-level position, I knew I wanted to make a difference,” says Ravá, “but I didn’t know what that would look like. However, as someone who loves to constantly learn, grow, and impact change, I was able to grow as a person and in my career here at VNS Health.” Today, as a manager of Intake Coordinators within the Business Development team, Ravá is recognized not only for her leadership skills, but for being an inspirational role model. She created a Physician POD (Point of Dispensing) unit to help improve customer service and reduce service delays. She’s also responsible for training and onboarding new hires to the organization, always encouraging them to further their education and professional growth. “I feel the biggest difference I make in the lives of patients and colleagues is

News12 Spotlights Compassionate VNS Health Hospice Care Team Celebrating the Holiday Season with 100-Year-Old Patient

November 25, 2022

Rizza Dumalag Wins 2022 ESPRIT Award!

November 22, 2022–“A force to be reckoned with.” In one of her ESPRIT nomination letters, Rizza was described as a force to be reckoned with. “As a former IPU (In Patient Unit) nurse, Rizza is able to see beyond what is obvious, and does things proactively without even being told to,” praised the writer. “She is very understanding with nursing team members, making sure they feel heard and trying to accommodate their schedules so that there is a good work-life balance. She is also extremely good at defusing difficult family situations through active listening. And there are days when I know that she’s working after hours, when no one is looking, to make sure that the team workflow is ready by next day.” Organized, supportive, and dedicated to keeping her team informed and up-to-date, Rizza is well-versed in Medicare requirements and makes it a priority to educate her team, keeping them abreast

For Hispanic Heritage Month, Bronxnet interviews Hospice Liaison and RN Clarissa Santos on Hospice Care in the Latino Community

October 13, 2022

From Helping Out with VNS Health’s Rebranding Efforts to Caring for Clients, Meet Home Health Aides Tanai Blanco and Marta Rivera

October 17, 2022–Tanai Blanco It’s easy to make Tanai Blanco laugh. She’s also easy to talk to. Tanai, who was born in New York City but grew up in Puerto Rico, has been working as a Home Health Aide (HHA) with VNS Health for just a few months. But her good nature and positive energy caught the attention of her supervisor, who included her in the team helping to implement VNS Health’s new name and branding this summer. “I’ve been working in VNS Health’s 220 East 42nd Street office for the past few months,” she explains. “I’ve been helping to call other Home Health Aides to come in and pick up their new uniforms and I.D. badges.” Tanai has experience in office work. Before working as an HHA, she worked in Bellevue Hospital and later served in New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services. “I’ve always liked to help people,” she says.

Home Healthcare News Shares Expert Takeaways from Jim Rolla, SVP of Personal Care in Story about Recruitment and Retention of Home Health Workers

October 17, 2022

Valora Ford is Honored With the James R. Withrow Jr. Award, Home Health Aide of the Year

October 12, 2022–The 2022 James R. Withrow Jr. Award for Home Health Aide of the Year is a tradition that began in 1988. This award is given in memory of James R. Withrow Jr., one of the original members of the Personal Care Board of Directors. The Home Health Aide of the Year best personifies the qualities of the ideal paraprofessional. The criteria for the award were developed by a team of Home Health Aides and Supervisors. This year’s Home Health Aide of the Year is Valora Ford. Valora has been a VNS Health team member since 2012. When you have Valora Ford on your side, you know you’re in very good hands. That’s because Valora makes sure you’re taken care of. For Valora, restoring a person’s dignity and confidence as they age or after they’ve had an illness and reassuring her patients that they have the right to live life on