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American College of Physician Advisors

Advisory Board Members

Jessica Gustafson, Esq. | Chair

Jessica L. Gustafson is a founding shareholder with The Health Law Partners, P.C.  She represents hospitals, health systems, hospices, home health agencies, physicians, and other health care providers and suppliers in an array of health care legal matters.  Ms. Gustafson devotes a substantial portion of her practice to representing providers in the Recovery Audit ("RAC") and Medicare audit appeals process.  She also regularly assists clients with compliance and reimbursement matters, overpayment refunds, Medicare enrollment matters, and other health care regulatory matters.

Ms. Gustafson is a member of the American Health Lawyers Association, American Bar Association (ABA) Health Law Section, and Michigan Bar Association. She is actively involved in the ABA Health Law Section, serving as Co-Chair of the Membership Committee, and  Vice-Chair of the Editorial Board of the publication, ABA Health eSource.

Mary McLaughlin-Davis, DNP, ACNS-BC, NEA-BC, CCM | vice-Chair

Dr. Mary McLaughlin-Davis became a certified care manager in 1993. She has provided care coordination services for inpatients, outpatients, and health care plans.

As a Clinical Nurse Specialist, Dr. McLaughlin Davis has worked extensively with patients having chronic disease, notably congestive heart failure and stroke. She is a Senior Director of Care Management for the Cleveland Clinic and a guest lecturer at Ursuline College.

Dr. McLaughlin-Davis served as national immediate past president for the Case Management Society of America (CMSA). She is involved with The Public Policy Committee for CMSA and for the Nursing Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. She speaks on care coordination topics across the country, has written numerous articles about care coordination and published the Case Management Guide to Population Health through HCPro. Dr. McLaughlin-Davis recently released, The Practice of Hospital Case Management: A White Paper through CMSA.

Samer Antonios, MD

Sam Antonios, MD currently serves as the Chief Medical Officer for the hospitals at Ascension Via Christi in Kansas. He’s an Internist, having graduated from the Kansas University School of Medicine residency in Wichita. Dr. Antonios has served in many leadership roles at Ascension Via Christi including Utilization Management and his current role. 

Jeannine Engel, MD, FACP

Jeannine Engel attended medical school at University of California, San Diego, then completed internal medicine residency and chief year at Vanderbilt. She joined the General Internal Medicine faculty at Vanderbilt in 1996, and has lived the classic general internist’s life: primary care, urgent care, internal medicine teaching and non-teaching wards, Undergraduate Medical Education, Graduate Medical Education, hospital and physician group administration.  Not all at once, of course.

In 2010, Dr. Engel relocated to the University of Utah just as the RAC audits began. She was fortunate to attend a small conference in Greenville, South Carolina in January 2012, meeting the likes of Drs. Nick Ulmer, Larry Hegland, Ron Rejzer and others who would come to form the American College of Physician Advisors.

In between battling auditors and translating CMS policy, she and her husband, Mike, an MD/PhD trained pediatric oncologist, have also managed to raise three children. She will relocate to Charlottesville, VA and join the faculty at University of Virginia in Fall 2020.

Ronald Hirsch, MD, FACP, CHCQM

Dr. Ronald Hirsch is a Vice President of the Regulations and Education Group at R1 RCM Inc. He received his medical degree from the Chicago Medical School in North Chicago, Illinois and completed his internal medicine residency at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Hollywood, California.

Dr. Hirsch was a general internist and HIV specialist and practiced at Signature Medical Associates, a multispecialty practice located in Elgin, Illinois.  He was Medical Director of Case Management at Sherman Hospital in Elgin from 2006 to 2012, where he also was Chairman of the Medical Records Committee from 1995 to 2012, and served on the Medical Executive Committee. Dr. Hirsch also served on the Sherman Home Care Board of Directors from 1999 to 2012, was Chairman of the Board of Health for the City of Elgin from 1997 to 2012 and was medical director at two area nursing facilities in the 1990’s.

Dr. Hirsch is certified in Health Care Quality and Management by the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians.  He is on the Examination Writing Committee, the Advisory Board, and Conference Committee of the National Association of Healthcare Revenue Integrity and he is certified in healthcare revenue integrity, Dr. Hirsch is the editor of the ACPA monthly newsletter, on the editorial board of the, is a weekly guest on the Monitor Mondays national webcast, and is a course director for Athena Forum.   He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, a member of the American Case Management Association, and the co-author of The Hospital Guide to Contemporary Utilization Review, with the second edition published in 2018.  In 1996, he was guest on the Jerry Springer Show. .

Abby Pendleton, Esq.

Abby Pendleton is a founding shareholder of The Health Law Partners, P.C. Ms. Pendleton has been practicing healthcare law since 1996. She regularly provides counsel to healthcare providers and organizations in a number of areas, including but not limited to: compliance, Recovery Audit Contractors (“RAC”), Medicare and other payor audits, fraud and abuse, reimbursement matters, and HIPAA Privacy and Security, and physician staff privilege and licensure matters. Ms. Pendleton also specializes in legal issues impacting billing and management companies, anesthesia and pain management providers, hospice providers and mental health agencies.

Ms. Pendleton is a member of the State Bar of Michigan (Member, Health Care Law Section) and State Bar of New York (Member, Health Law Section); the American Bar Association; the American Health Lawyer’s Association; the Health Care Compliance Association; the Medical Group Management Association and the Michigan Medical Group Management Association.

Denise Wilson, MS, RN, RRT

Denise Wilson serves as the Senior Vice President at Denial Research Group – AppealMasters.  She is a Registered Respiratory Therapist, Registered Nurse, and holds a Master's degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Illinois, Springfield.

Ms. Wilson has over thirty years of experience in healthcare including clinical management, education, compliance, and appeal writing along with extensive experience as a Medical Appeals Expert. She has personally managed hundreds of Medicare, Managed Medicare, and Commercial appeal cases and presented hundreds of cases at the Administrative Law Judge level..

She is a nationally known speaker and dynamic educator on Medicare and Commercial appeals processes, payer behaviors, standards of care, appeal template development, and building a road map to drive the payer to a decision in the provider's favor.  Ms. Wilson has educated thousands of healthcare professionals around the country in successfully overturning medical care denials.  Her special area of expertise is in writing and producing successful appeals. .