Health system names community benefit officer


Stevi Riel. Courtesy Mercy Health

A health system has named a new community benefit officer who will also serve as executive director of a social services nonprofit.

Mercy Health, part of Livonia-based CHE Trinity Health, said this week that it has named Stevi Riel community benefit officer for Mercy Health in Muskegon and executive director of the Health Project nonprofit in Muskegon.

The Health Project, a Mercy Health "community benefit ministry," serves people in the area with little or no health insurance, proving access to health services, chronic disease management, health education, prevention and wellness.

Riel has worked for the Health Project since 2007 and most recently served as the operations manager and pharmaceutical access program manager.

The Health Project’s former executive director, Vondie Woodbury, has been named vice president of community benefit for CHE Trinity Health.

“I, of course, was completely honored and humbled,” Riel said. “I have worked there, going on seven years. It is the place that I want to be and being given this opportunity feels fantastic.”

Next chapter

Riel said the Health Project is in a position to be a key part of a making Muskegon and the lakeshore a great place to live and thrive.

“The Health Project will always be a center of excellence and a pilot site for new and innovative methods of engaging our community in improving their health and well-being,” Riel said.

Greg Loomis, president of Mercy Health Muskegon, said Riel’s proven leadership capabilities and passion for the work make her a natural choice for the position.

“Vondie Woodbury has left a tremendous legacy of service and innovation,” Loomis said. “There is no doubt that Stevi, who has extensive knowledge of local health care needs and our community benefit programs, will ensure the Health Project continues to be a national leader in this work.”

Under Woodbury’s leadership, the Health Project created the health coverage program known as Access Health, an employer-sponsored program for working uninsured employees to provide health coverage.

“Following in Vondie Woodbury’s footsteps, she is a visionary — there is no way I can fill her shoes,” said Riel, referencing her excitement in building on Woodbury’s work. “She taught me how to blaze a trail.”

Stevi Riel

At the Health Project, Riel has implemented the pharmaceutical access program, led community benefit operations and managed the community health worker program.

Riel also served at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid as an Innovations Advisor Program Appointee.

Riel said her experience at Health Project over the years will benefit her as the executive director: understanding the stress for the staff; the different challenges faced with the community; making decisions based on what’s best for the patient; and making sure those decisions align with Mercy Health.

Riel was awarded the Michigan Health and Hospital Association Patrick E. Ludwig Community Benefit award in 2010 and recognized as a Rising Hero in 2012 by The Alliance for Health.

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