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Episode 162: Workgroup Voices, The Inner Workings of Prior Authorization

December 4, 2019

Industry leaders recognized for contributions to further association and health IT industry initiatives

WASHINGTON, D.C. — December 4, 2019 —  WEDI, the nation’s leading nonprofit authority on the use of health IT to create efficiencies in health care information exchange and a trusted advisor to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced today the winners of its annual awards program. Each award recipient was announced during the 2019 WEDI Winter Conference in Arlington, Va. on Wednesday, December 4.

“The WEDI Board of Directors is privileged to work alongside of so many respected experts and thought leaders, and this is our opportunity to recognize the advances they are making to impact health care efficiency through the use of information technology,” said Charles W. Stellar, president and CEO of WEDI. “We had many incredibly worthy nominees, and we are so thankful for each of these individual’s and organization’s tireless efforts, dedication and commitment. Congratulations to all the 2019 award winners, and we thank you for your unwavering support.”

Andrew H. Melczer Leadership in Volunteerism Award – Named in memory of Andrew H. Melczer who exemplified these characteristics through his volunteerism with WEDI, this award recognizes an individual who has provided exemplary service by giving their time to the association and health care IT industry activities on a national basis. The late Andy Melczer committed his career to health care and devoted his life to helping, teaching and sharing with others. Heather McComas of the American Medical Association is the 2019 recipient of the Melczer Award.

Chair’s Award – This award is presented at the discretion of WEDI’s Chair to an individual who has demonstrated exceptional leadership and commitment to the advancement of specific WEDI initiatives. The 2019 recipients of this award are

  • Laurie Burckhardt, WPS Health Solutions
  • Ed Hafner, Change Healthcare
  • Tom Meyers, America's Health Insurance Plans
  • Nancy Spector, American Medical Association

Distinguished Service Award – This award recognizes individuals who have provided significant leadership to the fulfillment of the mission, objectives, programs and overall volunteer activities of WEDI through participation in committees, workgroups, PAGs, Board of Directors, among others. Following are the 2019 recipients of this award:

  • Matthew Albright, Zelis Payments
  • Pam Grosze, PNC Bank
  • David Haugen, Minnesota Department of Health
  • John Kelly, Edifecs
  • Laurie Woodrome, LabCorp

Excellence in Health IT Award – Recognizing an individual or organization’s contribution to the advancement of health information technology and eCommerce technology in health care, the 2019 Excellence in Health IT Award recipient is Health Level Seven International (HL7).

HIT Government Champion Award – This award recognizes exceptional government personnel who have supported policy that advances the health IT industry. This person has also been an active ally of WEDI and has helped build government support on new initiatives. The 2019 HIT Government Champion Award was presented to Alix Goss, National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics.

Louis W. Sullivan Award – Named in honor of the former HHS Secretary who was instrumental in the creation of WEDI and initiating the health care industry’s ongoing commitment to improving health care through the development of standards for administrative simplification, the Honorable Louis W. Sullivan, MD, this award recognizes individuals who have distinguished themselves through their leadership, vision and achievements in advancing the efficiency of health care. The 2019 Sullivan Award was presented to Donald Rucker, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

Outstanding Corporate Leadership Award – This award recognizes the WEDI Member organization that displays the highest level of commitment and corporate involvement in the work and activities of WEDI each year. The 2019 awardee is Change Healthcare.

Outstanding Corporate Sponsor Award – Recognizes a vendor who has served as a strong champion in health IT through their continued commitment to WEDI’s sponsorship programs throughout the year. The 2019 recipient of this award is Softheon.

Outstanding Leadership Award – This award recognizes Workgroup/Taskforce or Subworkgroup (SWG) Co-Chairs who have consistently contributed toward the growth, success and impact their group has made on the industry. Following are the 2019 recipients of this award:

  • Janice Bakos, Aetna
  • Stephanie Bronshvayg, athenahealth
  • Tina Grande, Healthcare Leadership Council
  • Ed Hafner, Change Healthcare
  • Marilyn Zigmund Luke, America's Health Insurance Plans

Volunteer Service Award – This certificate recognizes a leader on the rise – someone making a real contribution and difference within WEDI. This award recognizes someone who has actively supported the efforts of their workgroup, subworkgroup or taskforce through their commitment, leadership, team play and productivity. Following are the 2019 recipients of this award:

  • Bob Dieterle, Enable Care, LLC
  • Rick Geimer, Lantana Consulting Group
  • Celine Lefebvre, American Medical Association
  • Patrick Murta, Humana
  • Nancy Spector, American Medical Association
  • Rob Tennant, MGMA

For more information on the 2019 awardees or on the WEDI Winter Conference, please visit

About WEDI
WEDI is the leading authority on the use of health IT to improve health care information exchange in order to enhance the quality of care, improve efficiency, and reduce costs of our nation’s health care system. WEDI was formed in 1991 by the Secretary of Health and Human Services and was designated in the 1996 HIPAA legislation as an advisor to HHS. WEDI’s membership includes a broad coalition of organizations, including hospitals, providers, health plans, vendors, government agencies, consumers, not-for-profit organizations, and standards development organizations. To learn more, visit and connect with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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