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Medicaid Health Plans of America elects new board

WASHINGTON, DC — Medicaid Health Plans of America recently announced it has named a new slate of officers and one new member to its nine-member board of directors to lead the association.

MHPA represents managed Medicaid plans across the country, and the election brings “an experienced team of leaders working on behalf of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens,” offcials said in a press release.

Catherine Anderson, senior vice president of policy and strategy for UnitedHealthcare Community & State, was elected as the new chair of the board of directors for MHPA. She will be joined by three other Medicaid managed care professionals — Chris Priest, Wendy Morriarty, and Melissa Holmquist — rounding out the Board’s new executive team. In addition, Deb Bacon, representing Aetna Medicaid, joins the MHPA Board as an at-large member.

New board chair Catherine Anderson has been with UnitedHealth for more than 20 years, where she is responsible for working with state and federal policymakers to shape programs to serve Medicaid and Medicare populations. Anderson’s “extensive expertise working with policymakers to address the complex needs of individuals served by government healthcare programs and her experience understanding how these complex government-funded healthcare programs and delivery systems work, will greatly help MHPA in its policy efforts,” offcials said in the release. Anderson had previously served as vice chair of the MHPA Board.

“As an industry, managed care is committed to helping those Americans most in need,” Anderson said in the press release. “Each day, we work to help our members overcome barriers to care, while simultaneously improving health outcomes and lowering costs. I look forward to working with MHPA’s Board, staff and partner organizations to advance solutions that improve the health and well-being of millions of Medicaid members across the country.”

Joining the executive team is new MHPA Board Vice Chair Chris Priest. Priest has many years of Medicaid managed care experience and currently serves as vice president of Medicaid Solutions for the Centene Corporation. Previously, he was deputy director for Medical Services with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services MDHHS, where he also served as Michigan’s Medicaid director, overseeing several of the state’s healthcare programs.

Wendy Morriarty, RN, MPH, the vice president and Chief Medicaid Officer for Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey that currently serves over 800,000 Medicaid and Medicare members, will continue in her role as MHPA Board Treasurer; while Melissa Holmquist, CEO for the Upper Peninsula Health Plan, which serves approximately 50,000 Medicaid enrollees, children with special health care services, and Medicare beneficiaries in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, takes over as MHPA’s new secretary.Deb Bacon, chief operating officer of Aetna Medicaid, also joined the MHPA Board of Directors. Bacon oversees medical management, quality, implementation, provider network, strategic projects and segment operations. She has experience in strategic, financial and operational leadership along with public accounting and consulting. She is a certified public accountant with a master’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“Collectively our Board officers brings tremendous depth and breadth of experience in crafting and supporting innovative policy solutions that improve health outcomes for our most vulnerable populations,” said MHPA President and CEO Craig A. Kennedy in the press release. “Their expertise is invaluable for helping today’s health plans work to meet the complex needs of our beneficiaries while making the overall Medicaid program more efficient for all stakeholders involved, especially for our partners in state and federal government. It is an exciting time to be working in Medicaid, and I am proud and honored to work in tandem with the MHPA Board to fulfill its mission – ensuring that ‘people who count on Medicaid, count on us’.”

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