Team

Joan Dentler headshot

Joan Dentler MBA

President & Chief Executive Officer LinkedIn-16px_0

Joan Dentler is president and chief executive officer of Avanza Healthcare Strategies. For more than 25 years Joan has been consulting on, developing or operating ambulatory surgery centers, hospital outpatient services and community health initiatives. She founded ASC Strategies in 2007 and Outpatient Strategies in 2011, unifying the two companies under a single brand, Avanza Healthcare Strategies, in 2013.

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Joan's breadth of experience and disarming nature help her quickly build trust and establish credibility with clients and other stakeholders. She is known for her incisive business acumen and elegant solutions to complex problems.

Joan has held numerous industry leadership positions. She is a member of Gerson Lehrman Group's healthcare council and is a past advisory board member for Community Hospital 100. She has also served on the editorial advisory boards for SurgiStrategies and Outpatient Surgery magazines. Joan is a frequent contributor to healthcare publications and an engaging presenter at conferences and symposiums. She repeatedly appears on Becker's list of top women leaders in the healthcare industry.

Before founding Avanza, Joan worked in health care administration, serving as a hospital liaison for hospital-physician joint ventures and as an administrator of community-based women's health and pediatric primary care facilities.

Joan holds a master's degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas.

Contact Joan at [email protected].

Andy Lasser headshot

Andrew A. Lasser DrPH, FACHE

Executive Vice PresidentLinkedIn-16px_0

Andrew Lasser is executive vice president of Avanza Healthcare Strategies. Dr. Lasser's rich healthcare experience includes various leadership posts, notably executive vice president, chief operating officer and chief executive officer of academic medical center hospitals, community hospitals, rural hospitals and a religiously affiliated hospital.

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Since 1998, Dr. Lasser has been consulting in the areas of strategic thinking in healthcare operations, project feasibility, organizational structure and hospital-physician collaborations. He is also a skilled group-process facilitator.

Dr. Lasser is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. He is frequent speaker at healthcare meetings and is the author of several articles and publications. He has served on the editorial boards of the American College of Healthcare Executives' Journal of Healthcare Management and the Journal of Rural Health. Dr. Lasser is also a Review Editor for Frontiers, a community-rooted, open-access academic publisher.

In addition to his professional work, Dr. Lasser has served on the board of directors of many community-health-related organizations, such as Variety Care, a federally qualified health care center; American Red Cross; American Heart Association and Christian Children's Fund.

Dr. Lasser holds a doctorate in Public Health and a master's degree in Healthcare Management from the University of Pittsburgh.

Erin P. Carr MBA

Vice PresidentLinkedIn-16px_0

Erin Carr brings nearly 20 years of healthcare consulting experience to Avanza Healthcare Strategies. She has served nearly 100 hospitals, physician practices, hospice organizations, rehabilitation centers, skilled-nursing facilities and other healthcare organizations across the country. Among other things, Avanza's clients rely on Erin's financial modeling for new programs, due diligence for acquisitions, and impact analysis for program migrations.

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She is an active member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, Healthcare Financial Management Association, Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development of the American Hospital Association and the Florida Hospital Association. She is also a past board member of Suncoast Healthcare Executives.

Away from the office, Erin volunteers with St. Joseph's Children's Hospital and Project PUP: Pets Uplifting People.

Erin holds a master's degree in Business Administration, with a focus in healthcare administration, from Georgia State University.

Janis Powers

Janis Powers MBA, MArch

Vice President, Strategic OperationsLinkedIn-16px_0

Janis Powers is the vice president of strategic operations for Avanza Healthcare Strategies. Janis has nearly 20 years of experience developing and implementing strategic plans, departmental initiatives and enterprise-wide technology projects for public- and private-sector clients.

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Throughout her career, Janis has partnered with client constituents at all organizational levels, from board leadership to hospital staff to community stakeholders. This collective experience has fueled Janis' ability to partner with clients in the design and implementation of a wide array of highly customized initiatives. She recently completed a data-security analysis of vital records for the state of Texas and the development of an operational plan for a 600-physician health information exchange system.

Janis completed her undergraduate studies at Yale University. She holds dual masters degrees in business administration and architecture from the University of Michigan.

Jacqueline Kim

Jacqueline (Shen) Kim MBA

Director of Client ServicesLinkedIn-16px_0

Jacqueline Kim brings 15 years of healthcare and corporate consulting experience to the Avanza team. In her position as Director of Client Services, she will focus on areas that include internal and external communications, client relations and project coordination.

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Her professional experience includes strategic planning, data analysis, project development and management, due diligence, marketing, relationship building and serving as a liaison to community and government leaders.

During her career, Jackie has worked with a wide variety of organizations, including community-based health organizations, public teaching hospitals, national health insurers and leading pharmaceutical companies.

She earned a bachelor of arts in human biology focused on health care policy from Stanford University and a master of business administration in healthcare management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Sarah Gamerman headshot

Sarah Gamerman RN, BS

Senior Consultant, Surgical ServicesLinkedIn-16px_0

Sarah Gamerman has worked closely with hospitals and free-standing, outpatient facilities, taking them from ground breaking through licensing, Medicare certification and accreditation. She helps clients develop policies and procedures to meet state and federal regulations. All of Sarah's clients have passed initial surveys without issue.

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Sarah is expert in hiring and mentoring administrators and center staff through the development and certification processes. Sarah also conducts operational audits and feasibility studies for hospitals and surgery centers.

Sarah regularly works alongside project architects and designers to ensure facility designs are compliant, cost effective, efficient and maximize patient care opportunities.

In addition to her work with clients, as a registered nurse, Sarah continues to provide clinical care to patients in both hospital and freestanding settings. Doing so continually reinforces her understanding of the challenges providers face today.

Sarah is a member of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses.

Julie Hamberis MBA-HA, BSN, RN, CNOR

Senior Consultant

Julie brings her impressive 24 years of healthcare experience to Avanza. She has worked as an ASC clinical director, surgical trauma/orthopedic coordinator, director of surgical services and most recently associate vice president of surgery/ambulatory services at a seven-hospital, 460-bed health system. Her areas of oversight included inpatient surgery, outpatient surgery, ambulatory surgery, pain management, anesthesia and endoscopy, with responsibilities in operations, financial management and performance improvement for surgical services.

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Julie serves as an Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) accreditation mentor for ASC leaders. She is certified by Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) and holds both her CNOR and CSSM credentials. She has taken the intermediate Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) surveyor course and performs mock surveys for ASCs seeking accreditation with AAAHC, CMS and The Joint Commission.

Julie is an active member in AORN, the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association and the South Carolina Ambulatory Surgery Center Association and a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society for nursing. She holds her MBA, MHA and BSN from Capella University.

Tyla Blom RN, MBA, CASC

Senior Consultant, OperationsLinkedIn-16px_0

Tyla ("Teela") Blom brings more than 25 years of clinical and operational experience to the Avanza team. Over the course of her career, Tyla has been recognized for her operational acumen, collaboration skills, and strategic thinking. In an environment of declining reimbursement and increasing costs, Tyla works with each individual client to craft a plan that allows for the provision of excellent care while improving the bottom line.

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Prior to joining Avanza, Tyla served as a regional ASC operations director for a large hospital corporation and has held several management and executive level positions for both physician owned and corporately managed ambulatory surgery facilities.

Tyla enjoys working with physician partners and staff members to identify areas for operational improvement and has been successful in reducing operational expenses through education, scheduling efficiencies, streamlining processes, and contract negotiations at all of her facilities.

Tyla earned her nursing degree from Clayton State College in Morrow, Georgia and her Masters in Business Administration from Western Governors University Texas. Tyla is also a Certified Administrator Surgery Center (CASC).

Lisa Austin RN, CASC

Consultant — ASC Development and OperationsLinkedIn-16px_0

Lisa has been an RN for almost 40 years and in ambulatory care for the majority of those years. Lisa's extensive operational development, management and consulting experience provides clients with expertise in facility administration, budget development, regulatory compliance, staff recruitment and retention, equipment procurement, policy and procedure development and implementation, and organizational interfacing. Lisa's national ASC and hospital department development and management expertise affords clients, who are opening new Facilities, unparalleled success.

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Lisa has developed numerous surgery centers working in concert with investors, corporations, hospitals, architects, builders and equipment manufactures/distributors through all phases of surgery center development and management.

Lisa has achieved CASC, the credential that connotes expertise in ASC administration. She is a current board officer of the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association, (ASCA) and past board member of the Colorado Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (CASCA), where she also served as president. Lisa also served multiple state and national committees to further the advancement of the ASC industry.

Lisa is involved in several non-profit organizations in her community and enjoys volunteering when possible.

Vicki Dekker

Senior Consultant, Business Office Specialist LinkedIn-16px_0

Vicki Dekker brings more than 25 years of healthcare management experience to assisting Avanza’s clients with business office operations process. Her background includes extensive work with ambulatory surgery centers, outpatient academic facilities, private practices and other facility types.

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Vicki has worked as a director of business office operations for an ASC management company; billing manager for neurosurgery, neurology, and ENT departments at an outpatient academic facility; and as a business office manager in a large neurology private practice.

She has demonstrated success in building and retaining high performance teams by hiring, developing and motivating skilled professionals. Vicki’s focus is on business office process improvements, with an emphasis on maximizing revenue cycle reimbursement with efficient processes.

Vicki has been named a great woman leader in the ASC industry by Becker's ASC Review multiple times. She is an avid volunteer, donating her time to help a local soup kitchen and baking skills to help her church.

Susan Neorr MBA

Senior Consultant, Payer RelationsLinkedIn-16px_0

Susan Neorr brings more than 20 years of healthcare management experience to helping Avanza’s clients with payer relations and contract negotiations. She is focused on securing competitive reimbursement rates and optimal terms while managing clients’ transitions to value-based contracting.

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As a consultant, Susan has worked with community hospitals, private specialty groups, independent pediatric groups, long-term acute care hospital networks, county hospital systems, national HMOs/PPOs, and local CHIP and Medicare Advantage plans. She also has extensive experience maximizing contract value for ambulatory surgery centers, imaging centers and other physician-owned entities.

Susan previously directed the network contracting effort for a regional health plan that, at the time, was the fastest growing HMO in the country. The Harris Methodist Health Plan, a 350,000 member HMO located in Dallas-Fort Worth, whose network at its height included over 8,000 physicians, 75 hospitals and 190 ancillaries, was bought by PacifiCare, which was later acquired by United Healthcare. Ms. Neorr advised both acquiring entities on contracting and network development. In addition, she worked at Kaiser Permanente in its Texas headquarters and at several community hospitals.

Susan holds a Master of Business Administration from Texas Christian University and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Economics from the University of North Texas.

Diane Farris RN, BSN, MA

Senior ConsultantLinkedIn-16px_0

Diane Farris brings more than 36 years of clinical, administrative and operational experience to Avanza. Diane is a AAAHC surveyor and fills several roles. As a surveyor for more than seven years, she performs AAAHC, deemed status AAAHC and advanced orthopedic certification surveys. She is also a surveyor mentor and serves as faculty. Diane's knowledge includes all areas of ASC accreditation and regulatory compliance.

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After becoming an RN in 1985, she was commissioned as an officer and served 20 years in the U.S. Air Force Nurse Corps. After retirement, she built and ran a large multi-specialty ambulatory surgery center. It was the first ASC to be operational on the Mississippi Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina.

Diane also started a small consulting company to assist new and existing ASCs looking to obtain and sustain AAAHC accreditation and CMS certification. Her regulatory, quality, risk management, infection control and governance expertise has helped several facilities to achieve accreditation with confidence.

Diane graduated from University of California, Santa Barbara, with a degree in physiology; California State Hayward, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in nursing; and Webster University, where she earned a Master of Arts in computer resources management.

Jack O' Connor MBA, MHA

Consultant — Cardiovascular Outpatient ServicesLinkedIn-16px_0

Jack brings an impressive 33 years of healthcare experience to Avanza. He has a tremendous amount of experience opening new cardiovascular centers. Jack has clinical experience as a cardiovascular perfusionist. He has led many initiatives in the transition of cardiovascular patients from a traditional inpatient status to the outpatient setting in areas such as peripheral vascular procedures, cath/PCI procedures and electrophysiology procedures.

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Jack's most recent role was as a system vice president of cardiovascular services at a nine-hospital, 3200-bed health system. His areas of oversight included inpatient surgery, outpatient surgery, ambulatory surgery, inpatient nursing units, same-day procedural care units, cardiac cath labs/EP labs, anesthesia, cardiovascular medical group practices, outpatient outreach clinics and specialty clinics, such as heart failure and arrythmia centers, all with responsibilities in operations, financial management and performance improvement.

Jack has vast experience in service line development, programmatic development, strategic planning, business plan development and creating and operating within a "dyad" leadership model for program creation.

Vickie Cunniff headshot

Victoria (Vickie) Cunniff RN, BSN, MBA, CASC

ConsultantLinkedIn-16px_0

Victoria Cunniff has nearly 20 years of healthcare and outpatient experience. She specializes in ambulatory surgery center (ASC) operations management and clinical administration. Her expertise includes directing financial and clinical operations, patient safety, physician relations, health information management, clinical outcomes and reporting, and human resources management.

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Vickie most recently served as administrator and director of nursing at a California ambulatory surgery center, where she was responsible for managing all financial and clinical operations. During her impressive tenure, she presided over substantial revenue and volume growth. She was also responsible for hiring, training and supervision of staff; patient relations; workflow coordination; physician recruitment; budget planning and administration; and other responsibilities.

Vickie is an active participant in the ASC industry and holds the Certified Administrator Surgery Center credential. She earned her BSN in nursing and MBA in business administration and management for the University of Phoenix.

Robert McDavitt RN, MBA, CASC

Senior Consultant, Development and OperationsLinkedIn-16px_0

Robert McDavitt brings close to 25 years of clinical and facility management experience to Avanza. He became a registered nurse in 1994 to help people; that mission remains the same today.

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Robert's clinical background in the ICU and emergency room, along with his experience as a hospital director of business development, provide a unique skillset for clients. His passion is teaching that excellent clinical care, world-class customer service and fiscal responsibility are not mutually exclusive but go hand in hand.

Robert started his career in outpatient surgery in 2003. Since then, he has managed multiple de-novo facilities, acquisitions, mergers, turnarounds and syndications of surgery centers on a local, multi-site and multi-state level, working as a consultant, administrator and health system employee. He has worked with physicians in the development of multiple successful group practices from concept to full-scale operations.

Highlights of Robert's work include establishing the first Tenet Healthcare and United Surgical Partners International joint venture; managing the acquisition, integration and operations of multiple surgery centers in two states; launching multiple anesthesia groups; developing multiple surgery centers from idea to fully operational; and leading successful turnarounds in the hospital and surgery center space.

Robert holds a bachelor's degree in business administration/healthcare management, earned with the summa cum laude distinction, and a master’s degree in business administration. He has authored articles for trade magazines and participated as a guest moderator for state surgery center associations.

William K. Wilkison MHA

Consultant, Hospital RelationsLinkedIn-16px_0

Bill Wilkison brings more than 40 years of experience in healthcare management to Avanza Healthcare Strategies, 32 of those in senior executive roles with both for-profit and not-for-profit hospitals and health systems. He has extensive experience in leading teams of health system senior leaders and middle managers, independent and employed physicians, attorneys, architects and contractors in the creation, development and operation of inpatient and outpatient healthcare facilities and services. This includes health system-physician joint venture ASCs and pain management centers.

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Recent major areas of responsibility have included serving as a health system representative on the board of directors of two ASC joint ventures; management of a health system's imaging services with more than 25 outpatient locations; management of an interventional pain management center/ASC; and a health system representative to the board of directors of a joint venture with a major inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation company.

His community service endeavors include serving on the board of directors and in committee roles for community-health-related organizations such as United Cerebral Palsy of the Capital Region, Hospice of Central PA and PA Vent Camp, which provides a summer camp experience for ventilator-dependent children.

Bill is a registered respiratory therapist and a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. He earned his master's degree in healthcare management from Pennsylvania State University.