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At the Hospitals: New vice president joins Visiting Nurse and Hospice

  • Sara Simeone

  • Leesa Taft


Saturday, March 02, 2019
New vice president joins Visiting Nurse and Hospice

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Sara Simeone has been named vice president of quality and compliance for Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire, or VNH.

Simeone will be responsible for quality and safety, corporate compliance, regulatory readiness and operational excellence at VNH.

“Sara brings with her a wealth of experience in quality improvement, safety science, measurement and regulatory readiness,” VNH President and CEO Johanna Beliveau said. “We are thrilled to have her rejoin the team at VNH.”

Simeone is a registered nurse who holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and education from Boston College, a Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Master of Science in nursing leadership from Franklin Pierce University. Prior to joining VNH, she served as the Director of Quality & Patient Safety for the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, where she provided leadership and direction for the development and implementation of the center’s Quality Management Plan. Prior to her role at D-H, Simeone was the director of integration and performance improvement at VNH.

Simeone said in a news release that she is excited to rejoin VNH.

“Excellent home care is a critical component to the health of the people in our community and of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health System,” she said. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the leadership and staff of VNH to advance the quality of care in our region.”

Mt. Ascutney names new director of clinical operations for primary care

WINDSOR — Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center has appointed Leesa Taft, of Windsor, to the newly created position of director of clinical operations in primary care.

In this role, Taft has overall responsibility for primary care clinical operations at the Windsor campus and Ottauquechee Health Center in Woodstock. She will lead ongoing improvement efforts related to quality and patient safety consistent with standards set by The National Committee for Quality Assurance and the OneCare Vermont Accountable Care Organization.

“As an institution, we have multiple partners at the local, state, and federal level, and our clinics have become more complex in regard to reporting of quality and patient satisfaction metrics,” Mt. Ascutney President and CEO Joseph Perras said in a news release. The hospital’s reimbursement for services will be tied to those metrics, he said.

“As director of clinical operations, Leesa will be instrumental in helping us focus on maximizing the value of everything we do, enhancing quality while containing costs. As someone who grew up in this community, she understands this value in terms of how it can improve the lives of those we serve,” Perras said.

Taft previously served as associate medical director at Mt. Ascutney, overseeing clinical practice for nurse practitioners and physician assistants in the Windsor office while serving as a nurse practitioner in the primary care clinic. Before that, she served as assistant medical director. Taft has worked at Mt. Ascutney since 2003.

Taft is a doctor of nursing practice, advanced registered nurse practitioner and a certified family nurse practitioner. She received her Master of Science in nursing in 2005 from the University of New Hampshire, graduating summa cum laude. That same year, she became board-certified as an advanced registered nurse practitioner. Before getting her master’s degree, Taft worked as a pediatric nurse at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center as well as a nursing supervisor at Mt. Ascutney. She is a veteran of the United States Air Force, where she achieved the rank of sergeant and became an operations management specialist. Taft is a 1986 graduate of Windsor High School.

Green Mountain Care Board appoints new general counsel

MONTPELIER — The Green Mountain Care Board, which focuses on ensuring affordable, quality, accessible health care for Vermonters, has appointed Michael Barber as its general counsel.

Barber, who began the role Feb. 20, replaces Judy Henkin, who was recently appointed to serve as the deputy commissioner of the Vermont Department of Corrections.

Barber has been with the Green Mountain Care Board since October 2016. Since May, he’s served as the chief of health policy, responsible for leading the board’s implementation of the all-payer accountable care organization model agreement. He previously served as a staff attorney at the board.

Barber brings a wealth of legal and health care experience to his role. Prior to his work at the board, Barber was an assistant attorney general for the State of Vermont, where he represented the Department of Vermont Health Access. Before moving to Vermont, Barber worked for the state of Alaska for seven years, first as a law clerk to the Hon. Philip M. Pallenberg and then for the Alaska Department of Administration and the Alaska Attorney General’s Office.

“Mike’s intelligence, legal acumen and experience will play a great role in the board’s work” said Kevin Mullin, chairman of the Green Mountain Care Board. “His experience with the all-payer accountable care organization model agreement will serve the board well as we work with Vermont’s health care providers to build a health care system based on prevention and population health.”

Barber obtained his bachelor of arts in political science and international studies from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) and his Juris Doctor from University of Richmond School of Law.

— Compiled by Kelly Burch