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May 6, 2019 C-Suite Awards 2019

LeMay helps Masonicare streamline its processes

Photo | Contributed

Category: Chief Administrative Officer of the year

Tracey LeMay

Chief Administrative Officer, Masonicare

Size of organization: 2,500 employees

Education: Southern Connecticut State University, bachelor's in nursing

Previous job(s): Claim Director, Sedgwick CMS

When Masonicare went shopping for insurance in the early 2000s, the pickings were slim — few commercial providers were willing to underwrite the organization's portfolio of acute-care hospitals, skilled-nursing facilities and home-health agencies at a reasonable cost.

“We found ourselves at a crossroads at that point,” said Tracey LeMay, chief administrative officer at Masonicare, the Wallingford-based not-for-profit that is one of the state's largest providers of health care and retirement living for seniors. “There was a hard market for professional liability.”

LeMay was part of the team to respond to the need by creating an insurance “captive” at Masonicare, an entity that allows an organization to basically self-insure.

“The premise is working with actuaries to pay a premium to yourself … to build a risk-management program to ensure that you're educating frontline staff on the best way to provide care and treatment to a patient population,” LeMay said.

Her lead role in creating the captive at Masonicare brought together LeMay's background in nursing with her passion for streamlining administrative processes to improve patient care.

“My guiding business principles all revolve around quality and safety, providing good outcomes for the residents and patients that we serve, as well as supporting and ensuring that our employees have the right resources and support,” LeMay said.

Born and raised in Northford, LeMay was inspired by her grandmother and others in her family to pursue a career in health care. After earning a bachelor's degree in nursing from UConn, she worked briefly as a nurse in maternal special care at Yale New Haven Hospital before discovering a talent for the administrative side of health care.

“I definitely had a desire to improve upon processes; being in the clinical field there are times that gets lost,” she said. “Quality and risk management became something I wanted to explore further.”

LeMay took a position as claims director for Cambridge Integrated Services Group/Sedgwick CMS, where she spent four years managing medical malpractice professional liability claims for care facilities on the East Coast. In that capacity she began working as a consultant for Masonicare as a claims manager and claims director, helping to set up the organization's first iteration of an insurance captive, then domiciled in Vermont.

In 2005, Masonicare offered LeMay the job of in-house claims manager, with the role of building its captive and growing its risk-management program to mitigate financial exposure in the area of liability. She was named director of risk management at Masonicare in 2005.

She was promoted to chief administrative officer in 2014 and has continued her leadership in developing the insurance captive, taking a key role in 2018 in making Masonicare's program the first captive to be domiciled in Connecticut.

“Tracey is intelligent and forward-thinking,” said Masonicare President and CEO Jon-Paul Venoit. “She serves as a level set for the organization supporting risk-mitigation efforts and a commitment to quality and corporate compliance.”

Looking back at her career, LeMay appreciates how her nursing training has shaped her drive to improve health care for Masonicare's patients and support the organization's 2,500 employees.

“I feel that I have an appreciation for what they do, empathy and compassion for having been on the other side of the bed,” she said.

That clinical training shapes how LeMay deals with Masonicare's most immediate challenge — finding home-health aides in a hiring market made more competitive due to increases in the minimum wage. Hiring senior- and hospice-care nurses has also become more difficult.

LeMay's nursing background also shapes her management style, with an emphasis on teamwork.

“I find it's very important to empower the people that you work alongside of, to truly support them, encourage them to make decisions for themselves,” she said.

Her pride and joy, however, remains her role in the captive insurance program, which has allowed Masonicare to both save money and raise the bar on quality and safety.

“I'm the most proud of the development and the progression and the success of the captive at Masonicare, how it's proven to be a great financial decision and a vehicle to mitigate the risk of being in health care,” LeMay said.

On the job

Guiding business principle: Quality and safety above all else

Best way to keep your competitive edge: By making sure that I take care of myself; mind, body and spirit makes all the difference.

Best business decision: Continuous support and promotion of our captive insurance program and ensure we have a robust risk-management program

Biggest missed opportunity: Spending more time clinically at the bedside

Goal yet to be achieved: Getting my master's degree

Personal touch in your office: Aromatherapy

Personal side:

City of residence: Guilford

Favorite way to relax: Meditation

Hobbies: Hiking, running, reading and cooking

Last vacation: Yoga retreat in Mexico

Favorite movie: Any romantic comedy … “When Harry Met Sally”

Currently reading: “The Four Agreements,” by Don Miguel Ruiz

Favorite cause: March of Dimes (My son was born 28 weeks premature) and American Heart Association (My daughter was born with a congenital heart defect and both my parents have heart disease)

Second choice career: Integrative medicine … Currently enrolled in spiritual-healing classes

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