2021 Trust Builder Award Winners

Healthcare leaders continue propelling the industry forward in 2021.

The healthcare industry has never been at the forefront of current events like we have seen in the past eighteen months. 2021 has continued to be a time of unseen challenges that face our healthcare workers. During this time, healthcare leaders have stepped up to ensure their teams are able to perform through difficult times while maintaining a positive attitude and empathy for what is happening around them. This year our Trust Builder nominees and winners are the best in the industry and we are proud of their accomplishments. We look forward to what 2022 has to offer.

Pat Leonard

CEO, CorroHealth

Trust Builder Award Winner

Deborah Milke-Wurster


Northwestern Medicine

Trust Builder award winner, Deborah Milke-Wurster, was nominated by Debra Czink, Director, Hospital Coding at Northwestern Medicine.

Why does the nominee deserve consideration for a Trust Builder Award?

Deborah manages the Operational Performance division of hospital coding for 11 hospitals within the health system of Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. As such, Deb collaborates with hospital managers throughout the revenue cycle in addition to managing our vendor relationships. Deb works diligently in meeting our goals and facilitates business relationships to ensure success. Relationships with Revenue Integrity, Clinical departments, Patient Financial Services, Finance, Health Information, Clinical Documentation among many other departments are fostered, securing confidence in our trust and commitment to the health system.

What are the nominee’s past affiliations and achievements that may tie to award consideration?

Deborah is an active member of AHIMA and is a past member of ACDIS.

Specific examples of how the nominee fostered inter-departmental collaboration between HIM, CDI and / or revenue integrity teams:

Deborah has developed an education program under her direction supporting education in inpatient, outpatient, charge posting and edit resolution. These educators help to develop the skills of other employees in Revenue Integrity, Denial Management, Patient Accounting and Coding. The education program is well respected by the organization.

The Northwestern Memorial Foundation is to receive Deborah’s $2,500 Trust Builder Award charitable donation.

Northwestern Memorial Foundation is the fundraising arm of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare. Through the foundation, donors and volunteers support the patient-centered mission and strategic goals of Northwestern Medicine. Donations and volunteers help the hospitals and clinics of Northwestern Medicine continue to provide the highest quality health care, regardless of a patient’s ability to pay.

Trust Builder Award Winner

Jill Harrelson

Director of Health Information Management,

Liberty Hospital

Trust Builder award winner, Jill Harrelson, was nominated by John Maschger, Vice President of Revenue Cycle at Liberty Hospital.

Why does the nominee deserve consideration for a Trust Builder Award?

Jill serves as a transformational leader within our organization here at Liberty Hospital. This has also been recognized at a national level through HFMA’s 2020 MAP Award for revenue cycle excellence. The key to any successful team is a foundation of trust. Jill has utilized KPIs to bring her department towards best practice standards. Examples include query response rates at 100% by collaborating successfully with providers and DNFC days at or below three. Jill’s leadership style is centered on team building. Her latest effort involves taking her team through the nine principals of Hardwiring Excellence. As a result of her efforts, Jill maintains some of our organization’s highest scores regarding employee engagement. She also averages above national percentages for Team and Leader Index scores. One of Jill’s latest accomplishments centers on leading Kansas City’s Operation Safe program for COVID-19 vaccination efforts. This was one of our area’s largest effort and involved numerous organizations. The success of the program was again built on trust in an arena of uncertainty of a pandemic and reliance on the team she helped organize and lead. Again, it demonstrates her wonderful leadership style within the organization and to the community at large.

What are the nominee’s past affiliations and achievements that may tie to award consideration?


Specific examples of how the nominee fostered inter-departmental collaboration between HIM, CDI and / or revenue integrity teams:

Jill also serves as a mentor in developing leaders across other areas of the revenue cycle such as Patient Registration. Her leadership in this area has resulted in dramatic improvements related to improved patient throughput, lowering denials, and providing a patient centered model of excellence regarding financial communications which was part of the HFMA MAP award. In our opinion, Jill exemplifies what it means to be a Trust Builder and her list of accomplishments and leadership style are testimony to her dedication to our patients, our staff, the Organization’s mission to serve our community with excellence.

Jill’s collaborative leadership style has extended through her career and endured previously at Children’s Mercy Hospital. There she worked through large initiatives such as ICD-10 transitions, CAC, CPOE, and physician documentation improvements with a CDI team.

The Liberty Hospital Foundation is to receive Jill’s $2,500 Trust Builder Award charitable donation.

The Liberty Hospital Foundation was established in 1984 with the mission to improve the quality of health, wellness, and care in the Liberty Hospital community. All donations help assist under-insured and under-served patients, support community health education and programs, provide valuable resources to hospital employees and patients, and offer pathways to education for future and current nurses in the area.