At Emergency Physicians Professional Association (EPPA) our strong leadership consists of hospital medical directors and a senior management team focused on the success of our providers, employees and the care we deliver. The strong support provided by this team greatly contributes to the overall success of our organization. We work together to provide excellence in emergency medicine.
Robert Thomas, MD
President and Chief Executive Officer, EPPA
Dr. Thomas obtained his medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin and completed his emergency medicine residency at Hennepin County Medical Center where he was chief resident. He is board certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He joined EPPA in 2002 and has served as the emergency department medical director at Mercy Hospital, a Level II Trauma Center. Dr. Thomas has been an integral part of bringing new care delivery models to the EPPA team. Dr. Thomas is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of EPPA and The Urgency Rooms.
Tom Klassen, MHA
Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, EPPA
Mr. Klassen obtained his Master of Healthcare Administration degree from the University of Minnesota in 1988. He has more than 20 years of healthcare administrative experience in both provider and health plan operations. Mr. Klassen joined EPPA as its Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in 2010. Prior leadership roles include Chief Corporate Officer at Saint Mary’s/Duluth Clinic Health System (SMDC); administrator at Duluth Clinic, Managed Care Development Director at Wisconsin’s Physicians Service Health Insurance and at Abbott Northwestern Hospital/Lifespan. Mr. Klassen is passionate about and committed to building high performance teams, providing strategic focus and achieving operational excellence.
Eric Haug, MD
Medical Director, Allina Buffalo Hospital
Dr. Haug obtained his medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School and completed his emergency medicine residency at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is board-certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Haug joined EPPA in 2003 and has served EPPA in a variety of administrative capacities including being on its Board of Directors, Finance & Audit Committee, and Shareholder Advisory Committee. Dr. Haug is currently Assistant Medical Director at Allina Mercy Hospital and also serves as an Educational Liaison there, with responsibilities of educating, orienting, and acting as a preceptor for medical students, physician assistant students, and residents at Mercy Hospital. In September 2015, Dr. Haug was appointed an Assistant Professor in Emergency Medicine at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Haug is the new Medical Director of the Emergency Department at Allina Buffalo Hospital.
Michael Schwemm, MD
Medical Director, Allina Mercy Hospital
Dr. Schwemm graduated from the College of Medicine at the University of Iowa, and completed his emergency medicine residency at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics where he was Chief Resident. He is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine, and practiced as an emergency physician in Maine for two years before joining EPPA in 2009. Within EPPA, Dr. Schwemm has served as the Medical Director of Mercy Hospital since 2013. Prior to 2013, he held the role of Assistant Medical Director beginning in 2011 and Assistant Medical Director Meeting Chair in 2012. He also served as Vice Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Mercy Hospital. In addition to these roles, he continues to be an active member of the hospital’s Quality Council and Stroke Committee.
David Romans, DO
Medical Director, Allina Unity Hospital
Dr. Romans graduated from Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery in 2003. He completed his emergency medicine residency at Albert Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 2007. Dr. Romans joined EPPA in 2007 and has served as Chair of the Unity Hospital Emergency Department and became Medical Director of the department in 2012. He is a diplomat of the American Board of Emergency Medicine and a Fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM). Dr. Romans is active in AAEM and American College of Emergency Physicians and is currently a member of the EPPA Board of Directors and the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Zoo Foundation. Dr. Romans plays an active role in the Allina Health System as a member of the Emergency Medicine Care Council, Chair of the Emergency Medicine Workgroup on Alcohol Related Disorders and as a member of the Mercy/Unity Physician Advisory Group.
Kurt Belk, MD
Medical Director, CentraCare St. Cloud Hospital
Dr. Belk graduated from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and completed his emergency medicine residency at Darnall Army Community Hospital where he was Chief Resident. Dr. Belk served as a physician in the US Army, serving as department chief of the ED and Associate Residency Director at Darnall Army Community Hospital; he was deployed to Kuwait in 1996. He is certified through the American Board of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Belk joined EPPA in 1999 and served as Medical Director for Unity Hospital and Chief of Staff. He has developed a mid-level provider program for EPPA that has been piloted and integrated into the Unity Hospital Emergency Department care delivery model. Dr. Belk went on to serve as the Medical Director for The Urgency Rooms in Eagan, Vadnais Heights and Woodbury and has since moved to become Medical Director of CentraCare’s St. Cloud Hospital in July of 2016.
John Houghland, MD
Medical Director, Fairview Ridges Hospital
Dr. Houghland obtained his medical degree from the University of Washington School of Medicine and completed his residency training at Denver Health Residency in Emergency Medicine, where he was a chief resident. He is board-certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Houghland joined EPPA in 2011 and in 2015 was named Medical Director and Chief of Emergency Medicine at Fairview Ridges Hospital, where he co-chairs the Emergency Services Quality Improvement Committee. In addition, Dr. Houghland has served as the lead physician liaison for EPPA Scribes at our Fairview sites and has had an active role in process improvement initiatives within the Fairview system. He was the Assistant Medical Director at Fairview Southdale Hospital prior to his current role as Medical Director at Fairview Ridges Hospital.
Michael Rock, MD
Medical Director, Fairview Southdale Hospital
Dr. Rock graduated Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and completed his emergency medicine residency at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He joined EPPA in 1997 and became Medical Director & Chief, Emergency Services at Fairview Ridges Hospital in 2001. He has played a key role in the emergency services initiatives for the Fairview Health System. He is a member of the Fairview Ridges Hospital Board of Directors. Dr. Rock has served EPPA in many capacities including Board of Directors, peer review, and Liability Carrier International, Ltd. Board of Directors. Dr. Rock has been active in the Minnesota Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians serving on the Board of Directors and chairing various committees. He has served as councilor for national American College of Emergency Physicians and on subcommittees for American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Rock is now bringing his leadership skills to another one of our hospitals as the Medical Director for Fairview Southdale Hospital. He is actively involved in recruiting new EPPA physicians and clinicians and is devoted to the success of the organization.
Brent Walters, MD
Medical Director, Health Partners Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital
Dr. Walters received his undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota where he majored in Genetics and Cell Biology. He received his Master’s in Medical Genetics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School in 2007. He completed his Emergency Medicine residency at Regions Hospital in 2010 where he served as Chief Resident. He is currently boarded in Emergency Medicine and is a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians. Dr. Walters has a strong interest in quality improvement and completed an Advanced Training Program project surrounding the total cost of care in patients with cellulitis. He worked on the development of several clinical guidelines including management of patients with cellulitis, atrial fibrillation, and antibiotic stewardship. He also contributes to the continuing education of physicians and nurses. He teaches physician simulation events in patient experience and Emergency Medicine critical procedures as well as participating as a regular lecturer during EPPA’s annual emergency education courses.
Carolyn McClain, MD
Medical Director, The Urgency Room
Carolyn McClain, M.D., is a practicing emergency physician at Methodist and Unity Hospitals as well as The Urgency Rooms. She graduated from Johns Hopkins Medical School and completed her residency in emergency medicine at Hennepin County Medical Center. As a partner with Emergency Physicians Professional Association (EPPA) she is the Medical Director of the Urgency Rooms. She sits on the Board of Directors for MMIC, a medical malpractice insurance company. Dr. McClain also has a passion for teaching and has lectured on emergency medicine topics throughout the Twin Cities as well as more exotic locations such as Buenos Aires, Argentina. She developed and teaches a twice yearly 2 day educational course in emergency nursing to help nurses achieve their Certification in Emergency Nursing. She is currently the President of the Twin Cities Medical Society and is the former Chair of the Minnesota Medical Association Quality Committee.
Jason Arndt, MSN, MBA
Director of Operations, The Urgency Room
Jason Arndt joined EPPA in 2010 with the initial opening of The Urgency Room in Woodbury. He holds a Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Nursing with plans to further his education. His clinical skillset working in emergency nursing at Regions and Mercy bring evidence-based care to the treatment of all patients. His time with Life Link III as a flight nurse, Trauma Nurse Clinician at Regions, and flight nurse with the MN Air National Guard has taught him to work well under pressure and consistently focus on accomplishing objectives. During his military career he served in Macedonia, Kuwait, Oman, Iraq, Germany, Afghanistan, and multiple stateside deployments. Jason was instrumental in all phases from breaking ground to grand opening of the Urgency Room locations in Woodbury, Eagan and Vadnais Heights. He looks forward to future challenges within the organization and is eager to be involved in the future growth of EPPA.
Michael Bryant, MD
Medical Director, EPPA Scribe Program
Dr. Bryant graduated from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and completed his emergency medicine residency at Michigan State University Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies. He joined EPPA in 2003 and serves as Medical Director of the EPPA Scribe Program. Dr Bryant has implemented our scribe program in each of our hospital systems as well as external sites. He also serves as an EPIC emergency medical record consultant for each of our hospital systems. Past roles have included Assistant Medical Director at Mercy Hospital and Chair of the Assistant Medical Director Committee. In addition, Dr. Bryant was integral in the development of The Urgency Room.
Peter Currie, MD
Medical Director of Quality, EPPA
Dr. Currie graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School and completed his residency in emergency medicine at Hennepin County Medical Center. He is certified in emergency medicine by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Currie joined EPPA in 2005 and has held a variety of leadership positions including Quality Assistant, Peer Review, and Assistant Medical Director at Unity Hospital. Dr. Currie is currently the Medical Director of Quality with responsibilities including quality improvement, peer review, education, and risk management.
Timothy Johnson, MD
Reimbursement Advisor, EPPA
Dr. Johnson graduated from the University of Washington School Of Medicine and completed his emergency medicine residency at Hennepin County Medical Center. He joined EPPA in 2003 and is certified through the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine and an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians. He is currently EPPA’s Physician Reimbursement Advisor Officer. He is Chairman of the Reimbursement Committee of the Minnesota Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and is Minnesota’s Emergency Medicine Representative to the Medicare Carrier Advisory Committee.
Chad Strathman, JD
General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, EPPA
Mr. Strathman is a graduate of the University of Iowa, College of Law. Prior to joining EPPA, his primary practice areas included litigation, labor and employment law, and commercial disputes. He joined the EPPA team in 2008 as the in house counsel, and his areas of responsibility for the group include malpractice litigation, contractual development and review, consultation to EPPA’s limited liability corporations, peer review, risk management, human resources, corporate compliance and quality improvement. Mr. Strathman’s expertise is readily available to EPPA physicians for consultation in all areas of their practice.
Kristi Rennich, CPA
Director of Finance, EPPA
Kristi Rennich is a certified public accountant with more than 20 years of experience in tax planning, public accounting, and medical industry financial management. As leader of the Finance, Accounting and Payroll Departments, Ms. Rennich directs EPPA’s financial reporting, cash management, payroll, accounts payable, and physician benefits. In addition, she provides business consulting and financial modeling analysis to support EPPA’s strategic initiatives. Before joining EPPA, Ms. Rennich as a Senior Accountant with Olsen Thielen & Co., Ltd., and served as Director of Sales Tax Audits Division for the South Dakota Department of Revenue.
Manager, Information Technology, EPPA
James Galicia was born and raised in the Bronx, New York where he started his information technology career. He worked as an IT consultant for Verizon until September 2001 then decided to look for new opportunities and settled in Minnesota and working for Fairview Health Services. Mr. Galicia joined EPPA in 2010. His dedication and passion for information technology helps EPPA with everyday IT challenges. James also supplies all of the technical support for The Urgency Room, EPPA’s three stand-alone emergency care facilities. His extensive experience in healthcare technologies and his ablity to implement change make James a valuable asset to EPPA.
Stacy Ross, CCS
Manager, Coding Services
Stacy Ross received her coding education at the College of St. Catherine in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is a certified coding specialist and a member of the American Health Information Management Association. Prior to joining EPPA, she worked in coding and management for multispecialty physician practices in the Twin Cities. She joined EPPA in 1999, and her areas of responsibility include coding, reimbursement, compliance and physician education.
Manager, Marketing & Business Development, EPPA and The Urgency Room
Becky Leagjeld received her education at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. She has over 10 years of experience in the healthcare field. Becky joined the EPPA team in 2009 and currently operates as the Manager of Marketing and Business Development. She is responsible for the marketing objectives for EPPA and The Urgency Room. Becky worked as part of a core team responsible for the build and implementation of the three Urgency Room sites. She works closely with leadership to support the overall business goals of EPPA and The Urgency Room with strategic marketing, business development, and communications goals.
Manager, Business Services, EPPA
Erin Goetz is a graduate of Boston University with more than 10 years of experience in the healthcare revenue cycle. She joined EPPA in 2007 and currently serves as the Manager of Business Services. In addition to overseeing the Business Services and Guest Services teams, she is responsible for EPPA and the Urgency Room’s billing processes, accounts receivable systems and data analysis.
Manager, Human Resources & Benefits
Char earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Metropolitan State University and is a member of Society for Human Resources Management and Twin Cities Human Resource Association. Joining EPPA in 2001, Char has over 20 years of experience working in human resources generalist roles supporting benefits, employee relations, compensation, worker compensation, compliance and more. Prior to joining the EPPA Team, Char provided human resources support in small to mid-sized post-secondary, allied health organizations.