About Via Healthcare Consulting
Who We Are
Via Healthcare Consulting is a nationally-recognized, woman owned consulting firm with a warm and engaging culture that helps boards and executives transform governance to better serve their missions. We take our work seriously, work hard for our clients, and take pride in what we do and how we do it. We are accountable and responsive, customizing projects to meet each client’s unique needs.
Karma H. Bass, MPH, FACHE
Over her more than 20-year career, Karma Bass has been a sought-after speaker, facilitator, and consultant with deep knowledge and experience in governance, strategic planning, philanthropy, healthcare policy, and board effectiveness. Her experience gives her a uniquely valuable perspective as a consultant to hospital and health systems boards today.
Before co-founding Via Healthcare Consulting, Karma worked as vice president for Accord Limited, a Chicago-based consulting firm. She served two years as president and CEO of Alliance Healthcare Foundation in San Diego, where she reported to an independent, 11-person not-for-profit board. Notably, Karma spent 10 years at The Governance Institute, holding various positions including vice president of membership services and director of research and publications. She also oversaw the prestigious biennial hospital governance practices survey tracking trends in nearly 5,000 U.S. hospitals and health systems. During three years at the Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties, Karma facilitated the first-ever collaborative community health needs assessment for San Diego’s 32 hospitals.
Karma is board-certified in healthcare management and holds a master’s degree in public health with a focus in health services administration from San Diego State University. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, San Diego.
Linda Summers, MBA, FACHE
Chief Operating Officer/Senior Principal
Her roles have included serving as chief operating officer at Charles Cole Memorial Hospital in Pennsylvania, Lake Erie Regional Health System and St. Lawrence Health System in New York. In these roles, Linda was instrumental in organizational transformation efforts including financial turnaround, leadership development, and strategic plan development and implementation. As a member of the C-Suite, Linda gained knowledge and experience in health system governance through participation in full board and committee meetings, board development, and board education.
In addition to her hospital experience, Linda has served as vice president of performance support for a billion-dollar post-acute care provider where she led a team focused on operational and business development enhancement for rehabilitation units and hospitals across the country. Before joining Via Healthcare Consulting,
Linda was a consulting partner at IBM Watson Health where she led the operational improvement consulting team. Linda has been a board-certified healthcare executive since 2008. She holds a master’s degree in business administration from West Virginia University and a Bachelor of Science degree in occupational therapy from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Erica M. Osborne, MPH
Erica Osborne has 20 years of experience working with healthcare organizations across the country. Her work focuses on the unique and important role of governance; critical issues facing healthcare organizations today; and empowering boards to make the important policy decisions necessary for organizational success. Erica has experience in designing and facilitating high-impact, strategic planning sessions and retreats to fit every size group and need. She provides an industry perspective and challenges boards to analyze and discuss the critical issues facing their organizations.
Prior to co-founding Via Healthcare Consulting, Erica spent two years at Alliance Healthcare Foundation in San Diego, designing and managing the $1 Million Innovation Initiative. In this role, she worked closely with board and committee members to foster innovation in under-served communities. Erica also served at The Governance Institute with roles in member services, conference services and research and publications. She was responsible for identifying emerging board education topics and analyzing hospital CEO input to develop board best practices.
Erica holds a master’s degree in public health with a focus in health services administration from San Diego State University and was a finalist for the Graduate School of Public Health’s John J. Hanlon award. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire.
Kara L. Witalis, MHA
Kara Witalis has 20 years of experience in hospital/health system strategic planning and implementation, organizational process and change management facilitation, and clinical product-line planning and implementation. She has led multiple successful engagements for academic medical centers, community-based health systems and large-scale medical groups from across the country. Before joining Via Healthcare Consulting, Kara served as a senior consultant for HealthWorks Group LLC, Kensington, California, where she provided strategic and business planning, compensation valuation, and out-of-network dispute litigation services to provider organizations across the nation. Kara has particular national experience in trauma and emergency services regional planning and system design and trauma center development.
Kara holds a master’s degree in healthcare administration from Trinity University, San Antonio, and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She has advanced training in leadership and change management from Boston College.
Brad Clarke, MPH
Brad Clarke has over 17 years of experience working with hospital, community health center, managed care, and nonprofit organizations in the United States and New Zealand. Brad works closely with trustees and hospital administrators to identify best practice and gaps, drawing on his governance and education experience in supporting process improvement, navigating increasingly complex regulatory requirements, and developing governance work plans. Layering mission into strategic planning and trustee education is an area of particular interest and strength for Brad. He has spent the past 10 years working with mission-centered organizations that focus on disadvantaged, high-need, and/or minority groups.
Prior to joining Via, Brad held executive leadership roles in corporate compliance, quality improvement, and human resources. Taking a tailored approach in supporting boards and executive teams, Brad is committed to ensuring pragmatic and sustainable solutions. Such experience gives Brad a uniquely valuable and timely perspective as a consultant to hospital and health systems boards.
Brad received his master’s degree in public health from the University of Auckland and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Otago, New Zealand.
Marianne Vicencio, CPHQ
Marianne Vicencio has over 20 years of experience working in acute care settings and healthcare consulting. Marianne’s areas of expertise include healthcare quality, performance improvement, and clinical analytics. Her particular passion is improving patient safety and clinical outcomes. She also focuses on positioning the health system to succeed in the era of accountable care and value-based purchasing. She is experienced in health system strategic planning including physician strategy.
Marianne is a certified professional in healthcare quality and holds a bachelor’s degree in management science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Abigail Suarez has five years of experience in healthcare administration, program development, and project coordination. She is well-versed in the knowledge and skills needed to successfully lead a complex process improvement project to reduce or eliminate waste, lower defects in an organization’s processes, and improve customer satisfaction. Prior to joining Via, Abigail worked at San Diego-based community health clinics supporting federally funded programs, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health program, National Diabetes Prevention program, and Women, Infants, and Children program. Additionally, she has worked in operations for San Diego-based not-for-profit organizations leading collaboration efforts with community stakeholders, developing workflows to standardize cross-department processes, and leading coordination efforts for patient vaccine clinics. At Via, Abigail works closely with the principals and consultants across multiple projects to foster a productive working relationship with our clients and ensure timely completion of deliverables.
Abigail earned her bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition from San Diego State University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in health administration at The George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
Karen Wagner has more than 20 years of experience as a writer and editor and has focused for the past 12 years on the healthcare industry. Her work has appeared in print and online publications of the American College of Healthcare Executives, American Hospital Association, Healthcare Financial Management Association, and Medical Group Management Association. She has produced comprehensive and insightful content on such topics as executive leadership strategy, financial management, physician practice management, workforce productivity and training, reimbursement, health information technology, and consumerism.
Karen holds a bachelor’s degree in communication with minors in writing and business administration from DePaul University, Chicago.
Director of Finance and Operations
Jennifer Sutton has over 20 years of accounting experience in several industries. She currently oversees Via’s financial, human resources, information technology, and marketing operations. Ms. Sutton also advises Via in identifying and supporting philanthropic opportunities with community organizations in the San Diego area. In addition to having run her own consulting practice, Ms. Sutton was a senior manager in the auditing department at Deloitte & Touche (now Deloitte). She serves on the board of directors for two not-for-profit organizations and also volunteers her time with several other San Diego area charitable organizations.
Jennifer holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in accounting from Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles.
Noreen Cervantes has over 16 years of experience in management and leadership with expertise in scheduling and correspondence, event planning, training, and coaching. She specializes in effective communication, planning, and execution. Noreen is task driven and enthusiastic and understands the importance of effective client-to-partner relations. She has provided high level support to C-suite level business executives and government officials while maintaining professionalism and discretion. Noreen has expertise in setting standards for consistency by quickly identifying processes that need streamlining as well as inefficiencies that need overhauling. One of her strengths is effectively collaborating with and sparking synergies within various departments including human resources, IT, and marketing. She carries a natural love for business development, media, and marketing.
Noreen earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast media and communication from San Francisco State University.
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