Our Quality Assurance team at Independence Plus, Inc. (IPI) is vital to our success and our new Director of Process Improvement, Tom Tassone, MSW, is leading the charge to ensure we continue to deliver the highest quality of care to our patients. Danilo Coité MD, IPI’s CEO, said as the company continues to grow they are always looking for professionals who share their passion and patient-first mentality. “Adding someone with Tom’s vast experience to our QA team was very important as we move to bring our services to as many people as we can, while keeping our care at the best possible level,” he said. For the QA team, Tom is a positive addition to an already tight-knit group. “Tom is a very easy-going person and always has a positive attitude. On Mondays he will always say, ‘Are you ready for a great week?’ He sees the glass as half full, not half empty, and we are all thrilled to have him on board,” said Debra J. Rucci, RN, QA Manager. We recently sat down with Tom to discuss what brought him to IPI, what he will be doing in his new role, and where he gets his inspiration.
Q: Tell us a little about your background and what brought you to IPI.
A: I started out in healthcare more than 25 years ago, as a clinical social worker, therapist, and case manager working with children in the foster care system. Soon afterwards I moved into management roles in clinical operations and business development within national health systems involved in behavioral health, managed care, and accreditation.
My recent work with a national healthcare accrediting body, broadened my frame of reference within the quality and regulatory landscape of healthcare and allowed me to work side by side with state and federal regulators involved in the oversight of Commercial, Medicaid, and Medicare Advantage Health Plans. One aspect of this work allowed me the opportunity to submit written and live testimony to regulators, state insurance directors, and state legislators, to explain and educate how our standards met state and federal guidelines for quality, design, and the operational management of health plans.
Q: What does your job entail and what are you enjoying most about your new role so far?
A: As Director of Process Improvement here at IPI, I oversee our quality efforts, specifically as they relate to Quality Assurance, Quality Improvement, and Accreditation. This is a big deal because I know IPI sets the bar high to ensure the delivery of excellence in clinical quality care to our patients and families. It’s most enjoyable to see first-hand, the amount of pride, hard work, and dedication everyone contributes here to ensure we meet and exceed those quality standards.
One of my first priorities is to work with all departments to ensure a smooth transition into a new electronic health record system for our Home Nursing program. Our two other lines of business, Home Medical Equipment and Home Health, have both successfully integrated into new systems. The most gratifying part of this particular initiative is being able to see how much more efficient and effective the company will be once we move this final program over to an electronic health record.
Q: What was your first impression of IPI?
A: Positivity and working hard is part of the personality and culture of the company. I believe that comes from serving patients and families that require the type of medically complex care we deliver. It’s also clear that the company management leads by example in setting this tone.
Q: Who inspires you?
A: My children and the young people of today. There’s so much more going on in society today that could threaten, jeopardize, or otherwise side track future generations. They inspire me to do better, stay positive, and to root for their success every day.
Q: What are you most proud of?
A: In my 25 plus years in health care, I’ve worked hard and have been part of hard-working teams, to be successful and deliver for the company, customers, and patients alike. I am most proud of the lasting and meaningful relationships I’ve made over the years with all the individuals that have been part of the equation. I am extremely grateful to have met and kept in contact with some amazing individuals.
Q: What is the one thing about yourself that you think people would be surprised to know?
A: Soon after getting married, my wife and I became foster parents to a child I worked with when I was a child care worker at a residential treatment center. He stayed with us for a few years but later moved on to another foster home in order to live with his older brother.
Q: What words do you live by?
A: As individuals we cast votes everyday based on the choices we make about our behavior, our beliefs, and how we treat others.
Q: What volunteer efforts do you support?
A: I began volunteering for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital back in 1995 to help coordinate the Annual Chicago to Peoria St. Jude Run, and haven’t missed a run since we started it. I’ve been fortunate to visit the hospital on many occasions and have made some amazing friendships with other volunteers, staff, patients and their families. After knowing many of these people for the past 20 plus years, I consider many of them family.