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Meet Our Team

The van Halem Group  has become one of the nation’s most respected healthcare audit and consulting firms. 

Together, our team has more than 130 years of related experience. We have worked collaboratively with key government stakeholders, such as Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Office of Inspector General (OIG), Medicare administrative contractors (MACs), recovery audit contractors (RACs), zone program integrity contractors (ZPICs), private payors, and other government contractors and agencies.  This expertise provides clients the benefit of knowing proper communication channels and processes reducing the regulatory burden.

Wayne H. van HalemWayne H. van Halem, AHFI, CFE

Wayne H. van Halem, AHFI, CFE founded The van Halem Group in 2006.  The Atlanta-based firm merged with VGM Group in 2014 and Wayne currently serves as its President as they assist providers navigate complex issues related to audits, appeals, enrollment, and compliance. As a CMS contractor for 10 years, he spent a majority of that time as a fraud investigator and national Appeals Director. Wayne is also a published author and well-known lecturer.  He is an Accredited Healthcare Fraud Investigator through the National Health Care Anti-fraud Association (NHCAA); a Certified Fraud Examiner through the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), and an active member of the Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA). He has served on the faculty for each of these national organizations. He also sits on the American Association for Homecare’s Regulatory Council, Medtrade’s Educational Advisory Board, Medicare DME MAC Jurisdiction D Advisory Council, MAC Jurisdiction 6 Home Health and Hospice Vendor Coalition; and on the Advisory Board for HME Business Magazine. He has also served as a legal expert in various criminal and civil proceedings.  Since 2006, his company has saved clients over $75 million in overpayments and denial recoveries.

 

Carrie Nienberg
Carrie Nienberg, RN, CPC 

Carrie Nienberg, RN, CLNC, CPC  serves as the Clinical Operations  Director for The van Halem Group  responsible for overseeing and  managing the clinical teams.  Carrie has over 30 years of nursing experience in multiple settings including a hospital, physician office, ambulatory surgery center and a Medicare program safeguard contractor (PSC).  Her specific areas of expertise include peri-operative (including pre-op), operating room, surgical assistance, recovery, and Medicare medical review and benefit integrity.  During her time with a Medicare program safeguard contractor, Carrie was responsible for traditional medical review functions and medical review in support of benefit integrity of durable medical equipment claims.  Carrie is also a certified legal nurse consultant and certified professional coder.

 

 

Lucretia LaFavor

Lucretia LaFavor serves as the Director of Operations for The van Halem Group, and previously was the Project Manager, where she oversaw transitioning of contracts, developing and implementing policies and procedures and coordination of various projects.  Lucretia began her Medicare career in 1990, and has over 18 years of experience in leadership roles at various Medicare contractors in the areas of program integrity, Medicare secondary payer, quality assurance, appeals, project management and claims. Her most recent role was operations manager for an A/B Medicare administrative contractor (MAC).  

 

 

 

Kelly Grahovac, MBA

Kelly Grahovac serves as a Senior Consultant for The van Halem Group where she focuses on audits, appeals, education and training, and business development. Kelly is a known lecturer in the DME industry, speaking at national conferences, state associations, and for private events. Kelly has nearly 10 years of experience at one of the nation’s leading Medicare contractors where she worked for the Durable Medical Equipment Regional Carrier (DMERC), Qualified Independent Contractor (QIC), and A/B Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC).  Her various roles with Medicare include working as a senior provider relations representative, QIC Adjudicator and Training Specialist. Kelly has in-depth knowledge in Medicare appeals, policy and education and training. In addition to her client work at The van Halem Group, Kelly is also a contributor to several industry publications nationally.  

 

 
Danaya Bryant

Danaya Bryant serves as the Business Analyst for The van Halem Group and has over 13 years of healthcare experience.  Her focus has been in administration and technical support, previously working for a DME supplier, hospital, and private insurance company.  She also gained Medicare experience working for Palmetto GBA with the Part D prescription drug program, as well as the Qualified Independent Contractor (QIC).  As a Business Analyst, she manages ongoing projects, onboarding new clients, conducts training sessions, and provides system support.

 
Christina Colegrove, RN, BSN

Christina Colegrove serves as a Clinical Consultant for The van Halem Group.  Christina received her BSN from the University of Rochester in 2008.  She began her nursing career in the Kessler Burn/Trauma ICU. In 2011, Christina began working for one of the CMS Recovery, where her audit experience was specialized in inpatient/outpatient services, as well as DMEPOS. After three years of service with the RAC, Christina joined The van Halem Group team.

 

Nancy Conant, RN, LCSW 

Nancy Conant serves as a Clinical Consultant for The van Halem Group.  Prior to joining our team, Nancy worked for over 5 years at DME MAC Jurisdiction A.  During that time, she served as a team lead for the developing PAR Project and was accountable for developing, training, and overseeing a team-based environment following Medicare guidelines, policies, and procedures.  Prior to the PAR project, Nancy was experienced in leading the ADMC medical review at Jurisdiction A.  She also is proficient in providing supplier education to resolve coverage criteria issues and documentation requirements.  Nancy is also a licensed certified social worker.

 

Lisa Eick, RN

Lisa Eick serves as a Clinical Consultant for The van Halem Group. Lisa has over 25 years of experience in the area of skilled nursing facilities, home health, hospice and pharmacy. For the past 10 years, she has provided consulting services, training, and education on Medicare and Medicaid regulatory compliance and best practices. 

 

Sandra Gauron

Sandra Gauron serves as an Audit and Appeals Coordinator for The van Halem Group.  Sandra has 16 years of experience working in the healthcare auditing field.  For 10 of those years, she worked as a Medicare Fraud Analyst and Fraud Investigator with one of the first Medicare Program Safeguard Contractors (PSC).  She conducted benefit integrity audits of medical equipment suppliers working hand in hand with carriers and law enforcement.  She has worked with The van Halem Group in a similar capacity since 2011 and assists clients through the challenging appeals processes.

 

Karen Greco, BSN

Karen Greco is a Clinical Consultant for The van Halem Group. Prior to joining our team, Karen was employed as an auditor for the Recovery Audit Contractor. At the RAC, Karen specialized in inpatient versus observation, short stay procedures, and skilled nursing facility and outpatient rehabilitation reviews. She has served as a Case Manager for an outpatient ambulatory wound care center and spent thirteen years as an adjunct professor teaching Fundamental, Medical Surgical, and Physical Assessment nursing skills. Karen started her nursing career as a critical care nurse working in a cardiac/pulmonary critical care unit.   

 

Latoya Hayes, CPC

Latoya Hayes serves as an Appeal Coordinator for The van Halem Group, where she focuses on appeals and audits.  She has over 20 years of healthcare experience, working in various roles to include Senior Appeals Representative, Quality Analyst, and Claims Processor.  Latoya is a Certified Professional Coder, and has served as a Medical Coding and Billing Instructor.

 

Kay Ellen Koch, OTR/L, ATP, RESNA Fellow

Kay Ellen Koch serves as a Rehab Clinical and Education Consultant for The van Halem Group.  Kay has over 30 years in seating and wheeled mobility experience. She is a graduate of the occupational therapy program at Ohio State University. Her focus has been on pediatric and adult seating positioning, wheeled mobility and assistive technology solutions. She has worked in all aspects of the industry from clinician, manufacturer, supplier and surveyor and second level rehab reviewer consultant for a large funding source. She is also a well-known industry speaker.  

 

Heather Rodriguez, RHIT, CCA

Heather Rodriguez serves as the Operations Team Lead for The van Halem Group and has 8 years of management experience.  She joined The van Halem Group as a Transmission Coordinator, where she was responsible for submissions of audits and appeals to the DME MACs and audit contractors. She currently works with clients on quarterly compliance and post-payment audits.  As Operations Team Lead, Heather works hand-in-hand with her team to ensure that they produce the highest quality product for each client. 

 

Kim Turner, RN

Kim Turner serves as the Rehab Clinical Consultant and Team Lead. She has more than 20 years of nursing experience in a variety of settings including clinical and hospital-based medical/surgical nursing, intensive care, surgical intensive care, and cardiac care telemetry at both the staff nurse level and as an Assistant Nurse Manager. She has experience as a medical review nurse for DME with a Medicare contractor, as well as developing medical review criteria for several medical policies. In 1996, Kim began her career as a Medicare Reimbursement and Clinical Consultant. As a consultant, she assists medical equipment providers in evaluating Medicare coverage by reviewing the medical documentation they obtain for their specified client. She provides proper equipment HCPCs codes, modifiers, and other billing instructions necessary for filing a Medicare claim. Kim also assists providers with recovery of denied Medicare claims by preparing clinical summaries and providing clients guidance on how to proceed with an appeal.  

 

Abrielle Uritz, RN, BSN

Abrielle Uritz is a Clinical Consultant for The van Halem Group. She has 8 years of nursing experience, including working as an RN supervisor for a skilled nursing facility/rehabilitation center for 5 years. Her Medicare experience includes working for the Qualified Independent Contractor (QIC) reviewing a wide variety of durable medical equipment claims. Certifications include RN, BSN, CPR/AED, BLS, and CPC.

 

Donna Youngblood, RN, BSN, CPC

Donna Youngblood serves as a Clinical Consultant for The van Halem Group.  Donna has a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing and is a Certified Professional Coder. Donna has over 15 years nursing experience, with focus on same day surgery and inpatient surgery, to include pre-op, intra-op and post-op care. Other experience includes Joint Commission accreditation and medical record reviews for performance measures and quality healthcare. Her most recent Medicare experience includes working as a reconsideration specialist for the Qualified Independent Contractor (QIC), performing all types of Durable Medical Equipment (DME) reviews.