Upstate Community Giving
Campaign Raises More Than $570,000

More than 1,200 members of the Upstate community donated more than $570,000 to Upstate’s 2022 Community Giving Campaign, bringing Upstate’s total giving to the CGC to $13.5 million since Upstate began the campaign in 1986. 

“Upstate’s engagement with the community and its role in helping people have a brighter future continues to impress,” said Campaign Chair Lawrence Chin, MD, professor and dean of Upstate’s Norton College of Medicine. 

New donors to Upstate’s Community Giving Campaign rose 44 percent in 2022, bringing the number of new donor employees to 277. More than half of all new donors were nursing employees. 

“Our nursing staff goes above and beyond every day to serve our patients and this commitment extends to this campaign,” said Chief Nursing Officer Scott Jessie.

The success of the campaign is due, in large part, to the 163 employees who served as department representatives. They help promote the campaign within their departments and answer employee questions about the campaign. A complete list of department representatives is available.

Serving on the 2022 Campaign Committee were Dr. Katherine Beissner, Tammy Blackburn (ad-hoc) Catherine Cadley, Leah Caldwell, Tree Carter, Dr. Lawrence Chin, Mark Congel, Dr. Mantosh Dewan, Kelly Dolan, Amy Green, Zanette Howe, Michael Longo, Katherine Magnarelli, Nancy Prott, Linda Veit. Serving on the committee from United Way of Central New York were Nancy Kern Eaton and Meghann Sandak.

Upstate has won numerous honors awards for its Community Giving success from the United Way of Central New York, including the Spirit of Caring Award for Campaign Excellence, Leadership Development Award, Volunteer Service Award, and Campaign Volunteer of the Year Award.

Excellus BCBS appoints three new senior leaders
Excellus BlueCross BlueShield has appointed three new members to its senior leadership team. Mona Chitre, PharmD; Lisa Harris, M.D.; and Tony Vitagliano will take on new roles as part of the health plan’s Population Health Engagement leadership team working to ensure equitable access to high-quality, affordable
care. Meet our staff on the next page;

Mona Chitre, PharmD, Chief Pharmacy Officer, President Pharmacy Solutions

Mona Chitre, PharmD has been named President of Pharmacy Solutions, in addition to her role as Chief Pharmacy Officer. In her expanded role, Dr. Chitre will focus on delivering clinically sound pharmacy solutions to enable growth and diversification and bolster investments and innovation in all areas of the rapidly changing pharmacy landscape. She joined the health plan in 2000.

Chitre oversees Excellus BCBS’ pharmacy program, focusing on ways to drive affordable drug costs, quality outcomes, and appropriateness of care for the health plan’s 1.5 million upstate New York members.

Under Chitre’s leadership, the health plan’s pharmacy program has developed numerous programs to improve the health and well-being of the communities it serves. The introduction of the innovative RxConcierge savings outreach program and initiatives focusing on generic medications, medication adherence, and specialty medications have helped members access quality, affordable medications and earned the health plan national recognition. During her tenure, the health plan’s Medicare Part D prescription drug plan has received a 5-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, its highest rating, for seven consecutive years, making it the longest leading, and one of only two 5-star plans in the nation.

Lisa Harris, M.D., Senior Vice President and Corporate Medical Director

Lisa Harris, M.D. has been appointed Senior Vice President and Corporate Medical Director for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. In her new role as SVP Corporate Medical Director, she will work closely with senior leaders to drive engagement, innovation, clinical quality, equitable access, and affordability, as well as enable efficiency and satisfaction among the health plan’s provider partners. Dr. Harris joined the health plan in 2018.

Harris previously served as Vice President of Medical Affairs for Commercial Lines of business where she was closely aligned with the sales team serving as a clinical liaison for the commercial side of business and leading the clinical affordability strategy. 

During her career at Excellus BCBS, Harris maintained a focus on the larger strategy of improving health care for all as she collaborated on innovative solutions including a clinical queries system allowing key stakeholders to receive a coordinated response to clinical questions within 24 hours. She worked with a team to develop a high-cost claimants team – a multifunctional team designed to engage case managers earlier on in the member experience.

Tony Vitagliano, Senior Vice President, Provider Network Engagement

Tony Vitagliano has been named Senior Vice President, Provider Network Engagement. In his new role, Vitagliano will continue to focus on the health plan’s provider partnership strategy in addition to now leading the areas of payment integrity, medical policy, and risk adjustment. He will also serve as a member of the health plan Executive Team. Vitagliano joined the health plan in 1993.

Tony Vitagliano Vitagliano began his career with the health plan as an Actuarial Analyst and has held several positions during his time with the organization. Most recently, he served as Vice President, Provider Network Management and Operations leading teams dedicated to provider contracting, provider relations, value-based payments, and reimbursement.

During his career, Vitagliano led the development of Excellus BCBS’ Accountable Cost & Quality Agreement (ACQA) model, providers partnership strategy, and the alignment of clinical quality and efficiency.

“Through their partnership with our providers and community members, each of these leaders has made a significant impact in achieving our health plan’s mission of ensuring equitable access to affordable, high-quality care,” said Jim Reed, President and CEO of Excellus BCBS. “I’m excited to see our efforts in the area of population health engagement continue to grow under the strategic leadership of these highly skilled and experienced individuals.”

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