BrightStar in Schaumburg, Des Plaines, Kane County, and DeKalb County is owned and operated by Tom and Barb Koenig. We are the proud parents of six children. . .we know the importance of family.
We weren’t always involved with home healthcare. We were both off pursuing careers and raising our family when Tom’s mom first begin to act differently. This person who always had a keen mind and wit first started to become forgetful and then started to misplace things. Over time she became increasingly erratic and then combative in her behavior. That’s when, after testing, we realized that she had dementia. This family tragedy, which so very many other families have experienced, became a turning point in our lives. In 2008, Tom decided to join the BrightStar family and devote his life to caring for people like his own mom. Tom’s mom has since passed away. Now it is his father who requires care. Although mentally sound, like so many people his age, he is a fall risk. His live-in caregiver has been a blessing to our family. The ability to have live-in care has allowed our family to be loving children and grandchildren again instead of caregivers.
Our goal, our commitment as a company is to care for our clients as though they were members of our own family. We want, and expect, that all of our clients will be cared for as we want and expect Tom’s father will be cared for. Nothing less is acceptable.
Don Forlani | Executive Vice President
With two grandparents who battled and ultimately succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease and another who is showing signs of it, Don, like so many members of our BrightStar team, knows what it is like to care for a family member in need. Providing caring, compassionate care for our clients is what we at BrightStar do. An owner of the company, Don is responsible for the financial operations of BrightStar. He is the one in charge of paying the bills and making sure “the lights” remain on. In his free time, Don also manages the Houston BrightStar operation.
Gail Fusz, MS, RN,CHCE | Director of Nursing
Gail has over 30 years of home health experience. In her role at BrightStar, Gail oversees the nursing and caregiver teams and coordinates their orientation and training.
Gail conducts chart audits, performance improvement activities and quality assurance projects to ensure that BrightStar is always rendering the best care possible. She promotes professionalism among her nurses and encourages them to acquire new clinical skills.
Gail also teaches her nurses how to manage a caseload of clients using organizational skills.
Gail has an active weekend life with her husband and multiple pets.
She has a Labradoodle, an Australian cattle dog and a thoroughbred horse, named Stewart!
Crystal Fitpold, RN| Operations Manager
As our Operations Manager, Crystal is the “hub” of our office. In this capacity, she is responsible for managing all staffing processes, including management of office personnel, client scheduling and service, issue resolution, time tracking, payroll, and inside sales. She is the one who makes sure all of our clients, both individuals and institutions, receive the right caregiver to fit their particular needs. In her tenure at BrightStar, Crystal has served in almost every capacity. She began as a part-time Registered Nurse providing care for our clients, then as a Care Manager providing client care oversight, followed by serving as our Director of Nursing and now as our Operations Manager. She truly understands what it takes to provide quality care for our clients and the service their families expect.
Julie Fusz | Client Care Coordinator
Julie is the commiserate professional. Her primary responsibility is to ensure appropriate staffing at all the facilities that we serve.
As you can imagine, this can be a stressful, demanding job. Julie’s upbeat personality and “can do” attitude enables her to satisfy the needs of various facilities, now matter how demanding their needs may be. She truly is a “Bright Star.”
Monica John |Client Care Coordinator
Monica’s friendly voice is the first you may hear when you call our office. With a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and experience caring for a loved one, Monica has both a technical and personal understanding of the needs of our clients and the care they require. Her experience allows Monica to understand the importance of getting just the right fit between clients and caregivers. Her goal is to ensure that our clients are cared for as though they were members of our own family.
Denise Palmert | Payroll and Billing Specialist
Payroll and Billing Specialist, Denise Palmert, has been a key member of our BrightStar team for seven years.
Denise is the one our clients turn to when they have insurance and billing questions, and she never lets them down!
Working through the bureaucracy of an insurance company with their many rules and regulations is a daunting task.
Despite this, Denise always works in the best interest of our clients to ensure any and all obstacles are overcome.
She is truly a valuable asset to our BrightStar team.