Mary Ellen Diver led the transformation of primary care, behavioral and dental healthcare service delivery for children and adults with developmental disabilities, including autism, and expanded this model of compassionate care to underserved/vulnerable populations on Long Island.
As chief executive officer (CEO) of Advantage Care Health Centers, Ms. Diver is responsible for the overall success of the health centers, including strategic direction, organizational growth, personnel management, operations efficiency/effectiveness, and external community relations.
Advantage Care Health Centers support the health of nearly 2400 patients, through 32,000 visits annually and a budget of $9.2M.
The pandemic accelerated the adoption of telehealth and telemedicine services delivered through Advantage Care. Ms. Diver’s leadership provided medically vulnerable, isolated patients with resources, vaccination distribution, COVID 19 screening and testing, supplies, patient and caregiver education, and uninterrupted access to medical and behavioral health services by their trusted care team.
In the post-pandemic period, Advantage Care is upbuilding its practice to meet the changing needs of the workforce, the patient population, and the communities it serves.
Advantage Care is governed by a community board and accredited by The National Committee for Quality Assurance as a Patient-Centered Medical Home.
Advantage Care provides high-quality, cost-effective healthcare services, offering a sliding scale fee to the underinsured, facilitates transportation services as needed, and performs outreach activities to engage with local communities to address the socio-economic barriers to healthcare.
Ms. Diver’s career in health care spans 45 years. In 1992, she began working with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities at AHRC Nassau County. She was directly responsible for the coordination of medical and habilitative services to people with I/DD, promoting and facilitating overall health and wellness.
In 2004, under Ms. Diver’s direction, AHRC Nassau opened Advantage Care Diagnostic & Treatment Center, in 2009 incorporated the Fay J. Lindner Center for Autism and in 2014 a second site opened in Freeport, to promote access on the South Shore. In 2015, Advantage Care was converted to a Federally Qualified Health Center, appointing Ms. Diver CEO.
Ms. Diver received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh.
How do you see your business evolving because of changing times?
Refraining from ineffective practices because they are familiar. Become comfortable with change, innovation, and more inclusive approaches. Support practices that promote well-being.
Investing in the trauma-informed care approach at both the clinical and organizational level yields better health outcomes and avoid re-traumatization.
Maintaining a sustainable telehealth practice, enhancing it by continuously adopting technologies such as remote physiological monitoring programs, to assist providers and patients in managing acute and chronic conditions remotely.
Promoting care coordination through a seamless and secure health information exchange via patient portals, health care apps, regional health information exchanges, OpenNotes and other initiatives.
Developing a people resourcing strategy to facilitate getting the right people with the right skills into the right roles at the right time has been critical to how we recruit, retain, guide and support staff.
What advice would you give other business owners?
Align your strategic plan to your organization’s vision and mission. Commit time and resources to the process. This should trickle down through the organization, so you are working towards the same goals.
Strengthen your infrastructure with diverse, flexible teams and create effective talent management strategies to include leadership and career development, performance management, and employee engagement and retention. Care about the workforce with the same energy you give to those who benefit from their work.
Apply the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) method to test changes that are put into effect to guide the thinking process of reasoning, problem-solving, evaluating outcomes, and help people implement the changes.