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Published: Tuesday, 4/23/2013

R. Elizabeth Hickman, 1957-2013

Mercy official could simplify complex rules

BLADE STAFF

R. Elizabeth Hickman, an administrator at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center who managed the hospital system’s compliance department, died Saturday in the hospital. She was 55 and had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Her family said she was diagnosed with lymphoma 18 years ago, and it went into remission. However, it returned in 2011 and again went into remission, only to return again in February, said daughter Amy Hickman.

Mrs. Hickman of Sylvania Township was the corporate compliance officer for Mercy. Her responsibilities included ensuring that Mercy’s hospitals and facilities complied with regulations for receiving Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements.

“She had a pretty significant role in this organization. She was very passionate about working for Mercy. She believed in our mission,” said Andrea Price, the system’s chief executive officer and president. “She worked tirelessly to make sure the hospital system stayed in compliance.”

Ms. Price said Mrs. Hickman could talk about complicated governmental regulations in simple words that anyone could understand. “I think what made Beth unique was she had a very calming voice when she spoke to people, she put them at ease,” she said.

She was born on July 7, 1957, in Morrow, Ohio, in Warren County.

She was the valedictorian of her 1975 graduating class at Little Miami High School. She attended Miami University for two years and transferred to the University of Toledo, where she earned an accounting degree in 1979. She earned a master's in business administration from UT in 1985.

She started her professional career at the former Blue Cross of Northwest Ohio as a junior auditor in 1980. Later she was promoted to supervisor of Medicare audit.

She joined the former Riverside Hospital in 1985 as a reimbursement analyst. After the hospital merged with Mercy in 1997 she became regional director for corporate responsibility and internal corporate compliance officer.

Lisa Peters said her mother was devoted to her job at the hospital but took an interest in her children’s activites when she was not working.

“When I think of her passions, family would be number one, and then education and working hard,” she said.

Surviving are her husband of 33 years, Gregg; daughters, Amy Hickman and Linda Peters; son, Roger; brother, Dale Whitacre, and sister, Marcella Reatherford.

Visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. today in the Walker Funeral Home, 5155 Sylvania Ave.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday in Olivet Lutheran Church, 5840 Monroe St., Sylvania.

The family suggest tributes to the Lymphoma Research Foundation.

— Mark Reiter



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