Rachel Depperschmidt (’16)
Rachel Depperschmidt has committed her professional life to service, advocacy, and justice education to benefit the poor and under-resourced in Memphis. Rachel believes in the Lasallian values and wholeheartedly takes CBU’s “Enter to Learn, Leave to Serve,” as a life directive.
Rachel graduated from CBU in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. She launched her career as a temporary employee in a post-baccalaureate program at Church Health, a faith-based charitable integrated care system in Memphis. She served Church Health as a graduate assistant, Quality and Research Coordinator, and today serves as Quality Manager.
Rachel’s team approaches their care delivery each day with Church Health’s mantra in mind: “patients should receive the type of quality healthcare that you would want your mother to receive.” The mantra holds regardless of insurance status. Among their duties, the team is responsible for maintaining and analyzing all population health level data for patients. Data-driven analysis helps them articulate patient needs and the impact of the care they receive at Church Health.
Under Rachel’s leadership, the Church Health Quality team secured the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Recognition. NCQA’s PCMH Recognition identifies primary care practices that meet key standards for quality care. “We are always looking for best practices to improve our patient outcomes, and it’s my responsibility to use data to understand when our interventions are successful or when they could use a new strategy.” She and her team also used data to obtain a perfect Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) score from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The MIPS program determines Medicare payment adjustments. The program is designed to tie payments to quality and cost-efficient care, drive improvement in care processes and health outcomes, increase the use of healthcare information, and reduce the cost of care.
“Our team is here to increase underserved patient care and improve their ability to be well in an American health care system, built to leave people in health care gaps. We aim to make it possible for more Memphians to access quality health care because we believe everyone should be able to live with dignity, vitality, and joy.”
In August of 2019, Rachel graduated with a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology from the University of Memphis. Her education, combined with experience shaping interventions for underserved communities, led to her serving on the Testing Subcommittee and the COVID Safety Net Collaborative Task Force, subgroups of the Shelby County and City of Memphis Joint COVID Task Force.
“To ensure that our approach was data-driven in caring for our communities that needed it most, I developed a prioritization algorithm for COVID Testing expansion to help guide testing resources where intervention was needed.”
Rachel became one of the leading data architects for the Shelby County response team early in the COVID-19 pandemic. She created the county and cities prioritization matrix, which purposefully prioritized communities that lacked access to testing and vaccines, ultimately redirecting and wisely caring for those most vulnerable and least able to access medical care. She did all this without being asked and without taking time away from her regular job. “My method for prioritization was shared to health departments across the state as a best practice for designing COVID systems response to prioritize underserved communities.”
Rachel also hosted a series of COVID webinars open to the State of Tennessee free or charitable clinics serving uninsured patients through the Tennessee Charitable Care Network. Church Health is the largest charitable care clinic in Tennessee, so Rachel used the time to share all of Church Health’s workforce safety protocols and clinical COVID workflows. The webinars were for Tennessee clinics, but there was so much interest in COVID practices, they eventually opened up to participants nationwide.
I’m really grateful for the time spent at CBU and my professors who served as both academic and life advisors! I’m touched by the Lasallian values and feel the influence on my career. We’re born with gifts and talents, and we have a responsibility to use them for the betterment of our neighbors and community.