Remembering Terry Leone
The National Advisory Board (NAB) shares sentiments and stories about an AAPC national leader and friend.
I learned of Terrance (Terry) Leone’s, CPC, CPC-I, CPC-C, CIRCC, passing on Facebook. On January 4, 2016, Rhonda Buckholtz, CPC, CPCI, CPMA, CRC, CHPSE, CENTC, CGSC, CPEDC, COBGYN, posted, “This great man is no longer with us. Terry was a great leader, a passionate and compassionate past board president. I was proud to call him friend and mentor. May God bless his family.” I was shocked.
I didn’t get the opportunity to serve on the NAB with Terry, but he was the one who encouraged me to apply for the NAB. During the AAPC National Conference in 2008, the NAB hosted an event for anyone interested in learning more about it. It was during that event that I met Terry. His interest was genuine and his passion for our profession was evident. We talked about radiology, AAPC, and even our home towns. There were other members hovering around eager to speak with him. As I politely excused myself, he told me I would be great for the NAB. I did apply in 2008, and was selected as a member of the AAPC Chapter Association.
A Resounding Affect
I knew if Terry had such an affect on me, there were more accolades, memories, and stories to be shared by those who knew him well and served on the NAB with him. If you never had the opportunity to meet him, here is a glimpse into his character and influence as an AAPC member, NAB leader, healthcare business professional, and friend.
Nancy Clark, CPC, COC, CPB, CPMA, CPC-I
Elberon, New Jersey
Terry was one of the friendliest people I have ever known. I approached him at a conference with questions about becoming a NAB member. We spoke for over an hour, and I felt as though I had known him for years. He encouraged me to apply for the NAB. He told me how much he enjoyed meeting AAPC members, and how he thought I would, too. He was right. Terry encouraged me to begin one of the most remarkable experiences of my life. For that, I will always remember him. AAPC has lost one of its true stars.
Julie Croly, CPC, CPC-I, CPC-P
Terry gave each of us on the NAB who served with him a pewter tree. It stood for the strength of coders, the NAB, and AAPC. The branches stood for how we “branch out” to help our fellow coders, and the overall strength and growth of the profession. From the day he gave me mine, I have displayed it proudly on my desk.
I try not to focus on the sadness of his passing, but how he touched so many people by being such a wonderful person, colleague, and friend.
Terry’s pewter trees represent the strength and growth of fellow coders.
Gail Donlin, CPC
I first met Terry when he came to my facility to audit our radiology coding. It was from that meeting, we developed our working relationship; and it was through his efforts, I was elected to the NAB. We both shared a love of radiology coding, especially interventional radiology. He was my mentor and my friend.
David Dunn, MD, FACS,
CIRCC, COC, CCVTC, CCC, CCS, RCC
I thought very highly of Terry, knowing him for the past eight or nine years. He was a family man in the true sense and I respected him for that. I worked with Terry on the NAB and found him very loyal to AAPC. He worked very diligently during his tenure on behalf of the NAB. Terry encouraged me to run for NAB president and because of Terry and his mentoring, I ran and thoroughly enjoyed myself — all because of Terry.
When my son was considering Cornell, Terry was very helpful in our planning for a trip to visit the college, which is relatively close to where Terry lived. He even said if my son went there, he would be happy to help if an emergency arose, as getting to Ithaca from Nashville does take time. Terry once told me he went to a hospital in Buffalo where a friend’s son was being prepared for an emergency appendectomy and stayed until the parents could travel there. I will truly miss Terry Leone.
Linda Duckworth, CPC, CHC
Lone Jack, Missouri
I had the pleasure of serving on the NAB with Terry for two years. I appreciated his sense of “calm during the storm.” If we, as a board, had issues to address that would uncover varying — and sometimes strong — opinions, we could count on Terry to appreciate both sides and value our input. I felt that he was a strong leader and a wonderful representative of coders of all specialties across the country. Most of all, he was a kind man and a cherished friend.
Linda R. Farrington, CPC, CPMA, CPC-I, CRC
Colorado Springs, Colorado
It was a pleasure working with Terry on the NAB. He was a class act. I observed many times where Terry put others first. He was a kind man and a thoughtful leader. He will be missed in our coding community. May his wife and family find peace and comfort.
Rita Genovese, CPC, PCS
The one thing that stands out in my mind when I think of Terry is his smile and the warmth he projected towards everyone. He was approachable and always willing to answer any question asked of him. He was genuine and a true gentleman.
Melody S. Irvine, CPC, CPMA, CEMC, CFPC, CPB, CPC-I, CCS-P, CMRS
I immediately felt a bond with Terry when I met him because reminded me so much of my brother. I used to tease him of his fast talking, New York accent. I also vividly remember the day he called and asked me to serve on the 2011–2013 NAB in the officer member relations position. He said, “Mel, we need your sense of humor on the board.” He respected my opinions, and more importantly, we could always make each other laugh. He was compassionate about his family and the coding field. I will miss you Terry and your great smile, and you will always have a special place in my heart for the opportunities you shared and gave to me.
Jaci Johnson Kipreos, CPC, CPMA, CEMC, COC, CPC-I
San Diego, California
As the current NAB president, I have often looked back at some of Terry’s articles from Healthcare Business Monthly (then, Coding Edge) for support and guidance. He offered a lot of wisdom during his tenure on the NAB. We were fortunate to have him as a part of this organization. His voice will certainly be missed.
Jonnie Massey, CPC, CPC-P, CPC-I, CPMA, AHFI
I served on the NAB with Terry and came to know him as a friend. We exchanged birthday wishes and found time to catch up at conferences. Terry always made time to talk to everyone. He had a warm and inviting smile. It was important for him to be with the chapter members at conferences. You’d find him walking around the conference and talking to the attendees. He wanted to make sure everyone felt welcomed and appreciated. Terry’s heart was as big as his smile. He had a way of lighting up the room. Terry spoke often of the importance of his family and taking care of them. I had the pleasure of meeting his family at one of the conferences; he was very proud of them. I will always respect Terry’s values and his respect for others, and have fond memories of Terry. My heart goes out to Terry’s family and friends. He will be greatly missed.
Michael D. Miscoe, Esq., CPC, CASCC, CUC, CCPC, CPCO, CPMA
Central City, Pennsylvania
While it’s both polite and common to say nice things following anyone’s passing, Terry is truly deserving of any accolade. Terry helped shape AAPC into the professional organization it is today. His passion for coding was infectious, and his dedication to AAPC and its members was noteworthy. I had the honor of serving with him on the 2007-2009 NAB when he was president-elect. That experience and his example helped kindle my own passion to continue his work in advancing the profession of coding. His dedication to learning, professionalism, and service is something we can all strive to emulate. His passing is a great loss to the family of coders that he leaves behind. He will be sorely missed.
Suzanne Quinton, CPC, COSC, CPC-I
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
I served with Terry on the 2007-2009 NAB and, although I didn’t get to know him well on a personal level, he was a tremendous asset to the board. He was well respected in his field, and his opinions and ideas were well perceived by everyone. He was somewhat quiet, compared to the excitement level of Susan Ward, Cyndi Stewart, Yvonne Dailey, Jonny Massey, and myself, but he was a game player when it came to performing skits. We were a particularly close group of board members; the loss of Terry has been felt far and wide.
Terri Scales, CPC, CCS-P
From 2009 to 2011, I got to know the wonderful man that was Terry Leone. Terry and I served on the AAPC NAB together. The coding world had a great leader who took us over the 100,000 member threshold. I remember the AAPC National Conference where Terry was introduced as our new NAB president. He was so excited to encourage our members to stay strong through a changing time in healthcare. Coders were being challenged by the introduction of the electronic health record. He reassured us that our chosen careers were more important than ever and that AAPC credentials were the strongest and most respected in healthcare. He was right! Terry will always be remembered as a strong leader to AAPC and its members.
Toni L. Slocum, CPC, CPC-P, AHFI
I was honored to call Terry my friend and that was due to him. Once you met him, that was it; he always made you feel like you were a friend. Terry and I spent a good amount of time talking about our mutual love of the New York Yankees and my favorite: listening to him tell me stories about his family. Although I never met them, he spoke so highly and lovingly about them; it was as if I knew them, too. Terry was truly a gentleman’s gentleman, and the world will be a little less wonderful without him.
Arlene Smith, CPC, CEMC, COBGC
I served on the NAB from 2007-2009 with Terry. I remember him as warm, friendly, and always ready to listen. We worked together behind the scenes at conferences, and he made those long days fun. Such a wealth of coding knowledge, I enjoyed attending his presentations at conferences after our time together on the NAB ended. He always greeted me with a smile and remembered me from my time on the NAB with him. He will be greatly missed.
Angelica Stephens, RHIT, CPMA, COC, COSC, CPC, CCS-P
Albuquerque, New Mexico
I did not have the opportunity to meet Terry, but I can assure you that he will never be forgotten. As a radiology coder, I refer quite often to his article “Seven Tips for Diagnostic Radiology Coding Success.”* He touched our lives in many different ways.
* If you’d like to read the article “Seven Tips for Diagnostic Radiology Coding Success,” see the September 2010 issue of AAPC’s Coding Edge.
Cynthia Stewart, CPC, COC, CPMA, CPC-I, CPMA
I had the pleasure of knowing Terry both professionally and personally. I met Terry while serving on the NAB and was his president-elect while he served his term as president of the NAB. Terry was very passionate and outspoken about AAPC, its members, and their needs. He could often be found at conference in a quiet corner speaking with members, many of whom he had just met. It was his goal to meet as many members as possible in the short time allowed during conference. Terry was always willing to help or offer advice when assistance was needed. He was a caring and compassionate colleague with a unique sense of humor and a boisterous laugh. His absence will be felt for many years to come.
Beverly Welshans, CHC, CPMA, CPC, CPCI, COC, CCSP
Buffalo, New York
For me, Terry was synonymous with AAPC. I first encountered Terry in 2001 when he was traveling from Rochester to Buffalo to get the Buffalo chapter off the ground. He devoted countless hours to establishing the chapter, and always provided emotional and financial support. Terry encouraged me to run for the NAB, and serving under him was a pleasure. Over the years, I frequently reached out to him for expert advice on radiology compliance. I had several opportunities to see him with his family at AAPC conferences, and he appeared to embrace them with the same dedication and enthusiasm that he did AAPC. He will be sorely missed.
Carrying on Your Legacy
As I read through the memories shared by past and current NAB members, I wonder if Terry knew the impression he left on AAPC and the members he encountered along the way. My guess is he saw himself as “one of us” and not fully realizing the catalyst he had become.
Thank you, Terry, for being a steadfast leader, a mentor, a consummate educator and, above all, a friend. Your contributions will not be forgotten.
Angela Jordan, CPC, is managing consultant at Medical Revenue Solutions, LLC, with more than 25 years of experience in the healthcare field, and has been a member of AAPC for 15 years. Her career path has taken her from a small family practice, radiology, large physician services group to a managing consultant. Jordan is a member of the AAPC NAB and has held many offices in the Kansas City, Mo., local chapter, including president. In 2009, she served as a member of the AAPC Chapter Association board of directors and was the chair in 2012.