About U.S. Physiatry

Physician-Led, Patient Focused.

US Physiatry (USP) was founded in 2011 as it became evident that another round of Healthcare reform was imminent. Founded by rehabilitation leaders from all aspects of the rehab continuum, USP decided to focus on rehabilitation in all of the current settings so that both the rehab patient and the physiatrist will be well represented when changes are implemented.

USP’s goals are to ensure the success of the physiatrist by providing the resources of a national company to help negotiate managed care contracts, ACO affiliations, implement an IT strategy that will allow us to focus on quality outcomes, and insure that the revenue cycle is the best possible for a physiatrist. USP believes that empowering the rehab physician to follow a patient throughout the rehab continuum will allow for the best possible outcomes for patients and is also the best way for our physician partners to maximize their income opportunities.

USP is a physician-led group of physiatrists. Our leadership is made up entirely of physicians who are currently practicing rehabilitation medicine.

Our Leadership

Mike de Cardenas, M.D.

Founder & Chairman of the Board

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Mike de Cardenas, M.D., Chairman and Founder, completed his training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas in 1983. He then completed a fellowship in Cardio Pulmonary Rehabilitation at Baylor in 1984. In his 25 years of experience as a Physiatrist, he has helped build many rehabilitation hospitals, outpatient therapy centers, and skilled nursing facilities. He has served as Corporate Medical Director for Preferred Care, an operator of over 110 skilled nursing facilities, for the past 20 years, where he has focused on building high quality rehabilitation programs for the post-acute setting. He has previously served as Medical Director for Continental Medical Systems, HealthSouth, Select Medical Corporation and Rehab Care. He has also served as an Advisor in the development of rehabilitation hospitals and outpatient centers in Spain, Mexico and Central and South America. He is also a partner of Reliant Pro Rehabilitation, a physical therapy and rehabilitation organization.

Michael F. Lupinacci, M.D.

Chief Medical Officer

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Michael F. Lupinacci, M.D. is board certified in physiatry and pain management, and is the Chief Medical Officer of U.S. Physiatry. Dr. Lupinacci received his undergraduate degree magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Georgetown University where he also received his medical degree. He did his residency training at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston where he served as Chief Resident. He is currently the Medical Director of Encompass Rehabilitation Hospital of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania where he has been in private group practice since 1990. In this capacity, he has received several clinical excellence awards including Medical Director of the Year. Dr. Lupinacci served as Captain in Air Force Special Operations and received the Air Force Commendation Medal. He has had several major leadership roles in the American of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation culminating in his service as President of the Academy. Dr. Lupinacci currently serves an advisory role on several Academy committees and participates in resident, medical student and practicing physiatry’s clinical education, providing national, international, and regional lectureships and invited publications. He has experience in Congressional testimony and presentations to Medicare and has a particular interest in the development of Post-Acute rehabilitation healthcare delivery systems.

Jose L. Vargas, M.D.

Chief Executive Officer

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Jose L. Vargas, M.D. serves as CEO of U.S. Physiatry. He is a board certified physiatrist and internist. He completed his training in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation in Atlanta, Georgia at Emory University in 2004. Prior to that, he had completed a residency in Internal Medicine in New York City at Cabrini Medical Center, where he also served as the Chief Resident. He has served on the Medical Advisory Boards of RehabCare in St. Louis, Missouri and Preferred Care of Plano, Texas. Dr. Vargas served as the Medical Director of West Gables Rehabilitation Hospital in Miami, Florida, where he served in that capacity since 2005. Dr. Vargas has focused his practice on inpatient rehabilitation and post-acute rehabilitation in skilled nursing facilities. His current focus is on medical administrative leadership in rehabilitation systems.

Craig DiTommaso, M.D.

Director of Early Career Physician Development

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Craig DiTommaso, M.D. is the medical director of the Post Acute Rehabilitation Hospital in Humble, Texas. Dr. DiTommaso performs rehabilitation management, consultations, intrathecal baclofen pump management, and chemodenervation for patients with spasticity, traumatic neurological injury including traumatic brain injury, stroke, cerebral palsy, or spinal cord injury. He is an active member of the Rehabilitation Services Volunteer Project and enjoys scuba-diving with his wife. He is a father to two children: Isabella and Lorenzo.

His medical career started at Tulane University and he completed an internship in Internal Medicine in New Orleans. He completed his residency at the Baylor College of Medicine. He then completed a Brain Injury Medicine fellowship at University of Washington. He remained at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle as a neuro-trauma consultant until returning to Houston.

In Houston, Dr. DiTommaso ascended to the medical director of inpatient rehabilitation for Baylor College of Medicine and served as an assistant professor. During his tenure with BCM, he was the medical director of Baylor St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Services, Baylor St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Center, and a primary attending on the TIRR Disorder of Consciousness program. Dr. DiTommaso also taught Brain Injury Medicine fellows, PM&R resident physicians, medical students, and physician assistant students.

His research interest include prognosis after traumatic brain injury, headache management after brain injuries including concussions, and spasticity treatment. He is an editor for both the PM&R journal and the CNS Rehabilitation section of the Knowledge NOW project.

Craig DiTommaso, MD - CV

Richard Kovan, M.D.

Regional Medical Director – Arizona

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Richard Kovan, M.D. After completing his undergraduate education from Michigan State University with a B.S. Physiology in 1984, Dr. Kovan attended medical school at Wayne State University in Detroit, graduating with his M.D. degree in 1988. He completed residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Medical College of Ohio, in Toledo in 1992, including Chief Resident.

After practicing Locum Tenens in Portland, ME, Cincinnati, OH, Fresno, CA and Boston, MA, he moved back to his native state of Michigan in 1993 and was a partner with Medical Rehabilitation Group, PC until 2013. While in Michigan, he managed patients in several settings including the acute hospital, inpatient rehabilitation, skilled nursing facilities as well as outpatient management of acute and chronic musculoskeletal and nonoperative spinal disorders. His interests also include electrodiagnostic (EMG) testing.

He relocated to Phoenix, AZ in 2013 to become a regional medical director for US Physiatry. He currently practices at Honor Health Rehabilitation Hospital in Scottsdale, AZ and several skilled nursing facilities throughout the Valley. Clinical interests continue to include acute inpatient rehabilitation, skilled nursing facilities, musculoskeletal and nonoperative spinal disorders and electrodiagnostic medicine (EMG).

Dr. Kovan is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Electrodiagnostic Medicine. He is a member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine.

Shannon Smith, M.D.

Medical Director - Atlanta, GA

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Shannon Smith was born in Philadelphia, PA, the only child of two teachers. She attended Julia R. Masterman High School, graduating in 1995.

Dr. Smith attended Spelman College in Atlanta GA on an Academic Scholarship and graduated with honors with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology in 1999. She subsequently obtained her Medical Degree from Temple University School of Medicine in 2003 and was the recipient of the Outstanding Community Service Award.

After medical school, she attended The University of Tennessee for her internship, then Emory University for a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation residency. Her first job post-residency was becoming the Medical Director of the Pediatric Inpatient Rehab Unit at The University of Mississippi Medical Center, where she helped the unit obtain a specialized CARF pediatric brain injury certification, 1 of 6 facilities with such distinction at that time. During her time in Mississippi, she was active in Brain Injury Awareness and promoted ATV Legislation, speaking at the State Capitol in Jackson, MS.

Dr. Smith is currently in Atlanta, GA where she serves as Medical Director for the Inpatient Rehab Unit at Emory Decatur Hospital. She is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Brain Injury Medicine and a fellow of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. She serves on the Board of Directors for ElevateMeD, a nonprofit organization designed to enhance physician and healthcare diversity. Dr. Smith actively mentors college students and tutors medical students, and also frequently gives community health care presentations to local nursing homes and senior facilities.

Diana Harper M.D.

Regional Medical Director – North Carolina

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Diana Harper M.D., board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, serves as the Regional Medical Director for US Physiatry – Post Acute Physicians of North Carolina. She currently is the Rehabilitation physician and consultant at several Sub-acute facilities in the Raleigh/Durham area of North Carolina.

Dr. Harper is a native of Charleston, South Carolina, attended Wofford College where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and graduated summa cum laude. Dr. Harper then attended the Medical University of South Carolina, graduating in 1993 before spending three years on active duty proudly serving as a physician in the United States Air Force. Afterwards, she began her speciality training in Physical Medicine and Rehab in the residency program at East Carolina University where she was honored to be selected Chief Resident.

She has a wide scope of experience in the area of Inpatient and Outpatient Rehab as well as Electrodiagnostic medicine. Dr. Harper is Board Certified in the area of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and is a member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

Clinical interests include Geriatrics, Neuromuscular, SCI, Musculoskeletal and Cancer Rehab among others. She takes great joy in caring for her patients and their families believing communication, cooperation and teamwork are keys to recovery.

Sam Ghaffari, D.O.

Regional Medical Director – Cleveland, Ohio

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Sam Ghaffari, D.O. is board certified in Physiatry and has served as the Atlanta Region Medical Director since 2011. As one of the longest tenured physicians in US Physiatry, he has been able to cultivate a diverse physiatry practice. He has established a well networked outpatient clinic in a suburb east of Atlanta since 2008, focusing on neurorehab, spasticity, EMG, and pain management. He serves as Medical Director of the Inpatient Rehabilitation Center at Dekalb Medical Center in Decatur, GA since 2012. Dr. Ghaffari is an active attending, consultant, and previous Medical Director of New London Healthcare, a skilled nursing facility in Snellville, GA. He serves as Medical Director of Gentiva Home Health, an affiliate of Kindred Home, Gwinnett County Branch since 2010. He is also a consulting physicians for two Atlanta area Long Term Acute Care Hospitals (LTAC). Since 2008 Dr. Ghaffari is Clinical Faculty for geriatrics and physiatry clerkship for 3rd and 4th year medical students from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine Georgia Campus. Dr. Ghaffari received a wrestling scholarship to attend Division I Cleveland State University where he received his undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, and then received his Doctor of Osteopathy from Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his residency training at Emory University and Shepherd Center in 2008. Dr. Ghaffari lectures nationally on spasticity, neurorehab and physiatry care in post-acute settings.

Lisa Lombard, M.D.

Regional Medical Director – Columbus, Ohio

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Lisa Lombard, M.D. graduated from Amherst College with a degree in Neuroscience with honors and completed medical training at Wayne State University School of Medicine. After finishing a residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, she went to complete a fellowship in Brain Injury Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. Additionally, she is board certified in Spinal Cord Injury Medicine. She has held faculty positions at the University of Pittsburgh and Indiana University and was medical director of the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana. She currently serves as medical director at OhioHealth Rehabilitation Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Lombard has published on many rehabilitation topics, including brain injury agitation, neuropharmacology and spasticity. She frequently serves as an oral boards examiner for the American Board of PM&R and has held numerous volunteer positions in both the ABPMR and the American Academy of PM&R.

Antoinne Able, M.D.

Regional Medical Director – Tennessee

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Antoinne Able, M.D. received degrees from University of Tennessee –Knoxville (B.A.), Tennessee State University (M.S.), and Meharry Medical College.He completed his residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University Of Texas Health Sciences Center – San Antonio. Antoinne Able, M.D. practiced at UTHSC-SA as an Assistant Professor and Associate Medical Director of the Spinal Cord Injury service before returning to Meharry. At Meharry, He worked to introduce students, residents and colleagues to PM&R and all it has to offer. Eventually he joined the medical faculty of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and served as Associate Professor and Medical Director of Stroke Rehabilitation. Currently he has assumed the role of Medical Director at Tri-Star Southern Hills Rehabilitation Center (Nashville) and regional medical director for US Physiatry.

He has been married to Patricia more than 25 years. Medicine and especially Hubbard Hospital (Nashville, TN) has proved a close second in time and attention to Patricia. Borne of that relationship was circumstance and experiences that first introduced Antoinne Able, M.D. to caring for the underserved. Here, the conceptual framework of worship of God through service to mankind was firmly implanted. Every joy, benefit, or success he has experienced is easily attributed to knowing these to be more than mere words. Initially, it was an ideal to conceive; but now, a passion by which he lives.

Anand Allam, M.D.

Regional Medical Director – Houston, TX

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Anand Allam, M.D., graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in electrical engineering and biology. After some experiences in biomedical engineering, he decided to pursue medicine and obtained his medical degree at UT Southwestern Medical School at Dallas. He completed residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine and fellowship in Spinal Cord Injury Medicine at TIRR Memorial Hermann, the Houston VA Medical Center, and many other sites in the Texas Medical Center. During this time, he also obtained a M.S. in Health Informatics at the UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics.

He began his clinical practice as faculty at the McGovern Medical School at UT Houston with various clinical, administrative, and leadership roles in PM&R and Clinical Informatics. After few years, he transitioned back to his hometown in The Woodlands, TX. Currently, he serves as the medical director of inpatient rehabilitation at CHI St. Luke’s Health – The Woodlands Hospital. He also provides care at various post acute facilities including SNF, LTACH and a brain injury residential facility in the North Houston area.

Dr. Allam is a member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the Texas Medication Association. He is board certified in PM&R and SCI Medicine.

Dr. Herbert Villaflores, MD, MBA

Regional Medical Director- St. Louis, MO

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Herbert Villaflores, MD, MBA received his Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a minor in Chemistry from California State University, Fullerton. He went on to Saba University School of Medicine where he received his MD. He received his residency training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Kentucky School of Medicine. To further enhance his medical training and leadership development, he pursued and received his MBA from Fontbonne University.

Currently, he serves as Program Director of Clinical Quality for SSM-Select Rehabilitation, St. Louis and is the Regional Director for US Physiatry. Most recently, as the Physician Advisor and Medical Director of Care Coordination at DePaul Hospital, he also served as a member of the Executive Leadership Team at SSM Health DePaul Hospital. He has been with the SSM Health system since 2004 where he has served in multiple capacities as Medical Director for multiple hospitals and units to include Stroke, Spinal Cord Injury, and General Rehabilitation.