Board of Directors and Leadership

Board of Directors

Dr. Martin Hickey, CEO of New Mexico Health Connections and Chair of the NASHCO Board of Directors


Dr. Hickey, M.D., is Chief Executive Officer of New Mexico Health Connections. Before returning to New Mexico as our CEO, he was a Managing Director of Navigant Consulting where his practice focused on clinical integration, physician strategy, Patient Centered Medical Homes, ambulatory care management and Accountable Care Organization development.

Prior to joining Navigant, Dr. Hickey was the first President/CEO of Alegent Health Clinic in Omaha, Nebraska. In this role, he built a large multi-specialty group practice for a nine-hospital health system in Nebraska and Iowa.

Dr. Hickey began his career on the Navajo Reservation in the Indian Health Service. He moved on to the VA in Albuquerque and then to the University of New Mexico. During that time, he set up pilot rural health programs, was an associate professor of Internal Medicine, developed an office of Managed Care Contracting, and served as Medical Director of the University Physician Associates, the faculty practice. Martin is a graduate of the Rush Medical College in Chicago. He also earned his master’s degree in Administrative Medicine from the University of Wisconsin, and completed a residency in Primary Care Internal Medicine at the University of Rochester.

Arizona: Tom Zumtobel, Meritus Health Partners

tomTom Zumtobel is the CEO of Meritus. Throughout Tom’s career, he has been an advocate of lifting managed care barriers for patients and physicians.  He believes the best solutions lie in simplicity and can be realized only through the development of trust and open communication with physicians.

With more than 20 years of experience, Zumtobel’s career began as a practice manager for a large primary care/urgent care practice which evolved into comprehensive health care solution for major self-funded employers.

Since then, Tom has held several professional leadership positions including the Vice President of Strategy with the UNITE Here Health and the President of the Culinary Health Fund, where he designed and implemented the in-sourcing of the Fund’s PPO network of more than 2,500 providers, the development of a Fund-employed network of Nurse Case Managers/Patient Advocates, and the expansion of a robust data analysis system. These innovations created a direct service and communication channel with providers, resulting in improved quality of care at a lower cost to the Fund; and the Vice Dean and Practice Plan Administrator for the University of Nevada, School of Medicine where he formed their Multi-Specialty practice plan and expanded their Medicaid “PCCM” risk capabilities.

Colorado: Colorado HealthOP, Julia Hutchins

Kathleen NASHCOPrior to becoming CEO of the Colorado HealthOP, Ms. Hutchins served the CO-OP Board as a consultant and was instrumental in the process of securing start-up financing for the CO-OP from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Affordable Care Act.

Hutchins was recently the Vice President, Business Development for Colorado Access. She has also served as Sr. Director, Business Development and Planning for Alameda Alliance for Health, Oakland California. In addition, Hutchins has worked in health care policy analysis, legislative advocacy and community organizing. She is proficient in Spanish.

Hutchins received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biology from Washington University in St. Louis, MO and Master’s degrees in Public Health (MPH) and Public Policy (MPP) from the University of California, Berkeley.

Connecticut: Healthy CT, Kenneth Lalime

Kenneth NASHCO

Ken is a lifelong Connecticut resident with over 30 years of experience in the health care arena.   Ken is the past Executive Director of the Connecticut State Medical Society-IPA (CSMS-IPA), a 7,000-physician member independent practice association.

Prior to the CSMS-IPA, Lalime was the Chief Operating Officer at The Physicians Corporation; the business development manager at Primergy; and he held numerous management positions throughout a 17-year tenure at Norwalk Hospital.  Lalime was also co-owner of Cranbury Pharmacy in Norwalk and is a member of the Norwalk Board of Health since 1994.

Ken’s vision for HealthyCT is to develop a progressive non-profit health plan that facilitates the delivery of efficient, evidence-based medical care through a consumer-focused and patient-centered health care delivery model.

jason montrieIllinois: Land of Lincoln Health, Jason Montrie

Jason Montrie serves as President of Land of Lincoln Health, handling day-to-day operations for Illinois’ first and only consumer-operated and -oriented plan. His specific oversight and responsibilities in this role include provider networks and operations, sales and account management, marketing and public relations, government relations, and innovation. With more than 13 years of experience in health network development, he previously served as Land of Lincoln Health’s Executive Vice President, having joined the company in 2013.

Jason has long been dedicated to providing high-quality, cost-effective health insurance options to Illinois residents and businesses, making him a natural leader of nonprofit, member-governed Land of Lincoln Health. An established trailblazer, he has a proven track record of leading the development and execution of business strategies within the industry.

Prior to joining Land of Lincoln Health, Jason held executive roles at the Chicago offices of several highly-regarded health insurance companies, including Humana and Euclid Insurance Company.

Kentucky:  Kentucky Health Cooperative, Inc., Janie Miller


Janie Miller, CEO, Kentucky Health Cooperative, is a former Kentucky Insurance Commissioner, former secretary for Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services, budget director for the Kentucky General Assembly and a former director of operations for a regional Health Maintenance Organization.

Louisiana: Louisiana Health Cooperative, Greg Cromer


Louisiana Health Cooperative’s (LAHC) CEO is Greg Cromer, a Louisiana-native and current State Representative where he serves as Chairman of the House Insurance Committee.

Maine: Maine Community Health Options, Kevin Lewis


Before joining Maine Community Health Options, Kevin was CEO at Maine Primary Care Association, where his efforts included improving health care access for underserved populations and representing Maine’s community health centers.

He served as director of continuing care at Maine Hospital Association and as the legislative liaison at the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services. Kevin has a BA from Dartmouth College, a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Michigan, and is a graduate of the Johnson & Johnson Health Care Executive Program at UCLA.

Maryland: Evergreen Health CO-OP, Dr. Peter Beilenson


Prior to joining Evergreen Health CO-OP as its CEO, Dr. Peter Beilenson was the Health Officer for Howard County, MD. He also served as Baltimore City Health Commissioner from 1992-2005, where he focused his efforts on drug treatment expansion, childhood lead poisoning prevention, initiating a pioneering needle exchange program, contraceptive availability in the schools, child protective service reform and leading an effort for universal health coverage in Maryland.

Beilenson received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University, Medical Doctorate from Emory University School of Medicine, and Masters in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. (Source)

Massachusetts: Minuteman Health, Tom Policelli

Tom PolicelliPrior to Minuteman, Tom was co-founder/CEO at Averde Health, a multi-state network development and management company assisting large groups and health insurers maximize their provider costs. Tom was a high-level executive at America’s largest health plan, United Healthcare, prior to founding Averde.

He began his career at CIGNA Healthcare and Monitor Company, and has earned an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BA from Wesleyan University.

Michigan: Consumers Mutual Insurance of Michigan, Dennis Litos


Dennis Litos is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Consumers Mutual Insurance of Michigan.  Denny has 18 years of CEO experience for two large teaching hospital systems (Ingham Regional Medical Center-Lansing, Michigan and Doctors Medical Center-Modesto, California).

Denny’s health care experience includes managing and developing Integrated Health Care Delivery Systems and Commercial Accountable Care Organizations. Denny served as a Michigan based MHA Insurance Company (FinCor Holdings) Board member for 15 years and was Board Chair leader for 3 years.

Montana: Montana Health CO-OP, Jerry Dworak


Jerry Dworak is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Montana Health Co-op, a non-profit, member-governed Health Insurance Company located in Helena, Montana.  Prior to joining the cooperative, Jerry spent over 25 years in a variety of senior management positions with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska and most recently as Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Blue Cross of Idaho.

A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Jerry is a graduate of the University of Nebraska with a BA in Business Administration.  He is a Chartered Life Underwriter and received his Certified Employee Benefit Specialist designation from the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania.

Nevada: Pam Egan


New Jersey: Health Republic Insurance of New Jersey, Jim Martin


Jim comes to HRI of NJ having most recently worked as a freelance consultant establishing community living arrangements for individuals challenged by intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Jim has been both a provider and manager of healthcare services for many different populations as administrator of both specialty and general hospitals, and served as CEO of the first integrated healthcare delivery “system” in Rockland County, New York, consisting of three hospitals, a nursing home, and several multispecialty physician practices.

As Executive Director of HRINJ he is excited to have the opportunity to advocate for working uninsured as the organization strives to provide better and more comprehensive healthcare solutions for its members.

Jim earned his Master’s degree from Seton Hall University in counseling psychology and he, and his wife Pat, enjoy family gatherings with their children and grandchildren.

New York: Health Republic Insurance of New York, Debra Friedman

deb friedmanDebra Friedman is a senior level healthcare executive with over 20 years of insurance industry experience with major national companies including United Healthcare and Blue Cross and Blue Shield.  As a senior level executive, she has broad experience in business management, with full P and L and actuarial responsibility for billion-dollar businesses.

Her experience includes creating business strategies and introducing  individual and commercial healthcare, ancillary and alternative care businesses.  She also has extensive experience creating strategies for advocacy platforms and dealing with state and national regulators and CMS.

Debra also serves as the Vice Chairperson for Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Debra has her M.B.A. in Strategic Planning from Rutgers University and her B.S. in Marketing from University in Maryland.

Ohio: InHealth Mutual, Jesse Thomas


With a deep expertise in business expansion, strategic planning, public policy and community advocacy, Jesse Thomas recently served as president of WellCare Health Plans South Division in Atlanta, GA. There, he led plan presidents in GA, KY and SC and oversaw a $3 billion budget, more than 900,000 members, 500 employees, and numerous contracted providers and hospitals.

Prior to this, he served as chief/administrator in the Office of Healthcare Purchasing for the Illinois Department of Health and Family Services where he led the implementation of an Executive Order to consolidate the healthcare procurement function of the departments of Central Management Services, Corrections, Human Services, and Veterans Affairs.

Currently, he serves on the board of Go Build Georgia Education Foundation for the Workforce Development Agency, and on the board of advisors of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. He was the healthcare policy advisor to Rick Snyder during his 2010 Michigan Gubernatorial run; and Jesse was himself a candidate/nominee for the U.S. Congress in 2000 on healthcare and education reform.

Oregon: Oregon’s Health CO-OP, Dr. Ralph Prows


Dr. Ralph Prows is one of the few physicians in the country who’s equally experienced in treating patients, running a large primary care practice and working as a health insurance executive.

His background has made Ralph well aware of the long-missing element: what patients want. He’s excited to lead Oregon’s Health CO-OP in its efforts to put consumer and community interests at the center of decisions. Every day.

Before becoming Oregon’s Health CO-OP’s founding CEO in June 2012, Ralph was chief medical officer for Regence Northwest/Intermountain Region and, previously, senior medical director for Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon.

Oregon:Health Republic Insurance of Oregon, Dawn Bonder


Prior to joining Health Republic Insurance of Oregon, Dawn served as Director of OCHIN – O-HITEC, Oregon’s Regional Extension Center (REC) for Health Information Technology, where she was instrumental in developing and implementing Oregon’s successful REC program.

Dawn also served as Senior Policy Advisor to former Oregon Governor Theodore R. Kulongoski from 2009 through the end of his term, focusing on the issues of health, human services, and early childhood education and development, including the design of programs authorized by the passage of the HITECH Act of 2009.

Dawn previously served as Policy Director for the Oregon Business Association and has worked with state agencies, local governments and non-profits on a wide range of public policy issues. Dawn received a J.D. from New York University School of Law, and a B.S. in Business Administration from Boston University. Dawn lives in Portland, Oregon, and enjoys the chaos of raising three teenage sons.

South Carolina (Consumers Choice Health Plan) and Tennessee (Community Health Alliance), Jerry Burgess


Jerry Burgess has over 30 years of experience as a senior executive in the health care industry and is a frequent speaker and lecturer on health care. He is the founder of two non-profit organizations, the South Carolina Business Coalition on Health and Healthcare 21 in Tennessee. Both organizations strive to improve the value of health care for employers and their communities.

Mr. Burgess has held executive positions with three large healthcare systems: St. Mary’s Health System of Knoxville, Christ Hospital of Cincinnati and Methodist Health Systems of Memphis. He holds a Master’s of Business Administration degree with a double concentration in Marketing and Management and three undergraduate degrees.

Utah: Arches Health Plan, Linn Baker


For 31 years, Linn was executive director of the State of Utah’s Public Employees Health Program. He implemented a statewide preferred provider network for public employees in 1985, and organized two self-funded HMO networks offered to public employees in 1991.

Mr. Baker has worked closely with the state health department in developing Healthy Utah, a health promotion program for employees who adopt healthier lifestyles. He is a founder and two-time president of the State and Local Government Benefits Association.

Mr. Baker has served on the National Advisory Committee for the State Data Commissions and on the Executive Committee of the National Academy of State Health Policy. He graduated from Weber State College with a Bachelor of Science in economics.

Wisconsin: Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative, Cathy Mahaffey

Cathy Mahaffey

Cathy serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative (CGHC).  Prior to assuming her current role, Cathy served as the company’s Chief Operating Officer.

Cathy has an extensive health insurance background and a passion for the cooperative business model where members’ govern the business and profits are not the driving force behind the decisions that are made. Cathy had her first experience with the cooperative business model when she was hired by The Alliance, a nonprofit employer-owned and directed cooperative that negotiates with providers to help members achieve better value for their healthcare dollar. One of her roles at The Alliance was to work with a small employer purchasing cooperative offered by 27 chambers of commerce whose primary objective was to aggregate the purchasing power of small employers to impact the access to, and purchase of, quality, cost-effective health plans.

Prior to joining CGHC, Cathy was the Executive Director of Farmers’ Health Cooperative, a health insurance purchasing cooperative for farmers and agribusinesses in Wisconsin. During her tenure, she worked to significantly improve the quality and affordability of health insurance coverage for farmers and agribusinesses.