Select Team Members
Principal and Managing Partner: Laura J. Aguiar, B.S.
Ms. Aguiar has worked in transplant since 1993 and has previously held the positions of Transplant Financial Coordinator, Financial Administrator, Operations Manager, and Compliance Coordinator for Massachusetts General Hospital , Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Boston), and Mayo Clinic Arizona . She is a founder of, and served two terms as President, of the Transplant Financial Coordinators Association. She has also served as Regional Representative to the UNOS/OPTN Transplant Administrators, Communications, and Finance Committees as well as having been asked to join the Advisory Council for the National Living Donor Assistance Center in 2008.
Ms. Aguiar’s consulting career began when Bill Vaughan asked her to join Health Systems Concepts in 2008. In 2012 Mr. Vaughan merged HSC with Guidry & East and brought both Ms. Aguiar and Ms. Wolfe with him. During her tenure with HSC, and then G&E, she has helped to establish 4 new transplant hospitals as well as worked with a number of programs to ensure their compliance with the CMS Conditions of Participation and improve their financial and operational process’ to ensure long-term viability.
Principal: Caroline M. Wolfe, RN BSN
Like many people in the transplant world, Ms. Wolfe's entry into transplantation was accidental, though in her case, a real accident-a skiing accident, to be precise. Unable to provide bedside care for patients while in a full-leg cast, she ended up taking care of dialysis patients at the Medical College of Ohio, now known as the University of Toledo Medical Center, which could be done while seated on a stool. This, in turn, led her to the very early days of the kidney transplant program at MCO-she was a Transplant Coordinator literally before there was such a position at MCO! She would ultimately end up as the Senior Transplant Coordinator for the program until her retirement in 1997. While at the MCO transplant program, she obtained certification as both a Transplant Coordinator (CCTC) and Nephrology Nurse (CNN).
She started working with Bill Vaughan, and the late Roy Crystal, at Health Systems Concepts on a part-time basis in 1987 and has continued on a part-time to full-time basis ever since. Like Ms. Aguiar, when Mr. Vaughan merged HSC with Guidry & East, he brought Ms. Wolfe along with him. There are few in the transplant community who can claim 25 years of transplant center experience and 30 years of consulting experience.
Principal: William P. Vaughan
Bill Vaughan is a nationally recognized expert within the transplant community in the areas of transplant finance, operations, compliance, and especially the Medicare Cost Report for both transplant hospitals and tissue typing labs.
Bill started 'playing' with Medicare, as he likes to say, when he was employed by the Aetna Life Insurance Company, a Medicare Fiscal Intermediary in Hartford Connecticut, starting in 1976. During his 11 years with them, he served as an administrator of a Medicare Part A field office and of the Medicare End-Stage Renal Disease Reimbursement Program with a focus on the tissue-typing laboratories and independent organ procurement agencies.
In addition, Bill was Vice President of Reimbursement at LifeLink Foundation, Inc., Tampa from 1985 to 1990. After that, Bill led Health Systems Concepts as Founder and Principal, from 1986 - 2012, and was most recently the Chief Operating Officer of Guidry & East.
Senior Consultant: Christine Palms, RN MS
Christine Palms possesses over 20 years of experience in healthcare and has a wealth of knowledge in transplant administration, organ donation, strategic marketing, regulatory compliance, quality improvement and workflow analysis. She is a registered nurse with a background in Biology, Healthcare Administration and Community Health. She has held positions in transplant at The University Hospital, Mount Sinai Medical Center, Hackensack University Medical Center and Northwell Health. She has had the pleasure of working as a liaison for The Sharing Network of NJ and LiveOn NY where she collaborated with a team of professionals to help raise awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation. Christine has also worked as federal contract surveyor for CMS to assess transplant programs' compliance with the Transplant Conditions of Participation. Christine has worked as a clinical workflow analyst for OTTR Chronic CareSolutions and has extensive experience in assisting programs optimize the utilization and integration of transplant databases into their daily workflow. Christine has also worked with both the EPIC Phoenix and EDIT transplant modules, including the implementation and workflow build processes. Christine is passionate about healthcare and has always been committed to providing patients and their families exceptional care. She has made a commitment to dedicate her time to continual performance improvement which always leads to better patient outcomes.
Senior Consultant: Kristy Edwards, RN, CCTC
Ms. Edwards has been a nurse since 1990 and held various nursing positions in acute care, long term care, and home health care settings before finding her niche in the transplant world in 1997. She first worked as a kidney transplant coordinator for Tulane Medical Center before moving into a transplant quality position for the Tulane Abdominal Transplant Institute. Starting in 2007 she was also one of the first contract surveyors with Healthcare Management Solutions, LLC responsible for assessing transplant center compliance with the then new CMS Transplant Conditions of Participation.
In 2007 she started Transplant Express (now All Call Nursing) which helps transplant centers manage its organ placement process as well as take off-hours patient calls, thereby alleviating the need for the transplant center staff to take call. She and her staff currently manage call for 13 transplant centers nationally, averaging 30 organ placements per week.
As if all of this weren't enough, Ms. Edwards is also Major Edwards in the Air Force Reserve since 1995 where she has held various Officer in Charge (OIC) positions, Flight Commander and Chief Nurse of the 926 MDS Nursing Service. As proud as she is of her own service, she is prouder of her three children who are also actively serving in the US military.
She holds a BSN in Nursing, a BSN in Business/Administration, and a Masters in Education (Lower Elementary).
Senior Consultant: Kimberly Rallis, BS, MHA
Kim Rallis, BS, MHA is the Vice President, Transplant Operations for Tampa General Hospital in Tampa, Florida. Starting at the New Jersey Organ Tissue Sharing Network, Kim has 20 + years working in the transplant industry and possesses a strong business, operational and financial background in transplant. She joined Penn State/Hershey Medical Center in 2011 overseeing Liver, Kidney and Pancreas transplants before moving to TGH in 2018. During her extensive career, she has lead both large and small volume programs, oversee transplant HLA laboratory, transplant physician practices and worked at an OPO.
Kim spent 5 years working as a Transplant Financial Coordinator as well as serving on the Board of Directors for the Transplant Financial Coordinators Association. She, too, has trained new TFC’s in her Transplant Administrator role and continues to participate on the TFC listserv.
Her current volunteer work includes Board Member of the Kidney Foundation of Central Pennsylvania and Region 2 representative to the OPTN/UNOS Transplant Administrators Committee. Kim is a very active advocate for organ and tissue donation. She regularly speaks both locally and nationally on various transplant related issues.
Senior Consultant: Susan Stoops Watson, LCSW, MPA, MSHA, CCM
Ms. Watson started her career as a Masters prepared social worker in dialysis and transplant in 1979. She continued her education and received a Masters degree in Personnel and Labor and a Masters degree in Hospital Administration. She became a transplant financial coordinator at Indiana University Health in 1999. In 2002 she was promoted to Program Manager of Transplant Operations with responsibilities for the social work team, financial coordinators and financial counselors. She had the opportunity to work as a federal surveyor for HCMS focusing on social work and living donor advocate functions from 2007-2010. She retired from IU Health in September of 2014 and works as an independent contractor for hospitals and pharmaceutical companies.
Transplant Surgical Consultant: Dicken S.C. Ko, BSc, MD, FRCSC, FACS
Dicken S. C. Ko, BSc, MD, FRCSC, FACS is currently Chief Medical Officer/Vice-President of Medical Affairs at St. Elizabeth's Medical Center, Steward Health Care in Boston. He is an established leader in health care who was most recently at Massachusetts General Hospital where he was Associate Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and Director of Regional Urology. During his tenure at MGH Dr. Ko was overseeing affiliates sites, integrating clinical practices, sharing academic and community practices, developing lean practice programs and exploring regional growth opportunities.
Dr. Ko began his career at at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1995, after having completed his Transplant Surgical Fellowship training under world-renowned transplant pioneer, A. Benedict Cosimi, MD. As a multi-organ transplant surgeon in the Departments of Surgery, Urology and Pediatric Surgery he performed more than 800 kidney transplants, 200 liver transplants, 30 pancreas transplants, and more than 200 living donor nephrectomies. As the Surgical Director of the Adult and Pediatric Renal Transplant Program at MGH, he oversaw the growth and quality outcomes of the kidney transplant program for eight years and led the group to a consistently top rank in the United States for clinical excellence. In 2015, Dr. Ko was awarded the inaugural W. Scott McDougal Prize for Teaching and Mentoring in the Department of Urology.
Dr. Ko was instrumental in identifying, coordinating, and facilitating new areas of unmet needs in urology. Dr. Ko is a pioneering surgeon who is a co-leader of the team that performed the first successful genitourinary vascularized composite allograft (penile) transplant in the USA. His groundbreaking innovation has been featured in the New York Times, Time Magazine, CNN, and over many media outlets worldwide.
Dr. Ko has been involved with four start-up companies, two of which were acquired by Olympus and Fresenius. His clinical experience with medical innovations made him a sought-after consultant, in particular, with start-ups that are based on new and innovative therapies. He is a member of Investors Collaborative, a Boston-headquartered company that provides world-class strategic, value-added expertise, and equity capital to select early-stage businesses in very diverse sectors.
Dr. Ko earned a Bachelor’s in Physiology/Biology from the University of British Columbia, a medical degree from Queen’s University, and received training in hospital leadership from Massachusetts General Hospital. He completed his residency in Urology at the University of British Columbia and fellowship in transplantation at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. Dr. Ko has served on national committees and boards including the UNOS Kidney and Pancreas Committee and had served on Harvard Medical School committees as well as American Board of Urology where he is an examiner. His scholarly activities focus on tolerance models of transplantation, urologic outcomes research, and economics of transplantation. Dr. Ko has over 75 publications in peer-reviewed journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of Urology, Transplantation, and American Journal of Transplantation. He was the 28th President of the Urological Society for Transplantation and Renal Surgery. He has the distinction of being one of only two multi-organ transplant specialists also Board Certified in Urology in the United States.
Dr. Ko has lectured extensively internationally with many recent invitations to Canada, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Korea, India, Singapore, and Malaysia. He is a member of many professional societies and has participated in United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) committees that deal with organ allocation. Dr. Ko was the 28th President of the Urologic Society for Transplantation and Renal Surgery in 2012.
Dr. Ko's complete CV is available upon request.
During the course of their combined professional and consulting careers, the staff at Transplant Solutions, LLC have worked with more than 150 transplant hospitals, tissue typing labs, and OPOs in the country, assisting with new program development, financial and clinical operations reviews, Medicare Cost Report preparation, new staff orientation, and Systems Improvement Agreement (SIA) fulfillment. This gives them a perspective nearly unmatched in the transplant community today.
Transplant Solutions, LLC was started in order to better meet the needs of those clients who want more personal attention and support than other consulting firms are able to provide. And, since our overhead is low, we are able to pass those savings on to our clients.
Transplant Solutions, LLC has a multi-disciplinary team of transplant professionals ready to meet your needs.
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