Our Staff

Dr. Simon Mittal
CareChoice Medical Director
Dr. Simon Mittal

Dr. Mittal graduated from medical school from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, completed his training in Denver, Colorado and is a Board Certified Internist.  After spending 6 years in the Army where he was recognized with the Surgeon General’s Award, he spent 10 years with the Mayo Health System and was a Clinical Instructor for the Mayo Medical School. Over the last few years, Dr. Mittal has seen the increasing need for high quality care in assisted living, skilled nursing and long term care facilities as he has helped his father navigate the complex medical issues that seniors face.  His desire is to improve the standard of care, improve quality and help facilities provide the care that seniors deserve. He is a Member of ACP, ACPE, AMDA, ACHE.

William (Bill) Knutson, MBA
William (Bill) Knutson, MBA

Bill is a senior healthcare executive and consultant with extensive experience in strategy formulation, physician integration, campus development, service line formation and operational performance.  Bill held numerous leadership positions in the HealthEast system in Minnesota, including leading St John’s Hospital as Vice President/Administrator.  His numerous consulting projects in hospital and senior services include developing/implementing a neurologist/hospital call system, a medical tourism hospital, senior living campus, geriatric physician practice, payer contracting for a national primary clinic group and critical access hospital strategic plans. Bill has also served as an advisor to medical device startup companies. He recently participated in the development of a virtual ACO in rural Minnesota (Southern Prairie Community Care) under the MN DHS IHP program, is part owner in a wound care company and partner in a physician practice and consulting group for post- acute services. He has been appointed an “Executive in Residence” at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. Bill has a Master’s in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

Nichole Pelerine
Executive Director
Nichole Pelerine

Nichole began working with CareChoice in 2011 after relocating to the Twin Cities from Los Angeles. She is an experienced leader with a diverse background in several different industries and passionate in her belief that collaboration is the key to successful innovation.  As a mission-driven leader, Nichole is thrilled to have the opportunity to work closely with the CareChoice members in creating opportunities to provide better care for the seniors in our community.

Joanne Hirtz, RN
Joanne Hirtz, RN

Joanne has over thirty years experience in leading health care professionals and community based and skilled nursing facilities in implementing systems and programs to better serve seniors. Her passion for seniors began when she became a nursing assistant and was hooked for life! After obtaining her nursing degree in 1980 at St. Mary’s, MN, she advanced her career while at Walker Methodist Health Center and Community Services for 19 years as a clinical nurse, Corporate Quality Improvement Nurse and Director of Nursing. As a Corporate QI Nurse for Walker Management, she conducted Mock Surveys and implemented system changes for skilled nursing facilities in Minnesota, Washington and California. In 1998, as an independent Nurse Consultant, she founded HQ Consulting Inc., providing consulting services to home health and skilled nursing facilities. In the 14 years that followed, she continued to provide quality improvement and system changes that positively affected seniors at Lyngblomsten Care Center as a Staff Educator, QI Nurse, Infection Preventionist and Program Manager for CareChoice RCCC and RCCD DHS Grants. While caring for her elderly in-laws for the past several years, she became acutely aware of the needs of post-acute care patients. She joined CareChoice Team in 2014 with a passion and desire to further impact the quality of care, support and services provided to patients and family/caregivers as they transition to home in the community.

Stacy Ellerbusch, LSW
Stacy Ellerbusch, LSW

Stacy is a recent graduate from The College of St. Scholastica and has 20+ years of experience in long term and home health care settings, including positions in Laundry, Housekeeping, as a Home Health Aide, Payroll, Accounts Payable and Lead Receptionist Coordinator. She joined CareChoice in 2014 as the Data Analyst/Administrative Support working on the CMS HCIA-2, Person Centered Care Connections Transition to Home grant. She has assisted with implementing the program as well as continuing to support and manage the required program components in ten of the CareChoice TCU’s.

Doris Parker, RN
Doris Parker, RN

Doris is a Registered Nurse and a graduate of St. Catherine’s University.  She has experience working as a staff nurse in Med/Surg, Cardiac Telemetry and Bone Marrow Transplant at various Twin Cities hospitals. She has also worked in long-term and homecare settings as Supervisor, Nurse Manger and most recently as Field Director of Education and Training with Fortis Management Group. Doris has been extensively engaged in the nonprofit community providing services to refugee women and girls through a nonprofit agency that she co-founded.  Doris has served on a number of Board and Advisory Committees and recently volunteered to work overseas for a Twin Cities-based NGO as an ETU nurse manager during the recent Ebola outbreak in Liberia, West Africa.

Amy Tong, DNP, APRN, ACNS-BC, CNE
Amy Tong, DNP, APRN, ACNS-BC, CNE

Amy Tong is an Adult Clinical Nurse Specialist and graduate of the University of Minnesota Post-Masters DNP program.  She has worked as an acute care staff nurse, home care case manager, geriatric care consultant and most recently, as a nursing instructor in a BSN program.  As a nursing instructor she worked in the didactic, lab, and clinical environments. Some of these environments included acute care, transitional care, long term care, and acute mental health care.  She has a love for working with the geriatric population and hopes to contribute to improving the quality of care for this population using the best evidence-based practices available.