PPM’s expertise in defending exclusively anesthesia-related medical malpractice claims distinguishes us from all other medical malpractice carriers. Our unrivaled anesthesia-specific focus is driven by the unique composition of our Claims Department, comprised of Claims Attorneys and Claims Specialists with over 100 combined years of experience handling anesthesia claims. Since 1987, PPM policyholders have reported over 16,000 adverse outcomes, including a combination of more than 4,600 anesthesia claims and lawsuits. At any given time, the Claims Department maintains an active caseload of nearly 400 files, the majority of which are in active litigation.
Wade D. Willard, JD -- President and Chief Operating Officer
Mr. Willard joined PPM in 1997 and was promoted to Senior Claims Attorney in 2000. In 2008 Mr. Willard assumed responsibility of the Claims Department as the Claims Department Supervisor and was promoted to Vice President-Claims in 2010. He was elected President and Chief Operating Officer in November 2017. In addition to his responsibilities as President and COO, Mr. Willard oversees the Claims Department attorneys and staff who manage approximately three hundred-eighty litigation files in over thirty states. In addition to managing the customary operations of the Claims Department, Mr. Willard regularly speaks at national and regional society meetings and conducts on-site risk management seminars.
Mr. Willard is a graduate of Washburn University School of Law. Prior to joining Preferred Physicians Medical in 1997, he clerked for the Kansas Medical Society and Kansas Medical Mutual Insurance Company.
Brian J. Thomas, JD -- Vice President-Risk Management
Mr. Thomas joined PPM in 1999 and was promoted to Vice President-Risk Management in October 2015. With over twenty-eight years of insurance industry experience, Mr. Thomas has focused the past twenty-two years exclusively on providing risk management services to anesthesia providers and defending high severity medical negligence litigation. Mr. Thomas is also Editor of PPM’s risk management newsletter, Anesthesia & the Law. Mr. Thomas was elected to the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation’s (APSF) Board of Directors in 2019, and serves on the APSF’s Editorial Board and Corporate Advisory Council.
Mr. Thomas has authored or co-authored in several prominent publications, including international, national, and state anesthesia journals such as Anesthesia & Analgesia, ASA Monitor, APSF Newsletter, Communique and Scope. Mr. Thomas has conducted over 250 on-site and virtual risk management seminars, and frequently lectures on anesthesia risk management topics for national, regional, and state medical society meetings and other health care organizations.
Mr. Thomas is a 1995 graduate of Washburn University School of Law. Before joining PPM, he served as in-house counsel to several national insurance companies where his duties included the management and supervision of claims and litigation.
Tracey Dujakovich, JD -- Senior Claims Attorney
Ms. Dujakovich joined PPM in 2010. Ms. Dujakovich is responsible for handling a wide range of cases in the eastern United States with a concentration in New Jersey and New York. As a Senior Claims Attorney, she is responsible for the overall strategy and day-to-day management of files, including directing settlement discussions and attending trials. Ms. Dujakovich is also active in PPM’s risk management efforts conducting on-site risk management seminars. Prior to joining PPM, Ms. Dujakovich managed multi-specialty claims for five years with the Illinois State Medical Insurance Exchange. Ms. Dujakovich also worked in private practice for five years defending general liability and medical malpractice lawsuits.
Tracey is a 1991 graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.
Paul Lefebvre, JD -- Senior Claims Attorney
Mr. Lefebvre joined PPM in 2018. As Senior Claims Attorney, Mr. Lefebvre manages moderate and high severity claim and litigation files. Mr. Lefebvre is also involved in PPM’s risk management program conducting on-site seminars and serving as a resource for policyholders.
Mr. Lefebvre is a 2010 graduate of Saint Louis University Law School, where he attained certificates in health law and clinical health care ethics. Prior to joining PPM, Mr. Lefebvre served as General Counsel for the Missouri State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts.
Judy Simon, JD -- Senior Claims Attorney
Ms. Simon joined PPM in 2021. As a Senior Claims Attorney, Ms. Simon handles claims and litigation files along with providing risk management and advice to insureds.
Simon obtained her Juris Doctor from the University of Kansas School of Law and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Research College of Nursing. Ms. Simon brings years of litigation experience in private practice along with her experience in healthcare as a registered nurse.
Shelley Strome -- Senior Claims Specialist
Ms. Strome joined PPM in 2000 after handling medical negligence claims for eight years with the Kansas Medical Mutual Insurance Company. In addition, Ms. Strome previously worked as a legal assistant with the Kansas Healthcare Stabilization Fund, the State’s excess insurance provider. Ms. Strome is a graduate of Washburn University where she received a degree in public administration in 1994 and her legal assistant degree in 1989.