Announcing Strategic Partnership with Southeastern Rheumatology Alliance (SERA)

We are both proud and humbled to officially announce that Southeastern Rheumatology Alliance (SERA) has entered into a strategic partnership with The Leaders Rheum!

“We chose The Leaders Rheum, not just due to our prior relationship with Ray Waldrup, but also because of the unbelievable team of experts in Rheumatology they’ve assembled. Their expertise has helped SERA achieve significant advancements. Our providers and staff feel reinvigorated, and we are so excited to embark on this journey with The Leaders Rheum!” – Dr. Brent Flickinger, SERA

Our Shared Success Model is specifically designed to enhance efficiency, drive growth, and deliver exceptional results. Through this collaboration, we aim to achieve significant advancements for SERA in the following areas:

Significant Profit Increase from Drug Discounts & Rebates: By leveraging our collective expertise, we will secure substantial savings on drug costs, translating to increased profitability for SERA.

Infusion Optimization: We will streamline and optimize infusion services to enhance patient care and operational efficiency.

In-House Laboratory (New Revenue Stream): Establishing an in-house lab will create a new revenue stream and improve diagnostic capabilities.

Medically Integrated Dispensing (MID) (New Revenue Stream): Implementing MID will not only provide an additional revenue source but also ensure patients have seamless access to necessary medications.

Rheumatology Billing: Our specialized billing services will improve revenue cycle management, ensuring accurate and timely reimbursements.

Human Resources & Benefits: We will enhance HR services, including employee benefits, to attract and retain top talent.

Accounting: Our accounting services will provide comprehensive financial management, ensuring compliance and fiscal responsibility.

Compliance: We will ensure that SERA adheres to all regulatory requirements, minimizing risk and enhancing operational integrity.

Chronic Care Management: We will implement advanced chronic care management programs to improve patient outcomes and quality of life.

RheumLogic AIT Automation: Our automation technology will significantly increase office efficiencies, improving processes such as prior authorization, benefits verification, payment posting, and more.

This partnership marks a significant milestone for both organizations, bringing innovation, compassion, and value to rheumatology patients. Together, we are poised to revolutionize the field of rheumatology, setting new standards in patient care and operational excellence. We look forward to the positive impact this collaboration will have on our community and the broader healthcare landscape.


Director, Human Resources

Shardey Brackett

Shardey Brackett is an accomplished Human Resources professional with nearly a decade of experience in the healthcare industry. Throughout her career, Shardey has demonstrated a commitment to education and innovation in various HR roles. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Business Administration in Management from Charleston Southern University, along with a Professional in Human Resources certification.

A proud Charleston, SC native, Shardey is known for her vibrant and bubbly approach to everything she does. She is passionate about fitness and leads an active lifestyle. She is also a certified and licensed esthetician. Outside of work, Shardey enjoys traveling with her husband and daughter, making memories through family adventures.

Director of Affiliate Development

Eliot Appel

Eliot brings over 35 years of experience in all aspects of physician practice management, growth, and sustainability.

Having worked with some of the most successful rheumatology practices all over the country, he has played an integral role working directly with partnering practices to provide guidance on financial performance, human resources, EMR systems, the billing cycle, purchasing, compliance, practice expansion, succession planning, ancillary services, etc.

Eliot’s previous work experience and accomplishments include managing the growth and development of a national rheumatology practice in nearly 30 states. He was also the Executive Director of Gastro Health, P.L., a 40+ provider Gastroenterology practice based in South Miami and was instrumental in its start-up.

Prior to Gastro Health, Eliot was the Executive Director of South Florida ENT Associates, a 35+ provider group practice in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. He has worked in the multi-specialty group setting as the Chief Financial Officer for the Florida Institute of Health and in his early career he gained CPA experience from Grant Thornton, a large, international C.P.A. firm.  Eliot earned his B.S. in Accounting from the University of Florida.

Chief Creative Officer

Victoria Giambattista

Vicky brings 15 years of marketing, branding and creative services to the healthcare space, beginning her career with agency experience and moving to medical device, surgical accreditation, and SaaS software organizations.

She has a proven track record of standing up marketing departments and building sustainable growth models within creative teams. She is well-versed in sales enablement, operations, client engagement and retention programs, along with tech stack development and optimization. Vicky’s efficient and effective strategies and tactics create workflows that save time and help streamline and shorten the sales cycle.

Outside of work, she enjoys watching historical documentaries, wine tasting and interior design.

President & Co-Founder

Mike chavez

Mike Chavez is a seasoned healthcare veteran and has played an integral role in the inception and development of national rheumatology provider networks, working with hundreds of care centers all over the United States.

He brings a wealth of knowledge on the growth and successful development of medical offices while also working with industry and pharma to support clinical initiatives, and strategic partnerships. Additionally, he leads our CIO Board Clinical Initiatives & Outcomes working with both pharma and physicians to develop new treatments, diagnostic tools, and pathways to deliver improved patient outcomes.

In 2020, Mike was nominated and awarded by the International Forum for Advancements in Healthcare as one of the “Top 100 Leaders in Healthcare” and the “Who’s Who Top Executives in America”.

In his free time, Mike enjoys mixed martial arts, Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu, and spending time with his Frenchie, Nutella.

Director, Revenue Cycle Management

Leila Ballard

Leila Ballard is a seasoned healthcare business professional with over 30 years in roles ranging from Certified Medical Assistant to Practice Manager.

She has a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration along with multiple certifications under her belt. Leila has worked as a consultant for the last two years in software system management within multiple specialties.

One of her most significant contributions to the rheumatology space is when she helped grow a single doctor practice to one of the largest rheumatology groups in the country. Leila is excited to shift her focus to achieving our clients’ practice and financial goals.

Leila lives in the low country of South Carolina with her husband and teenage son. She is a foodie and loves to travel.


Ray Waldrup

As a 30-year veteran in healthcare, Ray Waldrup has a broad knowledge of all aspects of medical practices. He credits his early years of owning a medical billing and consulting company for his unique understanding of where monies are made and lost. He has successfully expanded medical practices in anesthesia and critical care to multiple locations and cities while personally recruiting providers.

In 2009, Ray joined a 4-doctor rheumatology practice with one location in Charleston, SC. After a few years, he formed what became the largest rheumatology practice in the country.

Ray has also revolutionized infusion suites by aggregating purchase volume and negotiating differential contracts others could not. He has helped significantly reduce physician burnout through a 4-day work week, while still increasing practice revenue. He’s most proud of the many physician friends he has made and how they recognize him for improving their quality of life.

In 2019, Ray led the formation of a rheumatology-specific GPO that quickly grew to over 300 members in 18 months. By 2021, he was leading a practice of 26 locations in 9 states with 65 physicians and over 300 employees. In his free time, he enjoys playing golf, pickleball, and boating in Naples, Florida.



Scott Gilomen brings over 25 years of executive management experience in the healthcare industry with a heavy focus on rheumatology and oncology. His primary areas of expertise include financial analysis, pharmaceutical and supply contracting, implementation of new ancillary services, direct management of revenue cycle, medical real estate acquisitions and oversight, physician and advanced practice provider hiring, and management of facilities and staff.

In 1996, Scott joined an oncology practice in Gastonia, NC as the Executive Director. That’s where he developed expansion plans and opened new clinics in multiple locations. He implemented patient care initiatives including chronic care management (CCM) and physician dispensing, technology initiatives including electronic health record (EHR) and patient self check-in.

Scott’s multi-faceted experience as a leader drew the attention of ION Solutions GPO Advisory Panel and was invited to serve in 2008. He collaborated with other panel members to review and advise pharmaceutical companies on current and proposed GPO contracts, patient assistance/access programs, and product launches.

Scott moved from oncology to rheumatology as CEO for a 15-provider group in 2019. Five months in, and despite great obstacles and unprecedented variables with COVID, Scott quickly pivoted to implementing telehealth in less than a week. The infusion suite never closed and patient care was maintained with little to no delay. Other implementations included patient self check-in, CCM, physician dispensing, new insurance verification and prior authorization systems, and clinical trials.

Outside of work Scott enjoys walking, swimming, gardening, golfing, and spending time with his family and pets.