In 2021, Courtney joined CBL as a Senior Consultant, focusing on her specialty, healthcare issues advocacy and crisis management. She works with our range of healthcare industry clients, from hospital systems to long-term care organizations, advising them on how to navigate the regulatory arenas in Springfield and Chicago. To celebrate her 1-year anniversary with the team, we took a few minutes to look back on her experience and share a little bit about her breadth of expertise in the industry.
How did you become so knowledgeable about the healthcare industry?
Before I joined CBL, I was the Administrator for the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board (HFSRB) for nearly 15 years. The Board is an independent 11-member commission appointed by the Governor of Illinois. Its overall mission is to develop a comprehensive health care delivery system that assures availability of quality facilities, health care services and medical equipment, and address issues of community health care needs, health care accessibility and system financing.
As the Administrator, I oversaw the implementation of the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Act, which gives the Board the legal authority to issue permits for construction or modification projects proposed by providers or changes of ownership. The Board also gets involved in healthcare facilities’ acquisition of major medical equipment, so it gets involved in a whole range of issues confronting the industry.
I had always wanted to get involved in healthcare administration, so it was a bit of a dream job for me and allowed me to gain extensive knowledge and insights about local, state and federal regulations around the industry, and I got to advise a whole range of providers, from acute care hospitals and long-term care facilities, to ambulatory surgical treatment centers, dialysis centers and birthing centers.
Do you have any favorite projects or issues you worked on?
The pandemic forced healthcare facilities to rethink service delivery and revenue streams. Facilities were adjusting the bed inventories to allow for adherence to safety protocols. They put elective and non-life-threatening surgical procedures on hold. I saw up close how providers worked day and night to mitigate disruptions to care, and the HFSRB team received an unprecedented number of emails, calls and public inquires on how and where to seek medical attention, where to purchase disinfection, resources for PPE, concerns about long-term care residents and, most of all, technical assistance regarding compliance with the Governor’s Executive Orders.
In short order, our staff created a process to respond to all the inquiries and media responses. We began to track bed changes in real-time and keep the public informed about facility status and inform the industry of changes in Executive Orders and local ordinances. All the while, not a single HFSRB meeting was canceled – the train did not stop running!
What drew you to public affairs consulting when you left state government?
I am a problem solver! And ultimately, that’s what Culloton + Bauer Luce really does for all its clients. We dive into crisis scenarios. We help our clients navigate controversies, and we advocate on their behalf to make a change in policy or regulation, whether it’s before the state or city or even in Washington.
It’s a change from my previous roles, for sure, but I was excited to have a fresh start and make a change in my professional vantage point and find a new way to express my creative abilities. I’ve learned a lot in Year 1!
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about handling a crisis issue?
You need to act fast – and quickly grasp the situation at hand, the facts, the knowns and, equally important, the unknowns. And then you need to be flexible and adaptable to an ever changing set of circumstances.
When you’re not advising healthcare providers, what do you do in your “spare” time?
I’m on the Board of Directors for the Institute of Medicine of Chicago. It’s a nonprofit organization focused on addressing systemic challenges in equitable access to quality care, which is a true passion of mine. I’m also on the board for the Hektoen Institute of Medicine, which is another that administers grant awards for community organizations and institutions working to improve care but with a special focus on issues of domestic violence, substance abuse and mental health. Obviously, healthcare is my passion!