Showing posts with label Marisa Geitner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marisa Geitner. Show all posts

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Founder and C.E.O. of Heritage Christian Services to Retire

Robert Pieters
Robert Pieters – founder, president and C.E.O. of Heritage Christian Services – will retire Dec. 31 after 26 years of service, leaving a legacy of agency growth and vitality.

Pieters, named the 2010 Executive of the Year by the Rochester Business Journal, will continue to serve Heritage Christian by joining its board in 2013. His successor will be Marisa Geitner, who became executive vice president and chief operating officer in 2005 as part of a strategic executive succession plan for the agency, which ranks fourth in non-profits in Monroe County.

“We spent years planning so that we could start this organization, and we’ve also spent several years preparing for this transition in leadership,” Pieters said. “We believe we owe it to the people we support and to their families to ensure this agency is strong, not just for today but for the future.”

The story of how the agency began is a time honored one amongst Heritage Christian’s families. In 1980, Pieters and his wife, Marie, banded with other parents who had children with developmental disabilities to start a Christian-based non-profit, mortgaging their homes and partnering with church communities to open their first neighborhood home four years later.

Once Pieters became president in 1986, he spent more than two decades growing the agency from four homes to more than 100 facilities and eventually operating on a budget in excess of $55-million. HCS continues to specialize in disabilities services - including residential homes, day habitation, respite care and Medicaid service coordination – but it has diversified its operations and extended its high quality of service to other ventures including: Springdale Farm, the Pieters Family Life Center, Expressive Beginnings Child Care and Heritage Christian Stables. It now serves more than 1,700 children and adults.

In addition, for the past 10 years the NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities has ranked Heritage Christian in the top 1 percent out of more than 800 providers statewide. Nationally, Heritage Christian Services has been recognized with the prestigious 2009 Community Builder award from the American Network of Community Options and Resources for its capacity to model and influence inclusive communities for people with disabilities.

Pieters said that the future is bright and that he looks forward to staying close to the agency through his board service and family involvement. “Heritage Christian has never been one to rest on its laurels,” Pieters said. “I’m proud of where this agency has come from, and I know I’ll be proud of where it is going.”

Marisa Geitner
About Marisa Geitner

Marisa Geitner has served the agency for 19 years and has lead the agency through many firsts, including the launch of a new day program model, building an organizational development department to support 1,400 employees and now guiding HCS and similar agencies through a complex Medicaid redesign. Geitner, too, is one of Rochester Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 and an esteemed ATHENA honoree, recognized by the Rochester Business Alliance’s Women’s Council in 2011.

About Heritage Christian

Heritage Christian Services is a thriving human services agency that supports children and adults with disabilities; provides high quality child care; and matches business owners with talented workers who have developmental disabilities.

The agency now operates 70 neighborhood homes, service coordination, respite, community habilitation and 27 day programs and has been recognized by the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities as one of New York state's top service providers to people with special needs.

Heritage Christian Services is known for innovative programs like the Pieters Family Life Center and Expressive Beginnings Child Care in Henrietta, Springdale Farm in Ogden, Heritage Christian Stables in Webster, A Second Thought Resale Shop in East Rochester, Heritage Hollow on Sixth Lake in Inlet and Little Valley Retreat Center near Allegany State Park.

For more information, visit

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Local Agencies Work Toward Medicaid Solution

Nine local agencies – including Heritage Christian Services and Lifetime Assistance, Inc.– are drawing the attention of state leaders by working together to study changes in how Medicaid will deliver and pay for services for people with disabilities.
Lawmakers throughout the state are struggling to make Medicaid self-sustaining, and the coalition of local agencies, called Person Centered Services of Western New York, has invested time, intellectual capital and financial resources in being part of the solution.
Eventually the group may apply to be one of a handful of state-designated managed care organizations, which means that other agencies in Western New York would contract with PCSWNY to offer services instead of working through the state. Such changes are meant to shift away from one-size-fits-all care and move toward more customized options for people.
“This is a crucial step in advancing the Medicaid waiver redesign for people with developmental disabilities,” said Marisa Geitner, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Heritage Christian Services, which is piloting a new “universal needs assessment tool” for the state along with a new program for documenting the services that have been delivered. “We really want to learn as much as we can and then advocate and shape the system so people with disabilities are always treated with dignity and compassion. We’ve got to all be partners in this transition.”
Since the Office of People With Developmental Disabilities recently realigned its regions, some agencies find themselves working with partners in new geographic areas. The nine agencies that make up Person-Centered Services, for example, span both the Rochester and Buffalo areas.
The new 17-county region – and the partnerships – makes sense for an agency like Heritage Christian Services, which has significant operations in Rochester and Buffalo, said Geitner, adding that PCSWNY has held public information meetings in both cities.
Lifetime Assistance, which offers comprehensive services in the region, wants to protect and advance services throughout Western New York, said James Branciforte, president of the agency.
“Forward-thinking agencies need to be out front of the massive public policy changes that will occur in the next three to five years,” he said. “And Person Centered Services is demonstrating the leadership needed to assure the highest quality services for our neighbors with developmental disabilities."
It’s not too late for others to be involved, he added. Those who are interested can view a PowerPoint presentation at and learn more about the nine founding agencies.