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Meet Our Team

Ellen S. Platt, MEd, CRC, CCM

Ellen S. Platt, MEd, CRC, CCM

President & Certified Aging Life Care Manager

MD: 410-667-0266
PA: 717-287-9900
DE: 302-858-6449
[email protected]

Ellen Platt is the founder and owner of The Option Group, LLC. She is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, Certified Care Manager, and a Certified Aging Life Care Manager. She has over 30 years of experience providing care management, advocacy, placement, and care coordination services to those with catastrophic injuries, chronic diseases, disabilities, and those that are aging and navigating longevity.

Under her leadership, The Option Group has been a trailblazer in the senior industry. The Option Group has worked tirelessly to collaborate with other leaders to provide high-quality services that help families navigate complex and emotional situations.

Ms. Platt is still dedicated to serving more clients with even more services to meet their needs. The Option Group will be rolling out several innovative programs over the next two years to address the needs of our clients and allow them to live the richest, most functional lives possible while keeping safety, comfort, and dignity in mind.

Stacy Alcide, RN

Stacy Alcide, RN

Certified Aging Life Care Manager

MD: 410-667-0266
PA: 717-287-9900
DE: 302-858-6449
[email protected]

Stacy Alcide has been a nurse care manager with The Option Group for over 4 years. Most of her 22 years of nursing experience has been dedicated to caring for seniors, with a large part of her time spent in the long-term care field. One of Ms. Alcide’s favorite things about working at The Option Group is the experienced team that loves to collaborate to find beneficial outcomes. No two days are alike. She enjoys working with clients and assisting them with their individual needs.

Lisa Arifer-Polcha, LSW

Lisa Arifer-Polcha, LSW

Care Manager

MD: 410-667-0266
PA: 717-287-9900 / 610-885-8899
DE: 302-858-6449
[email protected]

Lisa Arifer-Polcha is a licensed social worker with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. She has been a licensed social worker since 2004, the same year she received her Master in Social Work degree from Temple University. Ms. Arifer-Polcha has worked in human services since age 18. Her work experience includes hands-on care and case management for individuals with intellectual disabilities, hospice social work, dialysis social work, and geriatric care management. She also taught classes about compassion fatigue for continuing education credits throughout Pennsylvania. Outside of The Option Group, she volunteers with her local Area Agency on Aging Apprise program; helping provide non-biased Medicare information for no cost. Ms. Arifer-Polcha thrives on opportunities to assist others in understanding and implementing the best choices for their lives.

Diana (DeeDee) Bycoffe, RN

Diana (DeeDee) Bycoffe, RN

Nurse Care Manager

MD: 410-667-0266
PA: 717-287-9900
DE: 302-858-6449
[email protected]

Diana (DeeDee) Bycoffe is a nurse care manager and who has been with The Option Group since January of 2020. She really enjoys working with all clients and finds it rewarding when she can help families work on long term plans, sort through feelings that they have about a loved one who needs different choices, and then help them carry the plans through. Ms. Bycoffe has been a nurse for 25 years in numerous fields including cardiology, interventional radiology, the ER, the surgical intensive care unit, and home health care. If Ms. Bycoffe doesn’t have the answer, she will find it for you.

Lynn Huntley

Lynn Huntley

Care Manager Associate

MD: 410-667-0266
PA: 717-287-9900
DE: 302-858-6449
[email protected]

Lynn Huntley is a compassionate Care Manager Associate at The Option Group, where she has worked since November 2018. Ms. Huntley has extensive experience in counseling, educating, and advocating for a diverse population to promote independence and improved quality of life.

Samantha Morelock, MA

Samantha Morelock, MA

Care Manager Associate

MD: 410-667-0266
PA: 717-287-9900
DE: 302-858-6449
[email protected]

Samantha Morelock has been a part of The Option Group team for over 3 years. She has a Master’s degree in Counseling, with a concentration in marriage and family therapy. Her past clinical experience includes working with at-risk families doing both individual and family counseling. In her current position as a Care Management Associate, Samantha has gained valuable experience working with seniors, individuals with disabilities, and individuals with dementia. Samantha is passionate about preserving the dignity of every individual and is proud to be an advocate for each client’s care.

Katie Schmitz, RN

Katie Schmitz, RN

Certified Aging Life Care Manager

MD: 410-667-0266
PA: 717-287-9900
DE: 302-858-6449
[email protected]

Katie Schmitz has been a certified nurse case manager for over 30 years. Her prior hospital experience was in rehabilitation. Over the past 8 years, Ms. Schmitz worked predominantly with catastrophic care coordination for multi-trauma injury diagnoses covering a 5-state territory that borders Maryland. Ms. Schmitz has worked on The Option Group assignments for several years and, since August 2019, has been a full-time member of the team.

Jackie Tangires, LCSW-C

Jackie Tangires, LCSW-C

Certified Aging Life Care Manager

MD: 410-667-0266
PA: 717-287-9900
DE: 302-858-6449
[email protected]

Jackie Tangires has been employed with The Option Group for two and a half years and has earned her Certification in Case Management. Ms. Tangires has also become a member of the Aging Life Care Association. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with the State of Maryland with over 30 years of experience in different areas of health care. She worked in hospitals in Maryland, Michigan, Washington, and Hawaii. Prior to The Option Group, she worked with University of Maryland, Upper Chesapeake Health, where she provided Medical Case Management services and discharge planning services for orthopedic, neurological, and oncology patients. She belongs to the Academy of Certified Social Workers and is a member of NASW (National Association of Social Workers). Jackie enjoys her job at The Option Group because of the positive environment and the countless opportunities for growth.

Denise M. Valerio, LSW ACSW C-ASWCM

Denise M. Valerio, LSW ACSW C-ASWCM

Geriatric/Aging Life Care Manager

MD: 410-667-0266
PA: 610-885-8899
DE: 302-858-6449
[email protected]

Denise M. Valerio is a licensed social worker and a certified/accredited care manager with almost 40 years working in healthcare settings and social services organizations. Her diverse experience, combined with a caring style, makes her a seasoned life care manager dedicated to “doing right by her clients.” Denise is the former owner of Valerio Care Management, LLC, a sole proprietor in Pennsylvania that provided a variety of care management services to the Delaware Tri-Valley area for 15 years. She describes doing this work as “her calling” and while it can challenge even the strongest of women, Denise continues to embrace the work.

In January 2021, Denise merged her very successful care management business with The Option Group, and we welcome her vast knowledge and experience to the team!

Patti Vogl, MSW, LSW

Patti Vogl, MSW, LSW

Certified Aging Life Care Manager

MD: 410-667-0266
PA: 717-287-9900 / 610-885-8899
DE: 302-858-6449
[email protected]

Patti Vogl is a Licensed Social Worker in the state of PA, with over 35 years of experience. She received her bachelor’s degree from Grove City College in PA and her master’s degree from Temple University in PA. Prior to joining The Option Group, Patti worked in hospice management and consulting and in private practice as a Grief Counselor. She is also a Certified Funeral Celebrant. Patti has worked in the field of planning for and supporting those with intellectual disabilities, a hospital case manager, and a home health social worker. She enjoys working with clients and helping them to plan and access resources and find hope in their situation, whatever their circumstances. She is excited to be bringing her skills to The Option Group as part of this innovative, energetic, and compassionate team. In her spare time, Patti enjoys hiking, cooking, playing tennis, and spending time with her family, and helping out with various programs at her church.

Pamela Mills, MA, CTRS, CADDCT

Pamela Mills, MA, CTRS, CADDCT

Dementia Specialist and Care Manager

MD: 410-667-0266
PA: 717-287-9900
DE: 302-858-6449
[email protected]

Robert Pearce, MBA

Robert Pearce, MBA

Director of Strategic Planning

MD: 410-667-0266
PA: 717-287-9900
DE: 302-858-6449
[email protected]

Bob Pearce brings over 20 years of business operations experience from a range of services in the healthcare field, including home health, home care, medical staffing, and adult daycare. Specializing in strategy implementation and financial management, his focus is uniting diverse teams to deliver class-leading services to clients and their families.

Michele Gillum

Michele Gillum

Vice President of Operations

MD: 410-667-0266
PA: 717-287-9900
DE: 302-858-6449
[email protected]

Michele Gillum is responsible for the overall administrative operations of The Option Group. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Towson University with a degree in Business Management and has been with us since 2012. She uses her education and experience to tackle the day-to-day challenges of each client. Michele strives to foster a collaborative work environment with the team to best address the needs of their clients. Outside of work, she enjoys walking, playing games, and spending time with family.

Noel White

Noel White

Community Outreach Liaison

MD: 410-667-0266
PA: 717-287-9900
DE: 302-858-6449
[email protected]

Noel White joined The Option Group in February 2020. A graduate of Towson University, Mr. White has spent the bulk of his professional career working for The Chimes, Inc, The American Lung Association of Maryland, and sales and management for home health equipment and pharmaceutical companies. He is pleased to bring his experience to Ellen’s growing team and assist with connecting our message of expertise, professional resourcefulness, care, and hope to the community he is committed and honored to serve. Mr. White is married to Pastor Lisa Arrington and has two wonderful adult children.

Elaina Thomakos

Elaina Thomakos

Care Communication Liaison

MD: 410-667-0266
PA: 717-287-9900
DE: 302-858-6449
[email protected]

Michelle Tillman

Michelle Tillman

Administrative Assistant

MD: 410-667-0266
PA: 717-287-9900
DE: 302-858-6449
[email protected]

Michelle Tillman has been with the company since 2016. She has a professional background in education, having taught arts and special needs students of all ages, as well as assisting in the offices of the Maryland public school system. Michelle values the enthusiasm and dedication of the entire Option Group staff as they strive to help families navigate life’s challenges.

Laura Gately

Laura Gately

Administrative Assistant

MD: 410-667-0266
PA: 717-287-9900
DE: 302-858-6449
[email protected]

Laura Gately is from the Carroll County area and joined The Option Group as our Administrative Assistant in December of 2020. She has extensive experience in a variety of health care fields, working in the nursing home, hospital, psychiatric and residential rehabilitation and homeless outreach arenas.

One of her many strengths is the ability to build relationships with people of various backgrounds. She enjoys individual life stories as they are rich in perspective and wisdom. Laura especially likes that she is helping others navigate and resolve issues. In turn, it is her hope that each person feels peace of mind that their concerns are important and are being addressed.

In her spare time, Laura enjoys time at the beach with her family, and riding bikes on the NCR trail.