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JAHVH Nurse Honored with Inspiring Reviewer of the Year Award

Utilization Nurse Management consultant Lanita Fortenberry accepts the 2024 Awe-Inspiring Utilization Management Reviewer of the Year award.
Utilization Nurse Management consultant Lanita Fortenberry accepts the 2024 Awe-Inspiring Utilization Management Reviewer of the Year award from Kathleen Michel, UM Clinical Director of the VHA UM program office May 2, 2024.

One staff member's dedication and exceptional work were recognized nationally, by Veterans Integrated Service Network 8 leadership, and leadership in a ceremony at James A. Haley Veterans Hospital.

Chosen from a pool of nominees across the Veterans Health Administration, Utilization Management consultant Lanita Fortenberry was awarded the 2024 Awe- Inspiring Utilization Management Reviewer of the Year. 

During a short acceptance speech, Fortenberry attributed her work ethic to her mother, who attended the ceremony.

“It is a treasured honor to receive this, and I receive it on behalf of my UM team, locally and nationally,” said Fortenberry, Utilization Nurse Management consultant. “I want to give credit to all UM reviewers because success together helps our successes.”

Utilization Management plays a crucial role in the hospital, ensuring the accuracy of patient charts and their seamless transfer to the appropriate units and providers. More simply stated, Fortenberry makes special consideration to ensure Veterans receive personalized, patient-driven, and compassionate care. Her dedication to this not-so-simple feat garnered recognition and praise from numerous leaders. Fortenberry reviewed over 26,000 records in the past year, with her keen eye and attention to detail ensuring that Veterans in our care have their needs met from the time they enter our doors and after they leave.

Fortenberry will reach her 20th anniversary of service with the VA this summer, serving as a UM Specialist for eight years. Her education includes a Master of Science in Nursing and a Clinical Nurse Leadership certification. She was previously awarded Nurse of the Quarter before her VA career, the VA Secretary’s Award in Nursing Excellence and a HERO Award from Team Tampa.

“I can’t say often enough how important what you do is for Veterans,” JAHVH Executive Director David Dunning said in his speech during the ceremony. “You are one of the most important people in this facility, essential to making this hospital work and making sure that Veterans stay safe.”

This is the first year that the Most Inspiring UM Reviewer of the Year has been awarded to anyone in the VHA network. Kathleen Michel, Utilization Management Clinical Director -VHA UM program office presented the award with officials from the Central VHA office and VISN 8 leaders in attendance via online video conference. Criteria for being nominated for the award included: average time spent completing reviews, providing more than 2 information sessions on UM topics to a clinical audience, providing detailed examples of how the reviewer’s contributions have enhanced staff knowledge on UM policies and principles at the local medical center, VISN or national level and more.

“Lanita is a powerful force and uses her positive attitude and tireless energy to encourage others to work hard and succeed,” said Shency Arangacherry, Deputy Chief of Quality Management. “She makes sure we have the right patient in the right bed at the right time for the right clinical reasons.”