UMass President Martin T. Meehan recognizes outstanding performance of UMass Medical School Commonwealth Medicine division employees

October 12, 2016

Two programs and one employee of UMass Medical School’s Commonwealth Medicine division are among those being honored by the 2016 Commonwealth of Massachusetts Performance Recognition Program.

The commonwealth's program gives formal recognition to state employees who make meaningful contributions that distinguish them from their peers. The special awards focus attention on consistent, positive achievements by both individual and teams of state employees, and recognize those who demonstrate innovation and dedication to their work, concern for the public trust and a commitment to excellence.

“For 32 years, the Performance Recognition Program has been an important means to publicly acknowledge and encourage an individual or team’s outstanding performance, “said UMass President Martin T. Meehan, announcing the UMass recipients.

The following were honored with the Commonwealth Citation for Outstanding Performance:

Tamara Ohler, PhD, senior policy analyst at the Center for Health Law and Economics, for the intensive training on statistical concepts she provided to staff of MassHealth, the Massachusetts Medicaid program. Through her in-depth workshops, Ohler was able to pass along practical tools related to determining expenditures that will benefit MassHealth programmers, developers and analysts.

The State Supplement Program (SSP) and the Enhanced Coordination of Benefits program at the Center for Health Care Financing were recognized for their contributions to state government programs.

The SSP team was recognized for helping residents receive their cash benefits in a seamless, uninterrupted fashion. Debra Graham, SSP program director, has managed the program from concept to implementation. The SSP is a federally mandated cash assistance program that services more than 200,000 low-income, blind and/or disabled residents. In 2010, UMass Medical School took over SSP program administration from the Social Security Administration, and saved the commonwealth more than $85 million from 2012 to 2016.

The Enhanced Coordination of Benefits Program was recognized for its role in working with medically complex members of MassHealth, the Massachusetts Medicaid program, to identify and access new or existing commercial health insurance. Health benefit coordinators meet with families, educate them and guide them through the health insurance maze, coordinating insurance with hospitals, clinicians and financial services. Honored employees include program coordinator Sandra Stickney; specialty projects health benefits coordinator Renee Grenier; and health benefit coordinators Janice Allen, Sharon Beausoleil, Lori Bosak, Nevelle Faly, Anna Guinta, Mary Hajjar, Julie Roselund, Rachel Ross-Jenkinson, Yasmine Salvador and Danielle Zenus.

Other UMass Medical School recipients include: Michael F. Baker, MA, registrar; Lisa Beittel, MBA, assistant professor of psychiatry; An Dinh, institutional research analyst; Kimberly LaPerle, executive assistant; Kendall Knight, PhD, professor of biochemistry & molecular pharmacology; and, Mary Zanetti, EdD, assistant professor of quantitative health sciences.

A special event for recipients will be held later in October at the State House.