Tom and Barb Koenig | President and Owners BrightStar Care in Schaumburg, Des Plaines, and Kane and DeKalb Counties 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 Care 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 and 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 to be cared for. Nothing less is acceptable.
Don Forlani | Executive Vice President As an owner of the company, Don is responsible for the financial operations of BrightStar Care. His dedication to innovation ensures that we are in contant pursuit to improve and enhance the care we provide. 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. In addition to all he does here in our office, Don also manages the North Houston BrightStar Care operation. His free time is dedicated to his wife and two beloved dogs.
Gail Fusz, MS, RN,CHCE | Director of Nursing Gail has over 30 years of home health experience. In her role at BrightStar Care, 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 we are 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, grandchildren, and a thoroughbred horse, named Stewart!
Crystal Fitpold, RN | Director of Operations As our Director of Operations, Crystal leads, manages, and holds all agency staff accountable to deliver consistent, safe, compassionate, and high-quality care to every client. She is the one who makes sure all of our clients, both individuals and organizations, receive the appropriate staff to fit their particular needs. In her tenure at BrightStar, Crystal has served in almost every capacity. She began as a Staff Nurse, providing care for our clients, then as a RN Care Manager providing client care oversight, followed by serving as our Director of Nursing and now as our Director of Operations. She truly understands what it takes to provide quality care for our clients and the service that their families expect..
Julie Fusz | Client Care Coordinator Julie's primary focus is to provide 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 enable her to satisfy the needs of various facilities, no matter how demanding their needs may be. Julie is a natural teacher and is at her best when she is training our staff on our mobile platform that allows them to clock in, out and chart remotely in realtime. With a laugh that keeps our whole office smiling, she truly is our "Bright Star."
Monica John, BSN | 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. She manages to schedule hundreds of shifts per week while keeping us laughing and reminding us that it can all be accomplished while having fun!
Liz Lorant | Client Care Coordinator Liz is the smiling face that greets our employees and clients when they arrive at our office. She demonstrates her versatility every day by managing a wide variety of responsibilities. She matches both clients and facilities with the best staff to meet there needs while also assisting in billing, payroll, and human resources. She is creative and kind and is known for developing close relationships with her clients. It is not uncommon for Liz to send her clients gifts or even their favorite soap when they can't get out to buy it themselves.
Denise Palmert | Payroll and Billing Specialist Our Payroll and Billing Specialist, Denise Palmert, has been a key member of our BrightStar team for nearly ten 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.
Erica Carlson | Northwest Suburban Community Liaison Erica's passion and enthusiasm is evident from the first time you meet her. With a background as a hospice consultant, Erica knows what it is like to work with clients and families in need. In addition to her Bachelor of Science degree in Health Promotion from Arizona State University Erica has recently earned both a Masters degree in Healthcare Administration and a Masters degree in Business Administration at A.T. Still University. Ursula Uracs, BSN, RN | Northwest Suburban Care Manager Ursula brings a wealth of experience to her role as Nurse Care Manager. She has worked with developmentally delayed adults, as an Emergency Room nurse, as a Medical/Surgical nurse, and a Hospice Case Manager before joining our BrightStar team. In her capacity as RN Care Manager, Ursula is responsible for managing the care of existing clients, completing assessments and plans of care for new clients, education and oversight of unlicensed staff, and completing a variety of clinical nursing activities.