Sheila K. Kee, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, above, and Judy Krupa, Emergency Department Care Transitions Manager, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, below, address Partnership Project follow up participants.
By Courtney McDermott

On June 14, Sheila Kee, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, spearheaded the launch of the “Niagara Community Partnership Project”.

The day-long conference was organized to improve the level of care coordination between health care providers and community agencies. It was attended by 60 community organizations, and featured a keynote presentation by Paul Hogan, Executive Vice President, John R. Oishei Foundation. (The Oishei Foundation is a catalyst for change to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life for the Buffalo Niagara region through grantmaking, leadership and network building.)

Following Paul Hogan’s insightful remarks, Sheila Kee candidly addressed “Why We Need a Coalition of the Willing…” to improve healthcare in greater Niagara Falls.

(See Sheila’s presentation on the Millennium YouTube channel here:

Judy Krupa working with the “Standardized Care Plan” group.

Following the presentations, the Conference featured small group breakout sessions facilitated by Millennium team members Tammy Fox, Director of Project Management, and Saralin Tiedeman, MS, OTR/L, Post-Acute Care Manager, along with members of the NFMMC staff.

“The conference addressed the need to change how we deliver care and services to those who are most vulnerable in an evolving area of federal and state healthcare reform,” explained Sheila Kee.

“We openly discussed strategies for sending and receiving referrals on behalf of a client in need, updating client progress, supporting client education and engaged in effectively coordinating care and services,” she added.

‘Coalition of Willing’ Responds; Forms New ‘Connect 4 U’

Approximately one month later, 45 community organization representatives returned for a follow-up Partnership Project meeting held July 18 at NFMMC.

Under the new banner of “Connect 4 U”, the meeting attendees organized into three groups and took on assignments to develop:

  1. A standardized care plan.
  2. Standardized referral process between agencies.
  3. More community education on what care coordination is.

In addition, Millennium Collaborative Care team members have joined these groups to participate in the collaborative community process and provide assistance in each of their assigned areas as follows:

  • Sandy McDougal, Project Manager — Care Plan Development
  • Andrea Wanat, Director of Behavioral Health — Standardized Referral Process


  • Ebony Patterson-White, Community Health Worker Coordinator — Education to Define “Care Coordination”.

Kevin Burgress, Chair of the “Community Education on What Care Coordination is” addresses his work group.

“The purpose of our new ‘Connect 4 U’ organization is to create a sustainable organization of community partners that can oversee recommended care coordination and care transition innovations,” explained Sheila Kee. “The group will continue to work on ways to improve the delivery of services to the Niagara community.”

Co-Chairs Carey Shanley and Alicia Liable-Kenyon facilitate the respective teams working on  “Standardized Referral Process and Care Plan” .









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