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Heartland Speaker Highlights

Posted on in Education and Events

By Jill Blaser, VGM Education

VGM is pleased to welcome all of our outstanding speakers to the Heartland Conference June 19-21. Most are no stranger to the conference, but some will be stepping into a new role as speaker this summer.

Sara Laures

Sara Laures

First-time presenter, Sara Laures, will be presenting in the new Executive track. Her session, High-performing Strategy and Planning Organizations, will be a deep dive into how some best-in-class companies excel at strategic focus, including: strategic planning, execution, scenario planning, adjacent growth, innovation, and integration. Learn how to identify gaps in your organization's strategy and planning.

Sara is the senior vice president of people and strategy for VGM Group, Inc., where she oversees human resources, talent acquisition, organizational development, and corporate planning and manages strategic projects that support the success of VGM’s 27 businesses and 900+ employees. She works closely with the CEO to develop and implement strategy across the company. A 20-year associate of VGM, Sara’s career has included multiple roles in VGM businesses, including a 14-year term as the vice president of VGM Education. Sara has a bachelor’s degree in health services administration from Upper Iowa University.

Cheryl Henninger, RRT, CEAC

Cheryl Henninger, RRT, CEAC

As a VGM member and first-time Heartland speaker, Cheryl Henninger will be presenting two sessions. In the Respiratory track, she will present a session titled Respiratory Care in Today’s Home Care Market. A new age of health care is evolving. While reimbursement for home medical equipment continues to decrease, claims audits continue to increase, and competitive bid continues to expand, presenting a multitude of opportunities for home medical equipment companies. In this session, Cheryl will identify the top five readmission diagnoses and how respiratory therapists can contribute to decreasing readmissions and managing chronic respiratory illnesses at home and in the community.

Cheryl’s second session, Embracing Patient Engagement, is part of the Operations & Customer Service track. In this session, she will teach about the types and importance of patient engagement and discuss opportunities for patient engagement. Attendees will learn about new revenue streams and how to contribute to improved outcomes by creating community networking opportunities and partnerships with other agencies and health care professionals to circle around your community.

Cheryl is a registered respiratory therapist and a health care business consultant with more than 25 years’ experience in the health care industry. After several years in home care, Cheryl became an accreditation surveyor and an independent consultant specializing in business analysis and operations with a focus on new business development with home care agencies, DME companies, pharmacies, long-term care facilities, and physician groups.

Dr. Mark Schmeler

Dr. Mark Schmeler

We are also pleased, as always, to welcome back many of our industry’s top experts to share their knowledge with VGM members. Dr. Mark Schmeler is no stranger to the Heartland Conference and will be presenting two sessions in June:

  • Analyses and Future Iterations of the Functional Mobility Assessment (FMA) and Uniform Dataset (UDS) Outcomes Project – During this session Mark will present updated developments in the Functional Mobility Assessment (FMA) project along with the development of an accompanied Uniform Data Set (UDS). He will discuss the additional versions of FMA, including family-centered version, orthotics and prosthetics version, and Spanish version
  • Performance Standards for Selecting Wheelchair Technology – The University of Pittsburgh is developing, evaluating, and implementing performance standards for cushion tissue integrity management, cushion durability, wheelchair durability, and wheelchair propulsion efficiency. During this presentation, Mark will describe the benefits to clinicians and consumers of the approach and how rehabilitation services are enhanced by utilizing performance measures to match appropriate and quality products to user needs.

Mark is an assistant professor, Graduate Faculty, and director of the Continuing Education Program in the Department of Rehabilitation Science & Technology at the University of Pittsburgh. He is also the course director for the International Seating Symposium hosted in the USA.