BROOKLYN PARK, MN – Spend 10 minutes chatting with Jackie Semrad, and it’s clear that she not only talks the talk, but also walks the walk. As the corporate compliance officer at Reliable Medical Supply, Brooklyn Park, MN, Semrad will once again make the trip from Minnesota to Washington, DC, this week for the AAHomecare Legislative Conference.
It’s a visit that stems from a deep commitment to the industry, and a genuine optimism that legislators can be helpful and receptive to concerns. “It’s vital that everybody get involved with their state and national associations,” says Semrad, who is vice president of Rehab at the Midwest Association of Medical Equipment Services and chair of the AAHomecare Complex Rehab Mobility Council. “We need to develop relationships in our congressional offices. We’ve always been the low hanging fruit as far as what happens to us from the rules with CMS, and legislatively.”
As a 25-year veteran at Reliable, Semrad was one of three original employees at the company that now has four Minnesota locations (Buffalo, Waite Park, Rochester, and Brooklyn Park) and more than 120 workers. Navigating the company through massive change has not been easy, but Semrad credits part of her success to a willingness to dive into the political process and gain knowledge at industry trade shows.
“I would not miss Medtrade Spring [Las Vegas] or Medtrade [Oct 26-29, 2015 in Atlanta],” she says. “I think those shows are very important. There are great educational sessions, and the networking is invaluable.”
Everyone knows the compliance officer at most companies, but Semrad is also known for her extraordinary baked goods that employees gobble up with zeal. “The thing everybody asks for at Reliable is my Bailey’s Irish Cream bars,” she says. “I also cook for Ronald McDonald House, which is a place for parents and kids when they’re not in the hospital. My sister used to work there. She passed away 8 years ago from ALS, and we wanted to give back through our own volunteer efforts.
“Jeff Hall, who owns the company, is sending me in August to Napa Valley for a week of cooking with top chefs at several wineries,” adds Semrad. “It is a dream trip, because he knows how much I love cooking.”