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Walden Magazine // Jan 14, 2014

Rita Turner Award: Shaping Scholarship That Deserves National Recognition

January 2014—Walden’s 2014 Rita Turner Award was presented to Dr. Kenneth D. Gossett, a faculty member in the School of Management, for his work as chair of the doctoral study committee for Dr. Krista K. Laursen, a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) graduate and recipient of the 2014 Frank Dilley Award for her research, Leadership Strategies and Initiatives for Combating Medicaid Fraud and Abuse.

The two were paired because of Dr. Gossett’s extensive background in the health and human services fields and with Medicaid in particular. For example, in the 1980s and ’90s he worked as a superintendent of the Lake County Board of Developmental Disabilities/Deepwood in Ohio. “When I took the job in May, they had a $1.2 million deficit. We ended the year six months later with a $1.6 million Medicaid surplus.”

In 2003, he traveled to India to review outsourcing work being done for medical transcription and Medicaid billing and coding. He found approximately 2,800 companies doing this work, but only 100 of them had strict, ethical billing processes. “There’s an innate business opportunity connected to Medicaid billing processing,” he explains. “If you know something about data mining, you can sell very valuable information.” What’s more, only an audit will uncover the abuse, and this is rare since so few payments are examined so carefully. This point, he says, explains the invisible nature of the problem.

“I’ve known the concerns about Medicaid for a long time but haven’t had time to work on scholarship about the topic formally,” he explains. “The best thing that could happen for me was to be paired with someone like Dr. Laursen. Not only did we make a fantastic team, there are kernels of gold in her study. Every state and the federal government could benefit from her findings. It could have an unbelievable social impact.”

In response to this recognition, he plans to generate a series of similar studies in partnership with students that examine all aspects of Medicaid, including how it’s implemented in other states. Ultimately, he hopes to publish a book on the subject with chapters written by each student. “I hope my future collaborative scholarship will have enormous social impact on healthcare in the United States,” he says.

“It’s my responsibility as a faculty member to help students succeed,” he continues. “Education changed my life, and I want to do everything I can to help students achieve their goals so they can change others’ lives.”

About the Award

One of two awards honoring the founders of Walden University, the Rita Turner Award is bestowed annually upon the faculty chair of the dissertation committee of the recipient of the Frank Dilley Award. This award honors the total commitment to the founding and sustaining of Walden by Rita Turner, co-founder of the university. Mrs. Turner’s shared vision of the university, careful attention to major organizational issues, supervision of complex operational details, and concern for fiscal accountability made it possible not only for the university to flourish during its first two decades but to grow into a global institution.

Read more about the Rita Turner Award and past recipients.