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

December 20, 2021

Industry leaders honored for contributions to further association mission and national health IT industry initiatives.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — December 20, 2021 — WEDI announced the winners of its annual awards program, honoring the significant contributions of industry leaders and the organization’s dedicated volunteers. WEDI, the nation’s leading nonprofit authority on the use of health IT to create efficiencies in health care information exchange, is a statutory advisor to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Each award recipient was announced during the 2021 WEDI Annual Membership Meeting.

“The winners of the 2021 WEDI awards represent innovative and committed health IT leaders and we welcomed this opportunity to recognize these individuals and organizations for their achievements in advancing health care efficiency through the use of information technology,” said Charles W. Stellar, president and CEO of WEDI. “We extend our congratulations to all the 2021 award winners and thank them for their dedication to achieving the vision and goals of our organization and to improving the health of the nation.”

The award winners included:

Louis W. Sullivan Award – Named in honor of the Honorable Louis W. Sullivan, MD, the former HHS Secretary who was instrumental in the creation of WEDI and initiating our industry’s ongoing commitment to improving health care through the development and deployment of standards for administrative simplification. This award recognizes an individual who has distinguished themselves through their leadership, vision and achievements in advancing the efficiency of health care. The 2021 Sullivan Award was presented to Viet Nguyen, MD, Clinical Informaticist, Stratametrics, LLC and Technical Director, HL7 Da Vinci Project.

Andrew H. Melczer Leadership in Volunteerism Award – Named in honor of the late Andrew Melczer who committed his career to health care and devoted his life to helping, teaching, and sharing with others. This award recognizes an individual who has provided exemplary service by giving their time to WEDI and the health IT industry. Andrew Melczer exemplified these characteristics through his volunteerism with WEDI. Edward Hafner of Change Healthcare is the 2021 recipient of the Melczer Award.

Distinguished Service – The Steve Lazarus Award. Named in honor of Steve Lazarus, PhD, a former WEDI Board Chair and expletory volunteer. This award recognizes an individual who has 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, and events. John Kelly, Edifecs is the 2021 recipient of this award.

Chair’s Award – This award is presented at the discretion of the WEDI Chair to an individual who has demonstrated exceptional leadership and commitment to the advancement of specific WEDI initiatives. The 2021 recipients of this award are

  • Robert Bowman, CAQH CORE
  • Jay Eisenstock, JE Consulting
  • Pamela Grosze, PNC Bank

Excellence in 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, Policy Advisory Groups, Board of Directors, among others. The following are the 2021 recipients of this award:

  • Matthew Albright, Zelis Payments
  • Leslie Amoros, Imprado
  • Alison Armstrong, Sirona Strategies (formerly with Anthem)
  • Beth Davis, Allscripts Payerpath
  • Jocelyn Keegan, Point-of-Care Partners
  • Patricia Wijtyk, Cognizant

Excellence in Health IT Award – Recognizes an organization such as provider, health plan or HIT vendor that has contributed to the advancement of HIT and advancing administrative automation and technology in healthcare. The 2021 awardee is MCG Health.

Lifetime Achievement Award – This is a special award posthumously recognizing two volunteer leaders who exhibited significant dedication to WEDI and its mission. Both served on the Board of Directors, both shared their expertise in committees and workgroups, and both exemplified the passion for improving the nation’s health care system and collaborative spirit that makes WEDI so successful. The 2021 awardees are Laurie Burckhardt, WPS Health Solutions and Laurie Woodrome, Labcorp.

For more information on the 2021 awardees or on 2022 WEDI educational programming, 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 the Department 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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