About Us

Telligen is the Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) for Colorado, Illinois, Iowa and Oklahoma. The QIN-QIO program helps the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) implement key elements of the Department of Health and Human Services’ National Quality Strategy and federal healthcare reform efforts. To achieve national quality goals, the Telligen QIN-QIO works in partnership with patients, providers and practitioners across organizations and care settings.

Our Mission

Telligen’s mission as a QIN-QIO is to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and value of services delivered to people with Medicare through healthcare quality improvement initiatives that:
•  Increase patient safety.
• Make communities healthier.
• Better coordinate post-hospital care.
• Improve healthcare quality.


Sue Stefan, Executive Director
Sue Stefan, DNP, MBA, MSN, CPHQ, RN, is the executive director for the Telligen QIN-QIO. With more than 25 years of experience as an executive, consultant and educator leading quality improvement initiatives for large healthcare systems and academic medical centers, Sue provides strategic direction for the Telligen QIN-QIO and represents Telligen in partner and stakeholder collaborations. Sue holds a doctorate in nursing practice from Rush University, master’s degrees in business administration and nursing administration and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Illinois Chicago, and is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality through the National Association for Healthcare Quality.
Tracey Durns, QIN-QIO Senior Program Director
Tracey Durns, MBA, is the Senior Program Director for the Telligen QIN-QIO team, coordinating efforts with providers and communities across the region on data-driven quality improvement initiatives. Tracey oversees the collaboration of the state-wide initiatives as well as regional efforts to increase awareness of the Quality Payment Program. Prior to her role as Senior Program Director, she served as a senior quality improvement facilitator at Telligen with the nursing home care team, where her work included educating facilities on quality measures and facilitating their quality improvement processes. Tracey has over 20 years of experience in long-term care, focusing her work on assisting providers with implementation of culture change and person-centered care. Prior to joining Telligen in 2009, her work included establishing policy and procedures in accordance with state and federal regulatory agencies. Tracey received her MBA from Concordia University; she is a licensed practical nurse; and she is a certified restorative nurse as well as a TeamStepps Master Trainer.
Christine LaRocca, Medical Director

Christine LaRocca, MD, is the medical director for the Telligen QIN-QIO. A fellowship-trained, board-certified geriatrician, she provides strategic direction, clinical oversight and subject-matter expertise for QIN-QIO initiatives in Colorado, Illinois and Iowa. Christine received her medical degree from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and completed an internal medicine residency and geriatrics fellowship at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

Governing Body

Telligen’s Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) and Hospital Quality Improvement Contractor (HQIC) governing body plays an integral role in the performance of work being done for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to improve health and promote quality of care for people with Medicare. Governing body members have deep knowledge and expertise on the most challenging issues across care settings. The governing body provides oversight, direction and recommendations related to strategy, interventions and evidence-based practice. Governing body members may advise QIN-QIO and HQIC team members; serve as local subject matter experts; and partner with Telligen on Breakthrough Learning Series (BTS), webinars and other activities to address urgent needs and achieve improvement goals.

Governing body positions are voluntary and members are not compensated for their time, other than reimbursement for travel expenses to in-person meetings. The governing body can include up to 25 members who may serve up to six years (two terms of three years each) of consecutive service. However, exemptions can be made that can extend membership to up to nine years of consecutive service (or three terms). Membership is evaluated on an ongoing basis to identify any competencies that need to be added to the governing body, which causes the membership to fluctuate. Generally, one to two members are added or replaced each year.

Name Affiliation Term Number Term Start Date
Wendy C. Ager, RN, BSN, LNHA Administrator/Senior Director of Skilled Nursing, Western Home Communities, Iowa 2nd October 2020
Chinyere U. Alu, BS, MPH Division Chief, Patient Safety and Quality, Illinois Department of Public Health 2nd October 2020
Mercedes Bern-Klug, PhD, MSW, F-GSA Professor, Social Work; Director, UI Aging and Longevity Studies Program (online certificate), School of Social Work, University of Iowa 1st May 2020
Dale W. Bratzler, DO, MPH, MACOI, FIDSA Professor, College of Medicine and Public Health; Enterprise Chief Quality Officer – OU Medicine 1st May 2020
Mike Cook, BSPE Director, Long Term Care Service, Oklahoma State Department of Health 1st May 2020
Patricia Critchfield Beneficiary 3rd January 2021
W. Perry Dickinson, MD Department of Family Medicine University of Colorado 1st May 2020
Cynthia Fiester, RN, BSN Chronic Disease Services, Program Coordinator, Linn County Public Health 1st May 2020
Susan Gardiner Beneficiary 1st May 2020
Brandi Jackson, MD Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at Rush Medical Center in Chicago; Chief Behavioral Health officer at the Howard Brown Health Center; Co-founder of The Institute for Antiracism in Medicine 1st November 2021
Brittani James, MD Assistant Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System; Family Medicine physician in a safety net clinic on Chicago’s South Side; Co-founder of The Institute for Antiracism in Medicine 1st November 2021
Corie Kaiser, BS, MNAS Director, Oklahoma Office of Rural Health 1st May 2020
John Leon Beneficiary 1st May 2020
Dheeraj Mahajan, MD, MBA, MPH, FACP Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago; Section Chief, Geriatrics, Illinois Masonic Medical Center 1st May 2020
Paul Mulhausen, MD Chief Medical Director, Iowa Total Care 1st May 2020
Elizabeth S. Mullins, MSW, NHA Division Director, Veterans Community Living Centers 1st May 2020
Karen Orsi, BA Director, Oklahoma Mental Health and Aging Coalition, NorthCare 1st May 2020
Julia Ann Pollock, BA Long-Term Care Ombudsman, State of Iowa 2nd October 2020
Jayla Sanchez-Warren Executive Director, Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) Area Agency on Aging 1st May 2020
Esther Sciammarella, MS Executive Director, Chicago Hispanic Health Coalition 3rd January 2021
David Thomas, MD Beneficiary 1st May 2020
Tara Trujillo, MNM Diabetes & Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 1st May 2020