Life Care Planning Team

Life Care Collaborative is very much a team of experts brought together to help assess the future healthcare needs of individuals devastated by injury or illness. As the Certified Life Care Planner, Valerie Purcell, RN, MBA, CPHQ, CSSBB, CLCP is the CEO and Chief Nurse Consultant. Stella Fitzgibbons, MD is our Team Internist. Ralph Mancini, MD is our Team Physiatrist. Others are added to a specific given case as specific expertise is required to generate the Life Care Plan. For example, where neurological care is a major component of care, we may have a Neurology expert join the team for that specific patient.

Bios of the Principals: 
Valerie Purcell RN MBA CLCPValerie Purcell, RN, MBA, CPHQ, CSSBB, CLCP, CEO: Licensed as a Registered Nurse in Texas and Florida and certified as a Life Care Planner by the International Commission on Healthcare Certification to provide Life Care Plans throughout the United States. After receiving an academic scholarship in Nursing from the State of New York, Valerie graduated Valedictorian of her class of 78 nursing students at St. Elizabeth College of Nursing, in Utica, New York, and continued her nursing studies at Nazareth College of Rochester while working as an operating room nurse and nurse educator at a major university teaching hospital in Rochester, New York. Since becoming a registered nurse in 1981, Valerie has a broad range of clinical experience, including a variety of operating room specialties, post-anesthesia care unit, orthopedic surgery, trauma, rehabilitation and critical care. Beginning in 1991 Valerie has been a hospital administrator, with varying responsibilities, including oversight of hospital and medical staff quality management programs for 28 clinical specialties, managed care quality management programs, regulatory compliance and accreditation, and working with physicians and other health care providers to improve systems and processes which affect patient care and clinical outcomes. She attained National Board Certification in Healthcare Quality Management in 1994, and has served as Treasurer and on the Board of Directors of the Texas Gulf Coast Association for Health Care Quality. In 1996, she was invited by the National Association for Healthcare Quality for a paper presentation on her success in designing and implementing an integrated medical staff and organizational quality management program for a large medical center healthcare system. Based on her experience in healthcare quality management, Valerie has been frequently asked to lecture and train groups of local, national and international level healthcare providers coming from places as far as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and China. Valerie holds an MBA in Healthcare Administration, Six Sigma Black Belt from Villanova University and completed Life Care Planning coursework from The University of Florida and obtained certification following examination by the International Commission on Health Care Certification. Since 1999, she has been a nurse consultant in the area of regulatory compliance for health care organizations, including medical schools, healthcare facilities and physician practices. Valerie has extensively consulted for plaintiff and defense firms in medical malpractice, product liability, mass torts, and other personal injury matters. She has utilized her comprehensive clinical background to augment her expertise as a certified Life Care Planner.
Stella Fitzgibbons MD croppedStella Fitzgibbons, M.D., Team Internist, specializes in primary care, hospital medicine. including intensive care units, long term acute care, skilled nursing facilities and acute rehabilitation facilities. Dr. Fitzgibbons received her Medical Degree from Baylor College of Medicine. She has a BS in Chemistry from Tulane University and a MS in Chemical Engineering Practice from MIT. She completed an Internal Medicine residency at Baylor College of Medicine, and subsequently completed a fellowship in Emergency Medicine, also at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Fitzgibbons is board certified in Internal Medicine. She is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and Society of Hospital Medicine. She has served on the faculties of Baylor College of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center and Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr. Fitzgibbons has written extensively for the lay press about health care issues and serves on the board of directors of Truth About Nursing, which works to strengthen the relationship between various healthcare professions. She is fluent in Spanish and Russian. Dr. Fitzgibbons provides exceptional insight into the many clinical issues that can be encountered in patients who have suffered catastrophic illnesses.

Mancini_Ralph-RRalph Mancini, M.D., Team Physiatrist is a physician specializing in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), a medical specialty helping people with disabilities (neurological, musculoskeletal, pain) achieve their optimal level of strength, mobility and self-sufficiency. He has been in practice in Houston since 1976. The field of PM&R is one of the original specialties using a team concept in patient management. The whole patient – biological, psychological and social – is considered in comprehensive, multidisciplinary management. Dr. Mancini has focused the majority of his career on the complexities of inpatients and their disabilities; their early adjustments and training towards maximizing functional recovery; their transitioning back to family, community and productivity. Dr. Mancini is board certified in PM&R. He is a member of many local, state and national professional organizations and has a clinical faculty appointment with Baylor College of Medicine Department of PM&R. He is current and former medical director of multiple health care facilities in greater west and northwest Houston and the Medical Chief of Staff of Memorial Hermann Continuing Care Hospital, 2004-2005. Dr. Mancini’s effective and innovative leadership style allows him to work side-by-side with hospital administrations, fellow physicians, and other health care personnel to improve rehabilitative care delivery in Houston. He has been voted one of the “top docs” in Houston by H Texas Magazine

Other  Experts for the Collaborative:  On a case-by-case basis we may bring in experts with backgrounds in nursing, pediatric nursing, pediatric physical medicine and rehabilitation, pediatric neurology, vocational rehabilitation, occupational therapy, physical therapy, neurology, nephrology or other internal medicine subspecialties, psychiatry and others. These members of the Collaborative may contribute to creating the life care plan, and where appropriate at the election of the attorney, may testify as to the appropriateness of the plan.

Full CVs are available on request.