Our Professional Team

Effective Regulatory Navigation

Click the names below to learn more about our key professionals.

Aaron Lichtman, JD

Christopher Johnson, MPA, MHA, LNHA, CHC

Susan Almeida BSN, RN, LNHA, CHC

Tara Rosenbaum, JD

Kimberly Howard, MSW

Donald Ponzini


Aaron Lichtman, JD



Aaron Lichtman is widely regarded as a leading healthcare lawyer in the nation. For the past 20 years, he has served, advised, and represented healthcare clients (real estate owners, operators, healthcare vendors, ancillary companies, and their owners and investors). His work spans the healthcare universe from transactions, corporate structural issues, compliance matters and programs, defending facilities in governmental and private litigation, handling workouts, partnership, and management matters, Governmental and Union driven labor issues, handling public relations and other crisis management; to a host of other healthcare related matters. Aaron has negotiated, structured, advised, and helped document billions of dollars of acquisitions and billions of dollars of financing and re-financing of healthcare assets. He has helped structure and guide multiple healthcare groups from the small start-up to billion plus operations. He has been lead counsel and successfully resolved multiple large-scale Department of Justice, OIG, numerous attorney general and grand jury investigations involving the false claims act, anti-kickback statute, adequacy of staffing issues, worthless or inadequate services, and other issues. In addition to the foregoing, Aaron has recently represented clients on matters being investigated by the Secret Service, Homeland Security, State Auditor General, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, UPICs, State Offices of the Inspector General, Department of Labor, OMIG, NCQAs, Local Police, APS and several other governmental or quasi-governmental entities. Aaron, together with clinical and administrative support staff and consultants, have saved several facilities from closure, successfully reduced scope and severity and/or eliminated tags prior to the issuance of a 2567 while assisting clients to improve and demonstrate compliance, enhanced care, and stronger operations. Aaron has also helped special focus and CIA, or facilities with provisional licenses to “graduate”. Aaron has acted as point and architect for complex workouts with lenders, members and creditors and calmed or reduced the impact of virtually every type of crisis that can befall a healthcare client: from deadly outbreak of disease; to costly and time consuming governmental investigation; to severe labor unrest; to mandatory extended evacuation; to default, foreclosure or eviction; to operational, structure, or compliance issues; to difficulty recruiting training and/or retaining staff; to ownership or investor unrest; to negative media or political attention; to any number of other unimaginable events that can happen in the best of healthcare communities. Aaron routinely acts as a facility spokesperson or representative in legal action and supervises the litigation and negotiates settlements in professional liability cases in several high-risk states as well as many other types of healthcare related litigation. In addition to having hung a jury in a facility acquired decubitus ulcer case, Aaron has supervised and acted as a decision-maker in mediations and helped to resolve many hundreds of professional liability cases.

Aaron actively represents hundreds of skilled nursing facilities and several other direct healthcare providers as well as a plethora of ancillaries including Ambulance, Mobile x-ray, Medical Billing, Institutional Pharmacies, medical courier, administrative consultants, clinical consultants and other vendors and service providers. Aaron often works with some of the top healthcare practitioners in the country, from doctors and nurses, to operational people, to lawyers, accountants, and reimbursement specialists. Aaron thinks of himself as a student who is constantly attempting to understand where we are today and where we will be six years from now when the actions of today are judged. 

Aaron earned his undergraduate degree from Bard College where he was a three-time recipient of the Reamer Kline Award (given to an undergraduate who contributes significantly to the vitality of the College). He earned his Judicial doctorate from New York Law School where he ranked in the top ten percent of his class after his first year and was one of two students to be published in Law Review. Aaron also, during Law School, received an American Jurisprudence Award for outstanding scholastic achievement in Contracts. Aaron served as a multi-year teaching assistant to the Dean Emeritus and Joseph Solomon Distinguished Professor of Law, E Donald Shapiro and a multi-term Clerk for the Honorable Michael B. Mukasey, then Federal District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York and later Chief Judge and Attorney General of the United States. In his second summer, third year and after he graduated, Aaron worked for the Wall Street Law Firm of Mudge Rose Guthrie Alexander and Ferdon for The Honorable Jed S. Rakoff in his criminal defense and civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) practice. Judge Rakoff, currently serves as a Senior Judge in the United States District Court for Southern District of New York. When Judge Rakoff left the firm, Aaron was given the opportunity to work for some of the Firm’s finest attorneys in its Real Estate, Corporate, Bankruptcy, Public Finance and Litigation Departments.

From Mudge Rose, Aaron started his own practice with the hopes of holistically, passionately, and effectively serving the needs of his clients. Aaron honors creativity, perseverance, and results. He believes that a great attorney must be strategic, practical, analytical, patient, decisive, a good listener, and a good communicator on the one hand and be able to understand business motivation, strategy and consequences on the other. He is as comfortable with financials as he is with complex legal documents or communicating a position in any type of negotiation. Aaron’s clients typically desire to focus on providing high quality service and care to their residents, patients or clients and have him take care of that which distracts so many. While his client base has materially grown over the years, Aaron’s client retention rate is exceedingly high.

Christopher Johnson, MPH, MPA, LNHA, CHC



Christopher Johnson holds a Master of Science in Health Care Administration from Lynn University and a Master’s of Public Administration in Geriatric Healthcare from Florida State University. He is a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator in New York and Connecticut. He has served as an Adjunct Professor with Lynn University and then the College of New Rochelle.

Chris started his healthcare career in the public sector as a Health Facility Surveyor with the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration and a Program Specialist for the Area Agency on Aging of North Florida.

Chris has over 20 years of healthcare experience and has a record of accomplishment in delivering service excellence and ongoing improvements for the success of single-site facilities and multi-facility regions. He is a strong decision-maker with a keen ability to help define overall direction, build high-performing, ethical and legally compliant organizations and navigate complex situations.

For example, prior to coming to RYTES, Chris was a Vice President of Operations for an international group providing oversight for nine healthcare operations in five states providing skilled nursing, sub-acute rehab, ventilator care, and pediatric long-term care/rehabilitation. Over a period of three years, Christopher drove key change and improvement in various areas, including customer satisfaction, quality clinical outcomes, and overall service excellence and value. This included driving four centers to achieve clinical excellence with deficiency-free CMS surveys, increasing overall customer satisfaction from the mid-70s to 91%, and achieving a competitive average employee turnover rate that exceeded the 40% industry average.

Chris has a particular passion for quantifying data and executing the practical application of data through a methodical implementation process to secure defined outcomes. In 2010, he was recognized with the ACHCA 2010 Facility Leadership Award for excellence in patient quality outcomes. During this time, he also served on the New York State Health Facility Association’s Board of Directors and acted as its District IV Legislative Liaison.

Susan Almeida BSN, RN, LNHA, CHC



Susan Almeida is an experienced Registered Nurse and licensed nursing home administrator. Susan graduated cum laude from Western Connecticut State University as a member of Sigma Theta Tau, International Honor Society of Nursing, and from the University of Connecticut with a certificate in Long-Term Healthcare Management. Susan has 20+ years’ experience in the Long-Term Care industry.

She has worked at independently owned facilities as well as large multi-facility corporations in various capacities including Regional Director of Clinical Development, Quality Improvement, Case Management, Director of Nursing, and as an acting Administrator. Among many achievements, Susan has served as a Senior Examiner for the American Healthcare Association Quality Award program and has co-authored an awarded Quality Gold application. Susan provides RYTES and our clients with depth of clinical understanding and experience.

Tara Rosenbaum, JD



Tara Rosenbaum is a skilled and experienced healthcare lawyer. She graduated from the University of Albany in 1995 and is a 1999 cum laude graduate of Albany Law School. For more than a decade, Tara has been working almost exclusively in the healthcare field during which time she has assisted in closing several billion dollars of acquisitions, divestitures, and financings. Tara has, in addition, distinguished herself as a healthcare authority, effectively working with many types of healthcare entities and ancillary providers including Residential Care, Pharmacy, Dental, X-Ray, Risk Retention, Ultra-Sound, Third Party Management, financial services, and billing and receivable companies on a multitude of complex issues, working alongside some of the most prestigious firms in the Nation. Frequently consulted by owners, operators and healthcare lawyers for advice, Tara has established herself as a trusted advisor.

Tara believes strongly in the effective, transparent, and knowledgeable execution of the law. Providers and not lawyers, or consultants, make the decision as to where they choose to live on the continuum of risk, but Tara has found almost universally that providers choose risk out of ignorance—either not understanding the limitations which are imposed by law or not understanding the safer alternatives available to them. The hundreds of operators she services share a goal of being proud of the quality of their Organizations and the services or products they provide. They put resident/patient care first, so they certainly do not want to inadvertently risk exclusion from governmental programs, criminal or civil prosecutions or be bogged down by professional liability or other suits which drain vital resources from patient care.

From litigation management to compliance and structural issues, Tara is praised for her responsiveness, focused efficiency, and legal competence. She builds trust through her low-key, straightforward, and candid approach. Her willingness to utilize the extensive network that she has built to better serve her clients in formulating their plan for success, has further enhanced Tara’s excellent rapport.

Tara currently has her own healthcare law practice and is an integral part of the RYTES team.

Kimberly Howard, MSW



Kimberly Howard heads the Employment Group at RYTES Company. Kimberly is a big firm detail- oriented human resources professional who gets it. Having run a business herself and been an advisor to Senior Management and Owner/Operators, Kimberly is practical and gets things done. Along with 15 years of thorough on-the-job training with leaders in the fields of technology, human services, luxury hospitality, law and healthcare, Kim holds a Master’s of Social Work from New York University and an array of training certifications, including Crisis Intervention, Individual and Organizational Growth and Organizational Assessment from Cornell University, Lominger Career Architects, Deloitte, respectively. Kimberly has worked for premier companies such as Deloitte and Hyperion/Oracle, and most recently the Financial Accounting Standards Board where she served as Director of Human Resources. Kim has led multiple acquisitions and workforce restructurings to include blitz hiring and reductions in force and has been through the ups of the dot-com boom in the software and technology sectors and the downturn of a declining economy. Her passion lies in helping to set up systems for those who have suffered or are threatened with crisis, repetitive lawsuits, audits, poor productivity, labor unrest, poor documentation, and similar ruinous situations. Working with existing management and without ruffling feathers, she helps improve the quality and the bottom line.

Kim is proud to have worked for two of “Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For”, one of which she brought to Fortune’s attention. She successfully assessed the issues and implemented solutions at an underperforming office of a firm which was fraught with lawsuits among its myriad of issues–taking it from last to first in its employee satisfaction ratings. Kim believes motivated, happy and effectively managed employees are more productive, provide better care and services, don’t become adverse witnesses and generate positive returns. That is Kim’s focus.

Donald Ponzini



Don is a technology strategist with extensive IT leadership experience including oversight of infrastructure, R&D, application support and security services. Don is dedicated to customer satisfaction with the focused delivery of technical solutions. He is a proven leader in directing operations, maintenance, and support of complex systems.

Don has developed creative business solutions, leveraged diverse methodologies, and delivered engineering solutions for leading organizations including most recently the Gap Inc. and FujiFilm Medical Systems where he served as a Manager of Support Engineering and as a Manager, IT Operations, and End User Enrollment, respectively. Don is highly adept in technology assessments and staff training.