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2018 AAOE Awards of Excellence Winners
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2018 AAOE Awards of Excellence Winners

To recognize those who have gone above and beyond, AAOE created the annual Awards of Excellence program. The Awards of Excellence are presented to deserving individuals and practices that embody the best in our industry. 

Selected through a nomination and peer review process, the 2018 award winners were announced during the AAOE 2018 Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida, April 14-17.

Congratulations to our award winners, as featured in Becker's Spine Review.


Innovation Award - Ortho NorthEast

The Innovation Award recognize an individual, orthopaedic or subspecialty practice, or a hospital department that has developed an innovative solution to improve delivery of care, patient satisfaction, or physician/employee satisfaction, and can be replicated to benefit the entire orthopaedic community.

The winner of the 2018 Innovation Award is Ortho NorthEast (ONE). Facing long patient wait times, missed authorizations, and inefficient staffing, ONE utilized Crystal Reports, SQL, SSRS, custom webpages, and email alerts. Doing so helped them automate processes, reduce clicks, staff errors, and keep managers informed. To get front desk staff the information they needed from multiple systems, ONE created an interactive single display combining the multiple rules and screens of information needed to process patients in a timely manner. 


Practice Executive of the Year - John Polikandriotis, PhD, MBA, MPH, Vail Summit Orthopaedics

Practice Executive of the Year was awarded to a member who, as the lead staff person or executive, has consistently gone above and beyond at his or practice. The award is granted based on the recipient’s ability to motivate others, stimulate positive activity, and serve as a catalyst for exceptional results.

This year’s winner is John Polikandriotis, PhD, MBA, MPH, CEO, Vail Summit Orthopaedics. He was nominated for his “true servant-leadership style combined with his positivity, integrity, ability to tap into other’s strengths, and commitment to putting the betterment of his employees ahead of his won career.” In 2017, Polikandriotis implemented a new EMR, recruited and onboarded the valley’s first neurosurgeon, restructured the physician compensation plan, restructured numerous departments, and developed employee engagement programs.


Practice Professional of the Year - Daniel Shumate, Campbell Clinic Orthopaedics

Practice Professional of the Year recognizes an AAOE member who is employed in a full-time position as a staff member of a practice or organization. This person is dedicated to the mission and vision of the practice or organization and has made significant contributions.

The 2017 Practice Professional of the Year is Daniel Shumate, CFO, Campbell Clinic Orthopaedics. Under Shumate’s leadership in 2017, “Campbell Clinic had its best financial year in its 108-year history,” said Shumate’s nominator.  “Daniel's involvement and guidance in risk-sharing initiatives, such as the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement and outpatient total joint contracts, has helped to realize better patient outcomes and a reduction of overall health care service expenditures.” His nominator also noted his ability to help his employees build on their strengths and learn ways to overcome weaknesses.


Rising Star of the Year - Olivia Wolf, CPC, Alaska Hand Elbow Shoulder

Rising Star is awarded to an AAOE member who is newer to orthopaedic practice management but has shown significant contributions to the practice or organization and has demonstrated a dedication to the mission and vision of his or her employers.

This year's Rising Star is Olivia Wolf, CPC, Administrator, Alaska Hand Elbow Shoulder. Her nominator said she is "truly a rising star. Her teaching personality style is unique in a field where we need to be more transparent, more empathetic, and make decisions on special circumstances and data."


Volunteer of the Year - Jim Kidd, CMPE, Advanced Bone & Joint

Volunteer of the Year recognizes an AAOE member who has made exceptional contributions in a voluntary capacity to support the organization’s goals.

The 2018 Volunteer of the Year is Jim Kidd, CMPE, CEO, Advanced Bone & Joint. Kidd’s nominator said he is “actively engaged and participates in al communications and follows through with assignments” in his volunteer roles. Kidd was recognized for the support he has provided to the committee chair and his ability to lead committee members to participate by example. 


Collaborate Champion - Joseph Mathews, PT, DPT, Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine

AAOE Collaborate is an online community for members to communicate directly with peers to share experience and information. The Collaborate Champion is awarded to a member who has consistently contributed with valuable information that is positive, knowledgeable, and benefits other members while supporting the AAOE mission and values.

This year’s Collaborate Champion is Joseph Mathews, PT, DPT, Practice Administrator, Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine.  Mathews was recognized for his role in helping peers when AAOE transitioned from a listserv to the new Collaborate online community platform in August 2017. His nominator said, “You can always count on him to weigh in on a topic of conversation and to provide valuable insight.”


Lifetime Achievement Award – Patricia Brewster, MHA, FACMPE, Intrahealth Group/OrthoAtlanta

The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented each year to an AAOE members who has dedicated significant time and energy to the association. This year’s recipient is Patricia Brewster, MHA, FACMPE, CEO Emeritus, Intrahealth Group/OrthoAtlanta

Brewster’s nominator recognized her for holding “progressive executive leadership roles in the healthcare industry and has led some of the most respected and successful orthopedics groups in Atlanta.”

In 2002, Brewster founded Southern Orthopaedic Specialists, which re-branded as OrthoAtlanta in 2012. 

Brewster is CEO for both OrthoAtlanta and IntraHealth Group, a healthcare management company. Today, OrthoAtlanta is recognized as the second-largest physician-owned orthopaedic and sports medicine practice in the greater Atlanta area with 39 physicians and more than 450 employees in 13 offices.

Brewster has also been a key member with AAOE and has been “instrumental in driving policy change and the positive growth of the orthopaedic practice scope throughout the years.”


President’s Award – Debra Mitchell, RN, BSN, MBA, Children’s Orthopaedic & Scoliosis Surgery Associates LLP

The President’s Award is presented to an AAOE member who has provided exceptional support to the President in the execution of his or her duties. The recipient is chosen at the sole discretion of the President. This year’s recipient is Debra Mitchell, RN, BSN, MBA, Administrator, Children’s Orthopaedic & Scoliosis Surgery Associates LLP.

“Debra is generous with her time and resources and has helped many [AAOE members] countless times throughout the years,” says AAOE Past President Ron Chorzewski, MBA, PT, Plymouth Bay Orthopaedics Associates, Inc. in Duxbury, MA. “When I am in a pinch, I give her a call and I am always moved by her willingness to help for the sake of helping. This type of generosity of time and spirit are what differentiates our professional organization from others throughout the country.”


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