Over the past several years, your inbox was likely filled with blogs written by Mediware Senior Consultant Darlene D’Altorio-Jones. We are saddened to pass along the news that Darlene, our dear friend and colleague, passed away Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015.
As many of you know, Darlene was a caring and loving person who often went the extra mile to help others. Whether you were a friend, coworker, customer or a stranger on the internet looking for help, Darlene was the first one to lend a hand, kind word or dive a mile deep into the facts. And she went above and beyond to provide the resources to back up the information. She was thorough, thoughtful and a kind soul.
If you worked with her during a C.O.R.E. visit, talked with her at a trade show, attended her user conference presentations, read her blogs or listened in on her webinars, you knew her passion extended far beyond just a “job.” Day in and day out, she was an advocate for therapists and physicians working in rehabilitation units across the country. She was relentless in getting the answers you needed.
Darlene was a book of knowledge when it came to the rehabilitation therapy industry. The IRFPAI Manual and Proposed Rule and Final Rule were hundreds of pages long, and Darlene read each and every page for us year after year. When a regulation had the potential to change payment, or a rule was in jeopardy because of Congressional actions and the world needed to reach out to their legislators – and right away – she made sure we got the news out. She was the voice for so many in the rehabilitation world.
While dealing with her own challenges, her passion never stopped; she continued to write blogs and respond to emails and phone calls – that was just in her nature – helping others. It was just weeks ago that she sent an email to the team making sure we attended a vendor webinar – and then ensured our team followed up with the presenters to develop the information into marketing material. Her positive attitude and optimism never wavered.
Our clients honored her with the Susan M. Turley award in 2013, an award that honors a past MediServe employee
who lost her battle with cancer and who showed the same zest for life as Darlene. One client wrote this in her nomination: “Darlene is clearly passionate about her job… you ask a question and she’s on it for the answer. You see, Darlene doesn’t just see it as a way of helping clients out, but she also sees it as a way to educate herself… she’s an exceptional person with a passion for lifelong learning.” But Darlene, it was us who learned so much from you.
From her love of Mimi’s muffins (which she spoiled the office with on many occasions) to the pounds of holiday goodies she brought in for the company cookie exchange and the stories about her beloved bird and dog, the visits from her family and new adventures in Arizona to the thoughtful cards she left on our desks, we treasure and hold close the many memories.
Her presence in the office, on the internet and, quite frankly, in our industry, will be missed. Our general manager, Stuart Foster, said it best: “If you knew Darlene at all, you know she would have thanked us for being her work family and sent us many ‘blessings.’ Darlene, with much love and many blessings, may you finally rest in peace.”
Many have asked if a memorial has been established. Darlene requested that memorials be directed to A Better Chance (ABC), a program that offers scholarships to underserved children in order to give them access to higher education. Darlene was awarded a scholarship to that very organization. More information can be found on a web page created by family members, where you can also share your memories.
We extend our deepest sympathies to Darlene’s family, her husband Larry and her children.
-Michelle Caldwell, Stuart Foster & the Mediware family