Gerald Cochran, MD, MPH, FACS
SmartStarts Prenatal Program is overseen by MedCost’s Medical
Director, Dr. Gerald Cochran.
Dr. Cochran is certified by the American Board of Quality Assurance
and Utilization Review Physicians, the American Academy of Wound
Management, the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and the National
Board of Medical Examiners.
In addition to being our Medical Director, Dr. Cochran also
currently serves as Medical Director for Davis Regional
Wound Healing Center
in Statesville and Rowan Regional Wound Care Center in Salisbury.
He formerly managed a successful plastic surgery practice in
Salisbury/Statesville and served as a Physician Consultant
for MedCost for over 15 years.
Dr. Cochran earned his undergraduate degree from LaSalle University
and his medical degree from Temple University in Philadelphia.
He has a Master’s in Healthcare Policy, Management and Administration
from UNC-Chapel Hill. Dr. Cochran served as Chief Resident in General
Surgery at Episcopal Hospital in Philadelphia, and as Chief Resident
in Plastic Surgery at Allentown Hospital. He was also a Clinical
Associate Professor of Plastic Surgery and Associate Director of
the Department of Plastic Surgery at Boston University School of
Dr. Cochran is a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons
and the American Institute for HealthCare Quality. He enjoys
and attending concerts and plays.
Manager of Utilization Review and Prenatal
Pulliam oversees the MedCost SmartStarts Prenatal Program. She
began her career with MedCost as a prenatal nurse in 1990. Prior
to that, Renee was a neonatal intensive care nurse at North Carolina
Renee says, “It is very easy to be passionate about this
program. My background working with premature and very sick babies
motivates me to communicate the benefits of the prenatal program,
and to make it real to the consumer. I get excited when talking
about the program with clients and sharing stories that show the
big and the small things that this program achieves. I enjoy listening
to patients who want to share their positive experiences.”
Renee is a member of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric
and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) and a March of Dimes Volunteer.
When she is not working, Renee enjoys spending time with her husband,
Randy, and their daughters, Chelsea and Hannah. The four-legged
family members are a Westie named Snuggles and a rabbit named Butterscotch.
Renee also enjoys knitting, reading, and volunteering for her church.
Susan Bess, RN, BSN, ICCE, ACCE-R
Prenatal/Case Management Specialist
(“Suzy”) Bess has been a Prenatal nurse and Case
management Specialist with the Medcost SmartStarts Prenatal Program
since 1993. She brought a wealth of experience to MedCost, having
worked as an OB/GYN nurse, an OB/GYN surgical assistant, and
a labor and delivery nurse since 1975. Suzy received certification
by ASPO/LAMAZE in 1977 and has practiced as an Independent Childbirth
Educator teaching Lamaze Birthing Classes for 19 years. She also
has experience as a Neonatal Clinical Nursing instructor for
a School of Nursing.
Suzy is the point of contact for the women enrolled in the
Prenatal Program. She is the patient's advocate and prenatal
Suzy does the initial phone assessment, documenting the patient's
medical and obstetrical history under strict confidentiality.
Each trimester she reassesses each mom-to-be, providing
answering her questions. Program participants have unlimited
access to Suzy via phone and email throughout their pregnancy.
If a woman
is having a problem with her pregnancy, Suzy provides support
for her and takes on the role of triage nurse for the doctor
Suzy says, “If there are complications, I become involved
as Prenatal Case Manager to assist the physician with home health
needs. If there is a miscarriage or fetal loss, I follow up with
grief support and counseling.”
Suzy thinks that the best part of her job is the one-on-one
phone contact with the moms-to-be and feeling that she
has made a difference
for a new mother. She says she likes “being able to make
them feel comfortable” so they can talk with her about their
concerns. Suzy talks with the dads too, which can be a lot of fun.
She especially enjoys “the excitement when they call about
the delivery and tell about their babies.” Suzy loves her
work and is very proud of the Prenatal Program. She is very proactive
with her nursing assessment which encourages early interventions
that can help avoid an inpatient admission.
Suzy is a lifetime member of the Association of Women’s Health,
Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) and is a certified LAMAZE
instructor. She is also a certified childbirth educator with ICEA.
With this special training, Suzy is well equipped to educate program
participants about pregnancy, labor, birth, newborn care, and parenthood.
Suzy’s family consists of her husband, Richard; daughters,
Lauren and Alicia; grandchildren, Haley and Hudson; and Sasha,
her Pomeranian "baby" and constant companion.
When she has time to relax, she loves doing crafty stuff. Her
hobbies are scrapbooking, smocking, sewing, shopping and
friends & family at her lake house on High Rock Lake. She is
now having lots of fun socializing with her local Chapter of the
Red Hat Society.
Belk, RN, CCM
Prenatal Educator/ Obstetrical Case Manager
though she’s the newest member of the MedCost SmartStarts
Prenatal Program staff, Lorrie Belk has worked at MedCost since
2006 and has been an obstetrical nurse since 1982.
Prior to joining MedCost, Lorrie worked at Presbyterian Hospital
in Charlotte, assisting in their labor and delivery, ante partum
high risk, well newborn nursery, and postpartum units before
becoming the Clinical Coordinator for their obstetrical
high risk pregnancy
unit. In 1996, she transitioned jobs to become the Prenatal Educator
and Obstetrical Case Manager for a local Charlotte company. She
is currently a certified case manager (CCM).
Lorrie is excited to share her knowledge and skills in prenatal
education with SmartStarts participants. “Being an obstetrical
nurse is the best job in the world!” she says. “I love
being able to support our participants by preparing them for the
physical and emotional aspects of pregnancy, as well as the birth
and postpartum period. I also try to promote healthy behaviors
and reduce any risk factors because I want everyone in the program
to have a healthy pregnancy and baby. This is a very special time
in each woman’s life, and I am happy to be part of it by
contributing my knowledge and support.”
When she’s not working, Lorrie enjoys spending time with
her family and friends. She and her husband, Carl, and their two
sons, Timothy and Andrew, enjoy spending time together traveling,
enjoying the outdoors, and going to the movies.
Prenatal Administrative Assistant
Johnson has been the Prenatal Program’s administrative
assistant since 2002. Patrenia enjoys her role because, as she
says, “I always knew I wanted to work in a field helping
people, be it face-to-face or over the phone.”
Patrenia’s many responsibilities include introducing women
to the program by explaining its benefits and goals to them. She
says, “I encourage them to enroll in the first trimester
and explain how the calls will be made each trimester. I give them
the name of the Prenatal Nurse, Suzy Bess, along with her credentials
and experience and I explain how to contact us with questions or
for information. I send all the correspondence to the patients,
the physicians, and to claim administrators, including all participation
and termination letters and the informational mailings to participants
for each trimester. I cover the prenatal phone line and monitor
or triage calls for prenatal support or prenatal case management.
I also contact hospital providers or physicians for delivery status
Patrenia enjoys collecting the baby pictures sent in by program
participants after delivery. She displays them on a bulletin
board in the Health Management Department. She says the best
her job is “talking to the first-time moms. They get so excited.
After they deliver, I can hear the babies in the background during
phone calls, and it brings back memories for me.”
Patrenia prepared for her position by taking business and computer
classes. Once on the job at MedCost she continued to build
her skills by taking classes in medical terminology, team
building, communication, professional development, and
available to strengthen her knowledge in the prenatal field.
Patrenia is the mother of two boys, Terrence and Jarion.
She says the three of them enjoy “just spending time together and
acting silly.” Patrenia and her sons have fun laughing, swimming,
listening to music, dancing, telling jokes, and doing anything
Updated April 12, 2012