Leadership Highlight: Carly Kenney

Submitted by Asa Gardine, Sunstone Therapy Resource – Utah
Carly Kenney began with our facility when she wasn’t actually intending to. She came to Coral Desert Rehab for a job interview to be a rehab tech. She didn’t realize that we shared a parking lot with a competitor outpatient therapy company where she had the actual appointment. As the rehab director at the time, I was looking for a rehab tech anyway, so I went ahead with the interview and offered her the job on the spot, and she accepted. We’re all so blessed that she did!

After spending a few years making our Therapy department shine by taking on every kind of responsibility we could throw at her, Carly saw an opportunity for growth within Coral Desert in the admissions and case management department. As much as we missed her influence in therapy when she left, Carly made an immediate positive impact with our admissions team and made great relationships with her hospital contacts and insurance case manager contacts. After completely owning her job responsibilities and even more duties, beyond that she saw another opportunity for growth within our Sunstone Market. She is now officially the Managed Care Part B Authorization Resource and is using her skills to support many buildings. It has been remarkable to watch someone share their talents with our organization and affect so many lives of staff and patients. It will be exciting to see what more she is capable of as she grows and progresses.

CTO Recognition: Todd Burgener, PT, DPT, CBIS, CTO/DOR Paramount Health & Rehabilitation, Salt Lake City, UT

Submitted by Gary McGiven, Therapy Resource, Milestone, Utah

Todd (pictured left with Gary McGiven) has done amazing things as the Therapy leader at Paramount in Salt Lake City. He has grown a team from all PRN employees to a full PT, OT, and SLP staff with an ADC ranging from 45-60. Todd and his team have set the bar in our market for what is possible with long-term care. They have gone from a sub-$5 PNSD to $40+ PNSD. They have some of the happiest residents you will ever see and have some amazing rehab stories. They have also partnered with Nursing and Rec Therapy, providing amazing groups in a time where the socialization that groups bring has been vital to quality of life.

CTO Recognition: Michael Ong, PT, DOR, Legacy Rehabilitation and Living, Keystone West

Submitted by Jon Anderson, DPT, Senior Therapy Resource, Keystone, Texas

When Michael Ong began his studies in the Philippines, he set out on a course to be a surgeon. As he continued his studies and began his internship, he realized that he wanted to provide more hands-on care. He discovered a passion for exercise and patient progression, which he sees as the backbone of physical therapy. Michael started his career in the United States in Florida as a physical therapist. He established core skills and a love for his profession and his patients.


After 11 years in Florida, his job as a travel therapist took him to a position in Amarillo, Texas. Even though he was originally scheduled to be there for only three months, he decided to become a permanent member of the team and took a full-time position under then DOR, Marisa Parker. When Marisa became the executive director of the facility, Michael stepped into the DOR role in September 2019. Hesitant at first, he grew into a true leader. The facility program had already been successful and expectations were high. Michael stepped up to the challenge, seeking out ways to learn everything he could about leading his team. He has been a trailblazer in long-term care programming and frequently leads Keystone West and the top one-third in all Keystone therapy metrics, all while finding new and creative ways to improve patient outcomes.


Michael has worked tirelessly to improve relationships in the Amarillo community and continues to lead the West market in outpatient development. He displays true ownership, leading in the important metric of DOR productivity while continuously providing teachings and trainings to members of his department and their clinical partners. Michael is certified as a wound care specialist, LSVT BIG, Clinical Instructor, and is credentialed in the cutting-edge incontinence program of PTNM. He utilizes all these skills to improve outcomes and develop future leaders on his team. He has embodied CAPLICO in his own facility as well as with our newest West market acquisition, The Medical Lodge of Amarillo, assisting with training and development with the Therapy team. Michael continues to grow and evolve, joining IDT committees to better Keystone, and we are so proud to honor Michael, recognizing him as Chief Therapy Officer! Congratulations, Michael!

CTO Recognition: Katie Kellagher, SLP, DOR, Legend NW Houston, Keystone East

Submitted by Jon Anderson, DPT, Senior Therapy Resource, Keystone, Texas

Soon after graduating from Texas Tech University, Katie started working at one of our Legend Healthcare locations, and shortly after that, Katie stepped into the role of ADOR. Although she was initially hesitant to take the next step into a leadership role, in 2019 the nudging paid off and Katie transitioned into the role as DOR at Legend Oaks Northwest Houston.

Katie is incredibly humble and displays Level 5 leadership qualities; for example, if you give her praise, she will shyly say thank you and credit the success to her team. The demographic of her facility is primarily made up of long-term care residents. Katie quickly realized and embraced the need for creating a therapeutic environment for those residents, building solid relationships with orthotic and wheelchair vendors, and increased her proficiency in understanding PASRR and how valuable access to therapy services can be for that resident population.

Katie has introduced clinical specialty programs in each therapy discipline and has supported the advanced clinical training for members of her Therapy team. Her OT is LSVT Big certified, her PT is trained to perform Percutaneous Tibial Neuromodulation (for urinary incontinence management), and her SLP is trained in the McNeil Dysphagia therapy program (individualized treatment program for patients with dementia). This is only a small share of the clinical program offerings in her facility.

Another area worth mentioning is Katie’s urgency to not allow her team or facility to fall behind the curve. Katie offers outpatient therapy services in-house or at the patient’s home to those in need. She also extends her support to her cluster partners and beyond, playing a vital role in the therapy market initiative about the Power of the Cluster and how to carry out the model. Katie believes and understands the need to grow others around her; this is evident by her invested development of her current ADOR. Katie is also a PDPM champion and serves on the Keystone PDPM committee. Katie’s joy of serving and her passion for leading makes it truly apparent as to why the honor of Chief Therapy Officer is deserved! Congratulations, Katie, and welcome to the club!

CTO Recognition: April Trammell, SLP, DOR, Beacon Harbor, Keystone North

Submitted by Jon Anderson, DPT, Senior Therapy Resource, Keystone, Texas

April Trammell, SLP, DOR, Beacon Harbor, Keystone North
April Trammell transitioned into the Beacon Harbor family with the acquisition in December 2019, leaving her with only three months of “normalcy” to learn our culture and core values before the pandemic started and our health care world completely changed. April took advantage of every moment of those three months, and she was a sponge, soaking up everything she could learn and asking for more. She showed true ownership from day one, asking questions, starting programs, and striving to make the Beacon Harbor Therapy team the best it could be. She embraced their CAPLICO culture and began doing things with and for her staff to illustrate Customer Second and Celebration.


April has been instrumental in Beacon Harbor’s growth to a preferred facility in the area, through programming and putting the facility’s needs before her own. She and her daughter donated their personal bunnies to the facility to help spread some joy during isolation; she has put on other disciplines’ hats when needed to, never saying “That’s not my job,” but instead jumping in ready and willing to help. Any LTC, skilled or outpatient program that has been introduced, April is always one of the first in the North market to try it and share her wins with everyone! One of the amazing things about April is she does not stay in her silo in the facility. She loves to share her ideas with others, to help them experience the same success. During OT week, she shared the positivity flower garden they made, she has consistently shared her group ideas with all of Keystone, and she has presented at DOR meetings on drumming groups and success with interdepartmental communication and culture in the facility. April has assisted with training the staff and DOR at a new acquisition; she identified a need in her cluster and offered a Speech boot camp for anyone who was interested.

In addition to being a culture warrior, April has been instrumental in the financial success at the facility as well. Their long-term care programming is in the top 5 of the market. April manages her costs by maintaining a high therapy productivity, taking advantage of the appropriate use of efficiencies such as group and concurrent, and managing overtime and any other expenses. She is always in the top third of every single therapy metric we measure and continues to ask if there’s anything she can do better, and our clinical outcomes and success stories reflect all of this. April is a true owner and has shown her facility and market what that looks like on a daily basis! Congratulations, April, on joining the elite CTO club!

Therapist Spotlight: Avenlea Gamble

Submitted by Julia Schmutz, PT, Therapy Resource, Northern California

There is something magical about Northern California, the landscape, the misty mornings and warm afternoons, the ageless redwoods, spectacular rugged coastline, the orderly rows of lush grapes and, of course, the people. This is a place that embodies hardiness and resilience. For the best wines, grapevines need a challenge. They love slate and sand and clay and rocky, precipitous hillsides to produce wines of character. In poor soil, the roots have to work harder, “ramifying” or branching out to gather nutrients. This increases to surface area of root to soil and regulates water absorption, and produces better grapes. The redwoods, too, show an amazing picture of resilience, burned out but still standing, majestic and wise. And so, the people who live here reflect the lessons of their environment. Avenlea Gamble is one of those people.

Avenlea is the DOR at Northbrook, a small facility in the northern town of Willits in Northern California. She grew up in this facility, where her mother is the administrator. She has worked there since she was 17 years old and specifically went to school and studied to be an SLP to fill the need in their community. She is one of the most resilient people I have ever had the joy to know. With each challenge she rises up to meet it with a smile and determination. She is unassuming and sees herself as just doing what anyone else would. But ask yourself: Would you be willing to run the kitchen if you didn’t have staffing? Would you step up and cook dinner for your residents twice a week if the need arose? Would you cover for admissions if someone quit?

Besides the challenges of the COVID pandemic, Avenlea has been faced with a multitude of ongoing trials, all of which she has met with grace. She puts it down to her team and facility community who she sees as family. These are deep roots, spread out and well-grounded like the grapes that surround them. Her commitment to serve this small community is unwavering and remarkable. Her foundation is strong and immovable as the redwoods and is built on relationships.

Avenlea is the personification of Herzberg’s theory that for a job to be meaningful, there has to be passion, challenging work, responsivity, personal growth, recognition and meaningful contribution. Hers is a life well-spent from which I am learning much and hope to learn more as I get the privilege of continuing to journey by her side.

Clinical Spotlight: Love My Clinical Partners

By Brooke Stanley OTR/L, DOR, The Terrace at Mt. Ogden/Mt. Ogden Health and Rehab

A partnership is a valuable tool that leads to great success but must be planted, nurtured and maintained to grow. It is vital to any successful organization, building or department. It is giving selflessly. It is serving your partner. It is respecting one another.

I have the great blessing to work with two incredible women, moms, wives, who happen to be the best DONs and clinical partners, Channdra Dabling, the DON at Mt. Ogden Health and Rehab, and Jessica Hawkins, the DON at The Terrace at Mt. Ogden. They are the most selfless, loving women who lead by example. They both care about our staff and residents, as it shows in their quiet actions, not just words. They are humble. They both are not afraid to accept help when asked and ask for help when they need it. They truly lead out of love!

“Great leaders may be found at the top of a mountain looking back upon their challenges, but the greatest leaders are often found at the foot of that mountain still helping others reach that summit.” —Robert Clancy

Jessica is one of those leaders. She steps up, helps quietly, and leads by working side by side. She asks for opportunities to problem-solve difficult patients or situations and values the input from other partners in the building. Most importantly, she leads out with love. If you haven’t had a Jessica hug, you’re missing out!

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou

Channdra is a master of making you feel loved. She is often found in patient rooms, talking with them, getting to know what is important to them. She takes time to truly know her staff. She is patient and kind to all those she comes in contact with. Channdra speaks kindly of difficult patients and families and strives to understand and not make judgements. She makes you feel valued because your concerns are heard. You feel that love anytime you speak with her.

I value the partnership I have with both of these amazing women. I could not lead effectively without them. I value their knowledge, leadership and friendship! They inspire me daily to LOVE and serve.

Celebrating Deanna Rodriguez, DON

Submitted by Kai Williams, Therapy Resource, Keystone East, TX
We love our nurses! They bring so much clinical strength and leadership to our market! We see them tirelessly tending to the needs of patients, providing updates to family members, providing oversight/guidance to their CNAs … the list goes on and on. We wanted to take the opportunity to introduce you to Deanna Rodriguez. Although her cape is invisible, she wears it with such grace and humility.

The clinical journey for Deanna did not happen overnight! She began as a LVN in 2002 and she received her RN in 2010. She found a passion in leadership and developing leaders and became a DON in 2012. She has built her experience throughout the year, and we are so privileged to have her on our team. She currently serves as the DON at the Courtyard. She came in with such a fun and energetic spirit and quickly implemented several clinical systems that have produced extremely positive results at the facility. When COVID entered the facility last year, she was such a rock and solid support to those that she encountered. What is most noticeable is that she extends her support beyond her facility. She is a familiar face in several of her cluster facilities. She takes the time to assist with other facilities’ EMPR, UDAs and Risk Management. She has become a true owner of this process and loves celebrating and empowering accountability.

Take a look at this picture below. Deanna was getting ready to head over to a sister facility to provide support, and her team just couldn’t bear to have her leave. It was a great shot that captured some of her Nursing team, having a little fun, holding her “hostage.”

Recently, Deanna voluntarily stepped up to take the interim DON position at one of her cluster facilities due to the departure of the previous DON. The facility needed clinical leadership, and she stepped up! She has been able to successfully take that facility through full book and a few state pop-up visits. With the support of her partners, she helped them to open their COVID unit, and they have safely accepted patients from other sister facilities as well as the hospital. Deanna has put such a wonderful level of investment into her ADON and nurse partners in her local facility that she is able to physically step away without any clinical disruption occurring. s
Thank you, Deanna, for all you continue to do!

Nhu De Vera, Clinical Systems Resource, Caught on WebEx Camera!

By Deb Bielek, Therapy Resource
It’s been an interesting year as we are all well aware. Because of a significant reduction in travel, in-person meetings have been greatly reduced, with the majority of our meetings being held through Webex, resulting in only one or two opportunities to hug this lady in the past 12 months. I am truly grateful for the virtual meetings where I can see her smiling face and spend time learning and growing from her clinical wisdom. I feel blessed to have an amazing clinical partner, COO Nhu DeVera.


The majority of our work together this year has centered on our Excellence in Programming & Interdisciplinary Care (EPIC) initiative and many additional side-projects, which have spiraled out of a focus on clinical quality initiatives. Not only does Nhu bring a field-driven brilliance and clinical wisdom to our projects, butu she is the definition of a true partner and service-based leader. I originally met Nhu in person in 2018 when Marivic Uychiat, Director of Clinical Services, asked her to join the Service Center team as the Clinical Systems Resource. We served on the Service Center IDT committee together. Nhu helped develop and provide the trainings to support the transitions to PDPM and the new CMS RoPs (Requirements of Participation), which rolled out in 2019. Prior to her current role, Nhu served as the clinical leader alongside Rich Jorgensen and Therapy leader Daisy Aranguren, DOR and Therapy Resource. Thank you for all that you do to make all of us better, Nhu. #Grateful #AmazingCLINCALpartner #NhuROCKS