The Advisory Task Force Advisory Program

The Advisory Task Force was created by legal experts, practice managers, registered nurses, medical staffing experts, and CMAs (AAMA)® who have worked in both administrative and clinical domains of health care for more than 10 years. Each member of the task force has extensive knowledge of the medical assisting field and has made impactful contributions to the American Association of Medical Assistants® (AAMA). Use these task force member profiles of their expertise to determine who would be the best fit in your journey to unlocking medical assistants’ potential.

 

Questions and requests for further information may be directed to AAMA Public Relations and Marketing Manager Francesca Llanos, liaison to the Advisory Task Force, via AdvisoryTaskForce@aama-ntl.org.

 

Table of Contents

 

Meet the ​Experts

Don BalasaDonald A. Balasa, JD, MBA

Donald A. Balasa has served as CEO and legal counsel of the AAMA since 1990. Balasa received both his baccalaureate and law degrees from Northwestern University and his MBA in economics from the University of Chicago. Balasa has taught at the DePaul University Graduate School of Business and Trinity International University.

 

Balasa is a leading legal authority on scope of practice for medical assistants under federal and state law. He advises medical assistants and their employers about temporary and permanent changes in medical assisting scope of practice necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples of these changes are expanded roles for medical assistants in telemedicine, administration of COVID-19 vaccinations, performing of nasopharyngeal swabbing, and less stringent supervision requirements.

 

Specialties

  • Key legislation interpretations
  • Medical assisting scope of practice

M.Case-editMonica Case, CMA (AAMA)

Monica Case has served on the AAMA Board of Trustees since 2016, participates as chair or member of several committees, and serves as the 2021–2023 speaker of the house. Case has worked in the medical field for over 30 years, specializing in clinical and administrative roles that include coding, patient education, and leadership. She has experience in pediatrics and gynecology. Case currently works in a family practice, where she has been a section leader for a physician and nurse practitioner team for 28 years.

 

Case played a major role in transitioning her practice to electronic health records (EHRs) in 2006. She is directly involved with quality patient care and documentation and is currently the quality care coordinator and clinical staff/EHR trainer. Case is the coordinator for her practice with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Medicare Advantage, and commercial incentive programs to provide patient care and services.

 

Specialties

  • Multispecialty practice
  • Administration
  • Clinical
  • Care coordination
  • Documentation/electronic health records
  • Patient education

ATF-flaaten-webJulie Flaatten, RN, CMA (AAMA), CPC 

Julie Flaatten has previously served on the AAMA Board of Trustees in various capacities, including as 2016–2017 president. She has been a member of the AAMA since 1984. Flaatten has 35 plus years’ experience working in family practice, cardiology, and internal medicine departments for a multifacility health system as a registered nurse and performed clinical and administrative medical assistant duties. She was previously a medical assistant adjunct instructor and was an emergency medical technician training officer for her local ambulance service for over 12 years. 

 

Flaatten currently works as a reimbursement educator, developing and presenting formal and informal education on documentation, coding, and billing requirements to individual physician and advanced practice clinician providers for rural health care and provider-based billing. In 2019, Flaatten earned the CPC credential through the American Academy of Professional Coders.

 

Specialties

  • Administrative
  • Clinical
  • Coding
  • Multispecialty clinic practice

Susan Hawes, MBA, RHIA, CMA (AAMA), FACMPE

Susan Hawes served on the AAMA Board of Trustees as the 2018–2019 AAMA president. She has over 25 years of experience as a medical assistant, practice manager, and administrator.

 

Hawes has dedicated her time in health care working with practices that are part of the Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, Maine.

Hawes earned a Bachelor of Science degree in administration and a Master of Business Administration at Husson College.

 

Hawes was previously a medical assisting educator and program director at Husson College and currently teaches at Beal University in the allied health and health information management programs. 

 

Specialties

  • Administration
  • Allied health and medical assisting educator
  • Multispecialty management
  • Practice management

D.Houston-editDebby B. Houston, CMA (AAMA), CPC

Debby B. Houston served as the 2019–2021 AAMA president. She has been involved in the medical field for over 45 years and has been a CMA (AAMA) since 1981. Houston started her career in a hospital emergency room and then worked for Eugene Nolley, MD, at his family practice for 25 years. In March 2017, she retired from UVA Physician Group after playing a major role for another 20 years.

 

Houston currently teaches medical assisting and coding classes at UPG Physicians Group. She also teaches medical coding—including Current Procedural Terminology, International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10), and the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System—at Valley Career & Technical Center and Blue Ridge Community College. She enjoys watching her students grasp the ever-changing world of medicine and coding rules and regulations.

 

Specialties

  • Coding
  • Family practice
  • Hospital practice
  • Medical assisting educator

ATF-lee-webLisa Lee, CMA (AAMA)

Lisa Lee served in various roles on the AAMA Board of Trustees, including as the 2017–2018 president. Lee has been a medical assistant since 1985 and has worked in a large multispecialty clinic that requires both administrative and clinical skills.

 

Lee is extremely passionate about the medical assisting profession. She is a huge supporter of newcomers to the field and practices that use CMAs (AAMA) to their full potential.

 

Specialties

  • Administration
  • Clinical
  • Multispecialty clinic practice
P.Licurs-edit

Patty Licurs, CMA (AAMA), CPC

Patty Licurs serves as the 2021–2022 AAMA president and has been an AAMA member and a CMA (AAMA) since 1997. She has worked in many areas in the health care industry, mainly with the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, where she has been employed for 30 years. Licurs has served the Spartanburg Chapter of Medical Assistants, South Carolina Society of Medical Assistants, and the AAMA in many capacities, including as chair and member of several committees on all three levels.

 

Licurs previously worked for Medical Group of the Carolinas Vascular Access Services, performing both administrative and clinical duties. Licurs currently works as a certified professional coder (CPC) for the Medical Group of the Carolinas’ inpatient and emergency medicine practices owned by Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System and for HealthRecon Connect.

 

In 2018, Licurs earned the CPC credential through the American Academy of Professional Coders and recertified in 2020. She received her Associate in Applied Science degree in administrative office technology from Spartanburg Community College. Licurs has been a member of the American Academy of Professional Coders since she was a student.

 

Specialties

  • Administration
  • Clinical
  • Coding
  • Emergency practice
  • Inpatient practice

D.Novak-editDeborah Novak, CMA (AAMA)

Deborah Novak joined the AAMA Board of Trustees in 2014 and serves as the 2021–2022 vice president. Novak has worked in health care for over 35 years, specializing in practice management and administration. Her versatility in internal medicine and other specialties has led to her successful career as a medical assistant. She is currently an associate practice administrator at TriHealth Physician Partners Anderson.

 

Novak has been involved in the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) patient-centered medical home (PCMH) process since 2010, and her current office is the first office in Ohio to obtain NCQA Recognition status as a PCMH Level 3. She led several practice transformations involving population health management and employee engagement. Novak has successfully managed multiple group practices and staffs of up to 50 team members.

 

Novak was awarded a People Pillar Award for Service Excellence by her Trihealth employer in 2018. She also earned certificates in professional health care leadership through the Studer Group and advance practice management through Conomikes.

 

Specialties

  • Administration
  • Multispecialty management
  • Patient-centered medical home model of care
  • Population health management 
  • Practice management

ATF-purdy-webPaula Purdy, CMA (AAMA)

Paula Purdy served as the 2015–2016 AAMA president and is the current Oregon Society of Medical Assistants (OSMA) president.

 

Purdy acts as the OSMA’s public affairs liaison, making her the point person for medical assisting scope of practice, right to practice, credentialing, and education issues for Oregon state. Purdy also does public speaking events for the medical assisting programs in the Portland area, talks about recruiting for the Oregon Medical Group Management Association, and previously was the coordinator of a medical assisting review course that helped employers get their medical assistants credentialed to meet the meaningful use requirements for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

 

Purdy is currently the director of clinic services at Med-X Staffing Services LLC, where she helps clinics navigate a complicated talent shortage while also serving as a coach and mentor for hundreds of job seekers. Purdy co-founded Med-X Staffing Services, and in three years, she helped triple its size, which is now larger than the Medical Society of Metropolitan Portland (MSMP). She was instrumental in growing the staffing service for Medical Society Staffing, a division of MSMP. Purdy was the director of operations at MSMP, where she worked for more than three decades

 

Specialties

  • Administration
  • Meaningful use requirements
  • Oregon-based medical assisting credentialing
  • Oregon-based medical assisting education
  • Oregon-based medical assisting scope of practice 
  • Staffing and recruitment

A.Wicker-editAimee Wicker, CMA (AAMA), PCMH CCE

Aimee Wicker joined the AAMA Board of Trustees in 2016 and serves as the 2021–2023 vice speaker of the house. She has worked clinically and managed ambulatory practices for over 20 years and currently works within quality management and value-based payment models.

 

Wicker is currently the network manager of ambulatory quality for a large health system. In this role, she leads their quality incentive programs and practice transformation, working primarily with independent practices within their clinically integrated network and accountable care organizations.

 

Wicker received her PCMH Content Expert Certification in 2017 and is an active member of the Ohio State Society of Medical Assistants. She is currently pursuing her master’s in health care law at Regent University School of Law.

 

Specialties

  • Accountable care organization
  • Clinical and management experience in ambulatory practice
  • Clinically integrated network
  • Medicare Shared Savings Program
  • Patient-centered medical home model of care
  • Practice transformation
  • Quality metric performance in value-based payment models
  • Quality program and performance improvement initiatives

 

Advisory Program Materials