Meet the Chief Financial Officers

They are the money people — they handle vast sums of money every year and make sure their organizations are on solid financial footing. They deal with budgeting, accounting, audits, cost analysis, data analytics, monthly reporting, revenue cycles, third-party payer contracting with the health insurance companies and much more. And constant changes in state and federal regulations and reimbursement structure only make their jobs a bit more challenging.

Tracy Wimmer

ConnextCare CFO

Played role in unifying operational procedures of various health care centers serving tens of thousands of patients

By Ken Sturtz

When Tracy Wimmer reflects on her career in accounting, she doesn’t have to look far to find the reason for her career choice.

Her mother started as a bank teller in 1969 and retired 50 years later from JPMorgan Chase as a branch manager. Wimmer says she fondly remembers going to work with her mother as a child.

“She always used to bring me into the branch and I would go right to the computers and right to the adding machines and just loved playing with all the buttons and numbers,” she says. “So, I pretty much knew what I wanted to do pretty early in life.”

Many parts of her job as chief financial officer of ConnextCare are reasons finance appealed to her in the first place.

Wimmer likes pulling numbers apart and digging down into them. Financial statements are often rolled up and require peeling back multiple layers to get to the bottom of things and ensure they’re accurate. It’s something that has always come easy to Wimmer and that she enjoys working on.

“I like knowing what makes up each line and does it make sense and should it balance at the end,” she says. “And if it doesn’t balance, why doesn’t it balance?”

Wimmer, of Blossvale, grew up in Oswego County. She had jobs with Community Bank and PAR Government Systems before moving to the United Way of the Valley & Greater Utica Area. During roughly eight years with the United Way, Wimmer was promoted to director of finance and administration.

She later worked in accounting for several food wholesalers before transitioning to a position as director of internal review and finance at Upstate Cerebral Palsy. She was hired as controller at ConnextCare in 2016 and promoted to chief financial officer in 2018.

Wimmer arrived at ConnextCare as the organization was continuing to regroup following a reorganization. In 2013, Northern Oswego County Health Services, the predecessor to ConnextCare, merged with two practices in Fulton and Oswego operated by Oswego County Opportunities as well as three of Oswego Health’s practices in Mexico, Parish and Phoenix. The organization already operated the Pulaski Health Center as well as school-based health centers in Oswego County.

Although the organization had grown to include six health care centers and was serving tens of thousands of patients, operations remained somewhat disjointed, Wimmer says. Each location tended to handle any number of processes their own way. Even patients often didn’t understand that all the offices were part of one unified health care system.

“They were kind of like their own little health centers operating by themselves more or less,” she says.

The situation improved in 2018 when the organization launched a rebranding campaign and changed its name to ConnextCare. The effort took hold and went a long way toward educating patients about the structure of the new organization, Wimmer says.

“From that point on we have done an exceptional job of molding processes and procedures and communication out to the patients,” she says. “When people see ConnextCare now they know we have six health care centers and they’re all one.”

Changes occurred behind the scenes as well to ensure ConnextCare was operating efficiently. Since the organization’s billing department is located in Pulaski it was important to make sure each location was following the same policies and procedures. It was also a matter of revising some of the processes. For example, at one point some offices were still faxing documents, Wimmer says. Now everyone follows a uniform process of scanning and emailing them.

Reforming ConnextCare’s processes wasn’t Wimmer’s only concern. She also became a part-time student, balancing work with going back to school to work on her master’s. Beginning in 2016 she completed two courses a semester. She received her master’s degree in health care leadership in December 2019.

“I’m a firm believer that you have to have education to advance in your career,” she says.

A few months after she completed her master’s, ConnextCare was rocked by the pandemic. The organization lost a third of its business at the onset because dental services shut down except for emergencies. Although they were able to get dental practices back up and running, the school-based centers also took a hit, Wimmer says. They still haven’t returned to their original volume.

All of that was concerning news for the person in charge of charting the organization’s finances.

The solution turned out to be telehealth. Before the pandemic ConnextCare had received a federal grant to purchase telehealth equipment. But the system hadn’t been rolled out for about a year due to reimbursement issues with insurance companies, Wimmer says.

When the pandemic suddenly made it very difficult to see patients in person, insurance companies reacted by loosening their previous restrictions on reimbursing for telehealth visits. With that, ConnextCare managed to roll out its telehealth system in just two weeks. All of the organization’s providers did well with the system, Wimmer says.

“I think that was kind of our saving grace,” she says. “We took a hit on volume, but we were still able to make up. We never had to let any staff go.”

Although the challenges brought by the pandemic have forced ConnextCare to adapt and made financial planning more uncertain, Wimmer says she still loves her job, the work being done to help people and the family-oriented atmosphere of the organization.

“I love knowing that the providers give back to the community every day,” she says. “It’s just a good feeling to come into work every day.”


Birthdate: Dec. 12, 1973

Birth Place: Syracuse  

Residence: Blossvale 

Education: Bachelor of Science in accounting, Empire State College; master’s in health care leadership, Empire State College.

Affiliations: Community Healthcare Association of New York State, Central New York Care Collaborative, Health Financial Management Association, Leadership Oswego County.

Personal: Husband, two adult children, 1-year-old grandchild.

Hobbies: Reading, cooking, baking, spending time with family. 

Above is an excerpt from the full article located here:

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