About PREFERRED Therapy Providers

Founded with focus

Founded in 1992 by industry professionals passionate about quality of care, PREFERRED Therapy Providers has been three decades helping PTs, OTs and SLPs increase patient visits and revenue through access to quality payor contracts and expert advice. 

As the nation’s leading payor management network, PREFERRED offers physical, occupational and speech therapists an ever-growing portfolio of payor contracts and services that streamline the administrative burden of running a practice.  

Meet our team and learn more about our mission, vision and approach below.

PREFERRED Therapy Providers is based in Phoenix, Arizona, but has team members from Texas to the Pacific Northwest and members across the U.S.

Meet Our Team

Steve Allred


Steve grew up in Orange County, CA before going on to live in 6 states and 2 countries.

With 3 young adults already out of the house and 2 fast-growing teens, Steve and his wife recently adopted a new puppy to soften the emptying nest.

He loves anything outdoors that involves more nature than people, photography and classic rock from the late 60’s and 70’s. 

Steve began his professional career as a Physical Therapist before pursuing a business degree.  That combined experience has informed the 10 years he has been with PREFERRED.

Debbie Rutherford

Contracting & Network Development Manager

Debbie joined PREFERRED in 2013, adding a wealth of experience in healthcare contract negotiations, compliance, MSO & IPA development and expansion.

Originally born in Ontario, Canada, Debbie moved to sunny California in 1980, eventually relocating with her two dogs to Phoenix in 2011. When not working, Debbie adores spending time with her grandchildren.  She also enjoys camping, reading, crafting, furniture refinishing and working with her church’s Women’s Ministry.

Fran George-Kennard

Network Recruitment Manager

Fran has been with PREFERRED since 2013.  

Her decades working in healthcare and insurance combined with her experience as a small business owner make her a natural in working with small and medium-sized private practices.  

She and husband Trey share two dogs (Remy and Sasha) and a love for motor coach road trips and camping.  Fran has three adult daughters and a stepson. 

Cathy Stell

Marketing Communications Manager

Cathy joined PREFERRED in late 2021 after spending a decade doing outreach for community health centers.  

Her first career in promoting live entertainment lends a unique perspective to building awareness and engagement with patients and partners alike.   

Cathy is an avid reader, loves music of all kinds and shares her home with a furry family of 3 cats and a dog.  

Darla Kennedy

Project Manager

Darla grew up in White Salmon, Washington, in the beautiful Columbia Gorge, and recently returned to the area to live.

Her background includes healthcare and hospital experience up and down the California coast. She joined PREFERRED in September 2021.

Darla’s multi-species family includes a 25-year old son, 8-year old blue nose Pitbull and feline siblings Sonny & Cher plus a new kitten, Rosemary.  She is a novice woodworker, avid crafter and artist and a big antiques fan.

Lisa Vargo

Project Manager

As the newest member of our team, Lisa brings valuable experience in credentialing, healthcare and business management to PREFERRED. 

Born and raised in snowy Buffalo, NY, Lisa has put down new roots in the vibrant and diverse Pittsburgh area.

In her free time, Lisa’s favorite things to do are spend time with family, church, travel, fitness and sports — particularly football and golf!

Mindy Gottschling

Credentialing Associate

Originally from Flagstaff, Arizona, Mindy moved to Phoenix in 2010 with her husband of 18 years and identical twin girls.  

Mindy has been with PREFERRED for 3 years and her work background includes roles in customer service, credentialing, admin for a hospital medical staff office and patient billing.  

Mindy loves spending time with her husband, twins and two Huskies.  She also finds time to continue her 35+ years playing soccer.  

Amanda Doma

Provider Recruitment Associate

Amanda joined PREFERRED in April 2021 to shepherd new members through the on-boarding process.  

She grew up in Los Angeles county then relocated to Phoenix with her husband Tim when his job moved him here.

Amanda loves to workout, spend time exploring and hiking, try new restaurants and watching movies (preferably at a movie theater!).  

Christi Abbot

Provider Recruitment Associate

Christi takes the award for longevity at PREFERRED.

Originally a part-time admin, her love of details, her flexibility and her desire to help have translated to full-time role and ability to pitch in anywhere.  

Born and raised in Phoenix, Christi and her husband Dave wrangle their 5 young adult offspring, 2 dogs and 2 grand-dogs.  

Christi loves going to the gym, sporting events and hanging out with her family and friends.

Jim Bertko

Operations Support Associate

Jim was born and raised in Clifton, New Jersey, which is world-renowned at the birthplace of Rupert Pupkin.  

He moved to Arizona to attend Arizona State University and has now been here long enough that he has completely forgotten how to drive in snow. 

Jim has been with PTP for 8 years and has background in administrative support going back to a part-time job at Arizona State to help pay for books and beer.

In his spare time, Jim enjoys books, music movies, cooking, wine-tasting, playing Mahjong and recycling.  


Our Mission

To inspire and empower the lives we touch, to serve our communities and to lead with purpose-driven passion.

Our Vision

Through exceptional service and remarkable experiences, we choose to be the therapy provider network of choice.

Our Values

Accountability | Adaptability | Balance | Compassion | Excellence | Inclusion | Investment | Servanthood | Teamwork | Trust

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