Meet the Government & External Affairs Team
The UnityPoint Health Government & External Affairs team serves as the health system's primary point of contact with state and federal legislators, government agencies and advocacy organizations to help shape policy as it is being created and to ensure laws and regulations implemented best serve our patients and communities. We use the expertise of our health care leaders, physicians, providers and staff to help communicate the vision and mission of UnityPoint Health, as well as the full spectrum of the services we provide and our economic impact on the communities we serve.
Vice President, Government & External Affairs
Sabra Rosener became Vice President, Government & External Affairs in 2010 after serving as Director of Government Relations at UnityPoint Health for three years and law department attorney for four years.
Rosener leads efforts at the federal and state government levels in representing the interests of UnityPoint Health to the executive, legislative and administrative branches of government. Most recently, Rosener has also taken on the responsibilities of working with UnityPoint Health hospitals, clinics and home care agencies to further develop community benefit programs that address the needs of the patients and communities served by the health system.
Before joining UnityPoint Health, Rosener held positions at Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Ruan Transportation and the Iowa Court of Appeals. She also served as an adjunct professor at Drake University Law School.
Rosener received her bachelor's from the University of Northern Iowa and her juris doctorate, with honors, from Drake University Law School. She currently serves on the Iowa Business Council and the National Advisory Council for The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center.
Executive Director, Regulatory Affairs
Cathy Simmons currently serves as Executive Director, Regulatory Affairs under the UnityPoint Health Government & External Affairs department. She has been with UnityPoint Health since 2008.
In her current role, Simmons focuses on federal and state regulatory advocacy and leads the development of regulatory platforms for the health system. This includes efforts to remove regulatory red tape, promote sustainable reimbursement structures and position UnityPoint Health to be nationally competitive during application processes to participate in payment and service delivery innovation models. Simmons has facilitated applications to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and its Innovation Center for the Pioneer Accountable Care Organization (ACO), the Medicare Shared Savings Program, the Medicare Care Choices Program, the Next Generation ACO and the Rural Community Hospital Demonstration.
Simmons started her work at UnityPoint Health with the UnityPoint Health – Allen Hospital Foundation (Waterloo, IA) as its first grants manager. In 2009, Simmons joined the Government & External Affairs department to support grants and sponsored programs efforts. During her tenure in sponsored programs, Simmons was responsible for securing more than $35 million in grant funds.
Before her appointment with UnityPoint Health, Simmons held positions at the Nebraska Unicameral, Operation Threshold Community Action Agency, and the Northeast Iowa Food Bank.
Simmons received her bachelor's from Grinnell College, juris doctorate from the University of Nebraska College of Law, and a master's in public policy from the University of Northern Iowa. She currently serves on the governing board of Precedence, Inc.
Director, Government Relations
Ashley Thompson currently serves as Director, Government Relations under the Government & External Affairs department. She has been with UnityPoint Health since 2012.
Thompson serves as the liaison between UnityPoint Health and its state advocacy & lobbying staff, identifying legislative priorities, and promoting the health system's public health and health care priorities. In partnership with the UnityPoint Health Tax Services department, Thompson is responsible for the ongoing development and execution of the health system's economic, community and tax impact study and its ongoing strategic deliverables. In addition, Thompson is responsible for the successful development of strategic and operational initiatives, such as the UnityPoint Health Prescription Drug Safety Program, to further develop community benefit programs that service the needs of patients and communities served by UnityPoint Health.
Prior to her current role, Thompson served as Director, Patient and Community Partner Engagement in the UnityPoint Health – Fort Dodge and Waterloo regions. She was a key member of the Trinity Pioneer Accountable Care Organization (ACO) leadership team and led the organization's patient-centered medical home deployment team, as well as clinic (ambulatory) quality and patient experience improvement strategies. In addition, she spearheaded the formal affiliation between UnityPoint Health – Allen Hospital and Black Hawk-Grundy Mental Health Center, a community mental health center in Northeast Iowa.
In addition to Thompson's roles within UnityPoint Health, she previously served as Director of the Compass Practice Transformation Network (Compass PTN), Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative, a $32.5 million primary and specialty care improvement and payment reform effort funded by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation. She has also held positions at UnityPoint Accountable Care, the University of Southern Mississippi, Gordon Whyte & Associates, G. Edward Tucker Financial & Strategic Consulting, the University System of Georgia and the Black Hawk County (IA) Health Department.
Thompson received her bachelor's from the University of Northern Iowa, a master's in public health from the University of Georgia and a certificate in global health disparities from Global Health Corps.
View Ashley's Awards
Lynelle Ainslie currently serves as Executive Assistant, Government & External Affairs. She has been with UnityPoint Health since 2014.
In this role, Ainslie provides administrative support for the Government & External Affairs department. In addition, Ainslie supports other UnityPoint Health executive leaders and departments, including Clinical Leadership Group, Business Development and Telehealth. Previously, Ainslie supported former UnityPoint Health President and Chief Executive Officer, Bill Leaver.
Before joining UnityPoint Health, Ainslie was employed at The Iowa Clinic for eight years in progressive roles from Administrative Assistant to Clinic Supervisor of the Surgery Department and then Manager of the Appointment Center.
Ainslie received her nursing degree from Northeast Iowa Community College and completed course work in communications, business and management.