Our Experienced, Friendly, Dedicated Staff
The NorthCoast staff comes from a variety of backgrounds, expertise and interests. The one thing that they all have in common is a passionate need to provide quality care at every level in the organization. They bridge the gap from the traditional “old school”, unmanaged patient care to a coordinated course of care that maps to evidence-based practices of patient-centered care. The care is consistent, dedicated and at the same time individualized. We are extremely proud of our dedicated staff and are pleased to present them below.
LEE PASSELL, Founder
Founding NorthCoast Health Care Management Services in 1995, Lee held the position of President until his death in October 2020. He offered more than 40 years of home health, infusion pharmacy, managed care, and patient access network management experience. He leveraged his experience in driving ancillary network patient access programs focused on Infusion Therapy, Home Health, Hospice, and other services plus Pharma-related patient access and reimbursement HUB programs. His strategic planning process, strategic relationships, sales, and contract negotiations for key accounts set a solid foundation for NorthCoast’s business model. Lee was formerly President and owner of NorthCoast HealthCare Group, Inc, a home healthcare and staffing organization serving 10 counties from 1982 until the sale of the agency in 2002; and NorthCoast Infusion Therapy, Ltd., an infusion and specialty pharmacy, until 2008. Lee was an active leader in the industry serving on the Owners Advisory Committee of Interim HealthCare, Treasurer and Board Member of the Ohio Council for Home Care, Board Member of COSE of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association, Committee Advisor to Ohio Medicaid Program, member of Ohio Ombudsman’s Advisory Council, and several community nonprofit and for-profit board positions.
KATIE SVOBODA, RN, BSN, Director of Clinical Management
Katie received her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from The University of Akron in 1985. Her nursing career began at MetroHealth Medical Center where she was a med/surg nurse. Katie has over 30 years of home care experience. She started her home care career with Medical Personnel Pool in 1988 as a home care discharge case manager. While still case managing patients, she also worked as a hospital home care coordinator at St. Vincent Charity Hospital. She was promoted to Home Health Agency Nursing Supervisor for therapy services in April 1993. Katie also was in charge of orienting all new staff for the agency. In 1995, with organizational restructure, she was the first full-time nurse of the new integrated patient access and network management program. Katie was promoted to Director of Network Management in 2013. She has assisted with program development, new processes, orientation of new staff, and disease state management programs. She participated in the initial development of CMAS, our propriety software system, and continues to work closely with the software team on upgrades, enhancements and system reviews. Katie is a member of the Northeast Ohio Case Managers Association and the Ohio Council for Home Health and Hospice Services.
CATHY M. CHING-JONES, Director of Reimbursement and Credentialing
As Director of Reimbursement and Credentialing, Cathy oversees the reimbursement department. Cathy works collaboratively with payers and network providers to assure accuracy and timeliness in the billing procedures in addition to compliance to HIPAA. She has seen many rules change as medical billing has evolved over the past 30 years, most recently with the addition of the HIPAA compliant infusion therapy code sets. Cathy is an essential part of the internal team which assists in the development of CMAS, a proprietary software system to manage clinical and financial data with customized reporting. She has recently been integral in overseeing programming changes to allow the software and our organization to accept electronic claims from network providers. Cathy joined Interim HealthCare, previously Medical Personnel Pool in 1985 as an Account Representative (billing and collection). She was promoted to Claims Manager in 1991and to Director of Reimbursement and Credentialing in 2013. She continues to oversee a team of account representatives who are responsible for all claims activities. Cathy previously served in various order entry, computer, sales and accounting positions at CACSO. She earned an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts from Lakeland Community College. She is a member of the National Notary Association and has been very active in school organizations such as the local school board, Music Boosters, and PTA as well as committees for her local community.
LISA MARTIN, CPC, Benefits Manager
Lisa brings over 30 years of experience in billing and support services for medical fields including vascular, otolaryngology, allergy immunology, anesthesia, radiology, interventional radiology, general surgery, cardiology, electrocardiophysiology, chiropractic, home health care, hospice, home infusion, and pharmacy. She is a graduate of Cleveland Medical and Dental Institute and Lakeland Community College. Lisa was certified as a professional coder in 2010. Lisa has extensive knowledge of coding, coding from op reports and path reports, billing for office and facility, precertifications, electronic billing/posting, solving EDI issues/insuring compliance with multiple clearinghouses, Medicare/ Medicaid rules and regulations, appealing denials, creating and updating fee schedules, pre and post market studies for vascular stenting involving FDA and Medicare guidelines, credentialing organizations and physicians into health plans (ODI, CAQH, NPI, PTAN, etc.), renewing and maintaining clinical/hospital credentialing for physicians, monthly financial reporting, and collections.
Janet Harcek, Clinical and Quality Manager
Janet received her nursing degree from Hurley Medical Center School of Nursing in 1991. Her nursing career began at Butterworth Hospital Neonatal ICU in Grand Rapids Michigan. She received her Bachelor of Science from Central Michigan University in 1996. Janet has over 25 years of home care experience which started as a field nurse for the Visiting Nurse Association in Flint, Michigan. She became a nursing survivor at the VNA and was also responsible for the development, implication and training of their pediatric program. Janet was also a Director of Nursing for a Home Care and Hospice agency in North Carolina. She has worked as a discharge planner at University Hospital in Cleveland and was responsible for setting up home care and equipment for patients being discharged with additional needs. Janet also remains active in her community including past President of the PTO, a current member of the Youth football board along with Safety Coach for the JV youth football team. She is married with two sons and enjoys reading, tennis and watching her boys play sports including football, lacrosse and Ultimate Frisbee.
Elizabeth Conley, Executive Assistant and Office Manager
Elizabeth has been the Office Manager and Executive Assistant at NorthCoast since 2006. Her duties include contracting, credentialing, and compliance oversight. Previous experience includes 10 years at Coca-Cola Enterprises Human Resources where she handled contracts and government data reporting. Elizabeth graduated magna cum laude with a BA in English and British Studies in 1996 from Kent State University.
JOHN M. ALLEN, IT Manager
John has over 25 years of computer experience including previous service with the Energy Department in 1986-88( D.C Energy Office) and Mary Mount Hospital (1989-96). He has spent over 20 years in health care informatics working in all areas from the “help” desk to systems analyst. He has been with NorthCoast for over 23 years and oversees the multiple information systems of NorthCoast. John is instrumental in the data collection and reporting processes throughout NorthCoast. John earned a BS in Psychology in 1983 from the University of Dayton.