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  • Leadership

    Leadership

    Dean Freeland and Rhonda Gaudreau have been business partners for over 15 years; they own and operate Theracore Management Group, LLC. Their partnership in collaboration with various consultants brings decades of experience and expertise in all aspects of long term care and skilled nursing care related to the clinical, financial operations and regulatory compliance. Their company’s mission is to position long term care providers for success by imparting practical knowledge and providing guidance and the resources necessary to compete and thrive in the long term care industry.

    Rhonda Gaudreau MA OTR, Partner

    Rhonda is co-owner of Theracore Management Group LLC a company that specializes in the management of therapy services and consulting for long term care facilities to enhance their operational and clinical outcomes and to improve their regulatory compliance.

    Rhonda holds a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College and a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from New York University, where she also received a Fellowship in Rehabilitation Technology. She was an adjunct faculty member for several years at New York University and Dominican College in New York.

    Rhonda has over 30 years of experience in long term care, initially as a treating therapist and then as the Director of Rehabilitation in a number of facilities in the Northeast. She held the director role in nationally recognized rehabilitation hospitals, sub-acute facilities and in large 250- 500 bed skilled nursing facilities. She also served as a leader and trainer in the CQI process and survey preparedness for OBRA, JCAHO and CARF accreditations. Upon relocation to the Midwest, she served as the Director of Operations for a national rehabilitation provider, exceeding budgeted revenues of 6 million annually.

    Her expertise has benefited long term care facilities in terms of optimizing clinical care, achieving regulatory compliance and exceeding budgeted financial expectations. Her expertise in documentation for Medicare compliance has resulted in exceptional outcomes for long term care facilities in the appeals process for Medicare denials and probes.

    Dean Freeland PT, Partner

    Dean is co-owner of Theracore Management Group LLC a company that specializes in the management of therapy services and consulting for long term care facilities to enhance their operational and clinical outcomes and to improve their regulatory compliance.

    Dean began his career as a professional baseball player, both in the minor leagues and on the major league roster with San Francisco. After nine years, he left professional sports and attended the University of Wisconsin, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy.

    Dean has over 20 years of experience in the field as a practicing clinician and in the management of rehabilitation departments. He has held management positions in outpatient therapy clinics and in skilled nursing facilities, including multi-state regional responsibility for a national rehabilitation provider.

    His operations experience includes direct oversight of clinical operations, financial management, audit processes, survey preparedness and program development in the areas of wound care, restorative nursing and falls prevention. Dean’s last position was as the Chief Operations Officer of a therapy consulting company where he worked with numerous skilled nursing and assisted living facilities leading the startup of therapy operations.

    Dean is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association.

    Diann Ikeler OTR, Director of Operations

    Diann Ikeler is a Director of Operations for Theracore Management Group, LLC. In her role, she provides direct management of the clinical and financial operations of numerous skilled nursing facilities. She is a master trainer for Theracore’s billing software system, Optima Therapy and coordinates all of this organization’s billing and export processes. Diann has also initiated several quality improvements programs and care initiatives for numerous clients and specializes in restorative nursing and fall prevention programming . Additionally, Diann performs Medicare compliance audits and works with several clients in the Medicare Denials and Appeals process.

    Diann has 25 years of experience as an Occupational Therapist. She earned a bachelor’s degree from St Ambrose University and began her career in the hospital system in acute care and inpatient rehab then joined the largest not for profit long term care provider in Wisconsin as a staff therapist. She was eventually promoted to Rehab Director by Theracore and was responsible for the supervision of 24 therapists at two continuous care campuses.

    Brad Bulkow MPT, Director of Clinical and Regulatory Compliance

    Brad Bulkow is the Director of Clinical and Regulatory Compliance for Theracore Management Group LLC. In this role, he ensures that all therapy services consistently maintain the highest quality of care, clinical outcomes, regulatory and reimbursement compliance.

    Brad has earned a bachelor’s degree from Marquette University in mathematics as well as a Master’s degree in Physical Therapy. Brad has close to 20 years of clinical experience working in multiple settings including long term care, home health care, outpatient and personal training / wellness. Brad has worked in both large urban areas and rural settings.

    Brad’s main focus has been in the long term care, home health and outpatient settings. He has worked as a staff physical therapist, lead therapist and director of rehabilitation in multiple settings. Brad was previously employed by a hospital system where he was the leader and manager of therapy services (PT, OT and SLP) for home care services and skilled nursing facility. He was instrumental in the success and ability to merge the home health and skilled nursing therapy departments to improve efficiencies and delivery of care, improve patient outcomes and meet budgetary goals.

    When changes to Medicare reimbursement, the PDPM model were proposed, Brad developed action plans, provided training webinars and ongoing guidance to all of the Theracore centers. As a result of his work, all Theracore clients experienced a smooth transition to the PDPM system. He continues to analyze the performance of our clients under PDPM and designs/implements action plans to address opportunities for improved reimbursement.

    In addition to Brad’s expertise in skilled nursing settings, he has extensive knowledge of home health and outpatient therapy services and has proved to be invaluable partner for our clients that offer these services.

    Theracore Consultants


    Julia Johnson, M.S., CCC-SLP

    Julia is a speech-language pathologist who has excelled in patient treatment, clinical program development, and operational management for more than 15 years. Julia has a varied background in patient treatment having worked in a number of environments including acute care hospital, neonatal intensive care, pediatric home health, adult and pediatric outpatient, and long term care. She has extensive experience working with swallowing, speech, and cognitive-language disorders affecting pediatric, adult, and elderly populations. This expertise includes certification in Vital Stim Therapy an electrical stimulation modality to improve swallowing function in children and adults. Julia is passionate about the use of clinical interventions to assist early childhood development as well as return adult and elderly patients to a level of function that allows for continued dignity and purpose with their lives.

    She has achieved clinical success utilizing her received specific training in “Spaced Retrieval” as a therapeutic technique for patients with Alzheimer’s, traumatic brain injury, CVA, or other dementia related conditions to improve dignity and quality of life in ways that matter to the patient and their loved ones. Julia is certified in Montessori techniques and program development which she uses to help facilities facilitate resident independence and reduce environmental stressors.

    In addition to her significant accomplishments as a clinician, Julia has served in regional and multi state roles as a director of clinical training and development of physical, occupational, and speech therapy services in long term care. She has presented nationally on interdisciplinary approaches to dementia management to increase the awareness and involvement of all practitioners in understanding the realities of residents with dementia. In 2009, Julia completed RAC-CT certification through the American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordinators (AANAC), a comprehensive training and certification for completing the Minimum Data Set (MDS). Finally, Julia is a co-owner of a Wisconsin based Rehabilitation Company that contracts with skilled nursing facilities throughout WI as well as operates several outpatient PT clinics and is an active member of the Wisconsin Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Association (WSHA) and the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA).

    Nissa McWilliams, OTR

    Nissa McWilliams is a Consultant for Theracore Management Group, LLC and is jointly employed by Group Health Cooperative in the Hand Therapy Clinic. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

    Nissa began her career as an Occupational Therapist for national rehab provider and was eventually promoted to a Rehab Program Manager and then to an Area Director of Operations for the states of Wisconsin, Missouri and Illinois. She served in this role for six years, overseeing the clinical and financial operations of numerous therapy departments in long terms care facilities. In this role her states achieved and exceeded all clinical outcomes and budgeted financial goals. For this exemplary service she received the Genesis Award for Excellence in Leadership in 2008 and 2009.

    She is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association as well as the American Society of Hand Therapists.