District's Director of the School Health Program "Walks a Mile in the Shoes" of the Legal Department's Contracts Team
From left to right: Tetyana Hontar, Contracts Analyst; Jenny Track, Contracts Analyst; Beverly Ruocco, Contracts Analyst; Ginny Keller, RN, MBA, NCSN, Director of School Health Program.
The Contracts Team of the Legal Department
Profiled by Ginny Keller, , RN, MBA, NCSN,
Director of the School Health Program
One might think that after working for the Health Care District for the past 20 years, I would have had plenty of opportunities to meet everyone and learn about all of their roles within the organization. That couldn’t be farther from the truth! The District’s community footprint has grown significantly since the inception of the School Health program in 1997 and so has the number of employees that I’ve not met. Today I had the wonderful experience of decreasing that number by three when I spent the morning “walking in the shoes” of the Contracts staff in our Legal Department.
As I entered their work space on the fourth floor of the home office, I became immediately aware of how quiet the area was! No crowds, no noisy equipment, no distractions…just three very intensely dedicated, hard-working professionals concentrating on the work at hand. By the
time I left them, it was clearly evident why this environment was exactly what these contract analysts needed to accomplish the department’s tasks.
Jenny Trask, the team’s newest member, joined the District as a Contracts Analyst in December of 2016. Jenny’s paralegal training and experience managing contracts for a large firm are assets for a department that has seen its workload increase as quickly as our health care system has expanded. Each analyst or specialist is assigned to oversee specific departments’ contracts and Jenny supports School Health, the Pharmacy Program, and the C. L. Brumback Primary Care Clinics.
Jenny walked me through the multi-step process of initiating a typical contract, beginning with contact from the business units, all the way to full execution which can take approximately a month to complete. Much like other District departments, electronic records are standard and Contracts utilizes the Compliance 360 management system. Since the system doesn’t automatically create contracts, Jenny spends a great deal of time each day reviewing required documents, memos, and attachments for completeness, accuracy, and relevancy. I imagine by the time she gets home each evening, playing with her two dogs is a welcome change of pace!
Contracts Analyst Beverly Ruocco moved to Florida from Connecticut in 2014 and began working at Lakeside Medical Center in December as the Contracts Specialist and Executive Assistant to the Hospital Administrator. In addition to raising her three children, Beverly spent her early career in the corporate financial sector so the transition to LMC’s medical environment was as different to her as the new winter climate!
She helped manage the contracts while at the hospital full-time and now continues to perform these duties while based in our home office. She spends time at LMC twice each month and also manages all of the contracts for the Trauma Agency. In addition, Beverly serves as a member of the District’s Culture Committee.
The third member of this terrific trio who allowed me to interrupt her daily work flow was Contracts Analyst Tetyana Hontar. When she joined the District in June of 2015, she was the sole employee managing ALL of the District’s contracts! Her law degrees from the Ukraine and the University of Miami equipped her with an invaluable level of knowledge and the eye to discern the legal nuances within prospective contracts. Soon the volume of work exceeded expectations and the department grew. In Fiscal Year 2017, this amazing group brought 430 contracts to execution! Tetyana loves what she does each day and is pleased to be part of such a collaborative team! Researching and resolving issues to see contracts make progress towards completion are some of the job rewards she appreciates. During the day, Tetyana manages the contracts for the Healey Center, Aeromedical and the District’s administrative areas (IT, Finance, Purchasing, HR, Compliance, Facilities, and Communications) and in the evening, she embraces another challenging role of raising a teenage daughter! Having such a skilled, professional mother must make it difficult for her daughter to successfully negotiate many issues!
This team understands and respects the high level of detail, accuracy, and responsibility that is required when a governmental agency works with outside vendors. A best standard of practice to mitigate some of the risk is to have professionals like Jenny, Beverly, and Tetyana forming the safety net for each of our departments and, ultimately, for the entire District. They also work on a daily basis with our General Counsel, Valerie Shahriari, Esq. and Administrative Coordinator, Kelley Anderson.
Today’s successful walk with this team really opened my eyes to the complexity of the processes necessary for so many of us to ensure that all of our dealings are legal, sound, and appropriate. I appreciate the time it took for the team to speak to me and hope that everyone else now has a better picture of the responsibilities of the Contracts Department! On to the next Director!