The Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) today presented Ann Paul, DrPH, MPH, with the 2019 Frederick C. Morgan Individual Achievement Award. Dr. Paul is the 61st recipient of this award, which honors career-long contributions to HFMA and to the healthcare finance profession.
Dr. Paul is currently chief strategy officer at Ascension St. John Health System in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a position she has held since 2015. In her previous role as vice president at Ascension St. John, she established the first Oklahoma-based Medicare accountable care organization. Prior to joining Ascension St. John, Dr. Paul was owner and consultant at Solaris Management, LLC, where she negotiated managed care contracts and provided strategic planning consulting services to healthcare providers, health plans, employers and brokers.
Since joining HFMA in 1995, Dr. Paul has served in many roles at the chapter, regional and national levels. At the chapter level, she served in board and officer roles leading to Oklahoma Chapter president in 2003. As chapter president, Dr. Paul is credited as the architect behind the strategic plan that resulted in the chapter receiving the Robert M. Shelton Award for Sustained Excellence in 2006. After Dr. Paul’s term as president ended, she chaired the Managed Care Committee and the Management Practices Committee from 2004 to 2008. She also served on the Corporate Sponsorship Committee, the Chapter Awards Committee and the Newsletter Committee, where she was also a contributor. Dr. Paul developed the chapter’s mentoring program for early careerists and its volunteer recognition program. Additionally, Dr. Paul established the first annual Oklahoma Chapter Mini-Leadership Training Conference which continues to this day.
“Ann Paul exemplifies the role of servant-leader,” said HFMA President and CEO Joseph J. Fifer, FHFMA, CPA. “She has also been a catalyst for change. Through her public speaking, mentorship and her many contributions to the healthcare finance community in the Oklahoma region, Ann has touched many lives and has truly made a difference.”
At the regional level, Dr. Paul helped conceptualize HFMA’s Region 9 conference, now in its 17th year. She served on the conference planning committee for eight years and was a major contributor for the Helen M. Yerger Special Recognition Award applications each year. She contributed to the development of the original Region 9 Operating Agreement.
Dr. Paul has been a presenter, moderator or panelist at chapter or regional educational conferences almost every year since 2003, presenting on managed care, accountable care organizations, leadership and other healthcare topics.
At the national level, Dr. Paul has served twice on the National Advisory Council, most recently on the Payment Models Committee for the 2017-2019 term. She has also been a judge for the Helen M. Yerger Special Recognition Awards for outstanding performance by HFMA chapters. Dr. Paul is a recipient of multiple chapter awards, including the Follmer Bronze, Reeves Silver and Muncie Gold Merit Awards, and the Founders Medal of Honor.
In the Tulsa community, Dr. Paul began serving on the Tulsa City-County Health Department Board in 2017 and became chair in 2019. She is the founding and past chair of the Pathways to Health Community Foundation, a non-profit established to provide grants to fund projects within Tulsa County that promote improved social determinant outcomes consistent with the Tulsa County Community Health Improvement Plan. Dr. Paul was appointed by former Governor Mary Fallin to serve on the Joint Commission on Public Health in 2018. She participated through the 1990s and 2000s in the original Healthy People 2000 initiative, Oklahoma Turning Point, and Tulsa Metro Chamber of Commerce Health Care Task Force, collectively aimed at transforming health in Oklahoma.
Dr. Paul attributes her early career success to faith, family and HFMA, including monthly HFMA journals which were shared with her by her managers providing a foundation of knowledge necessary for advancement in healthcare finance. Upon accepting the award during HFMA’s annual conference in Orlando on June 26, she said, “While the award is a great personal honor, my acceptance is on behalf of the exceptional leaders and members within our Oklahoma Chapter, Region 9 and the national organization, who have now become my friends.”
Dr. Paul holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in public health from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Her doctoral research entitled, “A Qualitative Study on Physician Attitudes and Beliefs About Electronic Health Records," was completed in December 2018. Since 2017, Dr. Paul has taught courses for the Hudson College of Public Health at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Dr. Paul is married and has twin sons who are medical doctors beginning their careers in healthcare, and she enjoys travel and other activities with her family, dogs and horse.