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Executive Profiles


Pat Wang - Chief Executive Officer


Pat Wang joined Healthfirst as President and CEO in 2008. Sponsored by a number of not-for-profit and public hospitals in the metropolitan New York region, Healthfirst has more than 700,000 members enrolled in a variety of health insurance products, including Medicaid, Family Health Plus, and Child Health Plus, as well as Medicare Advantage. Healthfirst also manages the long term care benefits of frail elderly individuals through its subsidiary, Senior Health Partners. Healthfirst strives to assure the availability of culturally and linguistically competent health care to diverse communities, as well as to improve health insurance coverage and quality of care.  
Ms. Wang practiced health law at Kalkines, Arky, Zall and Bernstein, where she represented health care providers serving low income patients.  She then worked for the Greater New York Hospital Association, a hospital and continuing care provider trade association, where she was a Senior Vice President with responsibilities for analysis, operations, advocacy, and policy related to managed care, uncompensated care, and health care financing. One of her earliest accomplishments at GNYHA was the creation of Healthfirst, which became a freestanding company in 1993.  
Ms. Wang is a graduate of Princeton University, where she majored in history and East Asian studies, and New York University School of Law, where she received her J.D. degree, cum laude.  She has lived in Taiwan, Beijing, and Yugoslavia.

Daniel McCarthy - President & Chief Operating Officer


Mr. McCarthy joined Healthfirst in April 2008, bringing almost 20 years of experience in healthcare, with expertise in product development, operations, and business strategy. Mr. McCarthy previously served as president of Metcare Health Plans, Inc., a Medicare Advantage plan in Florida. For the 13 years prior to joining Metcare, Mr. McCarthy was an executive with Empire BlueCross BlueShield of New York, where, during his tenure, he was responsible for Network Contracting and Management, Senior Market Products, Individual Products, the New Jersey market, Medical Economics, and Group Underwriting, as well as for other areas.


Mr. McCarthy holds B.A.’s in both History and Political Science from Fordham University, and M.B.A.’s  in both Finance and Management from New York University’s Stern School of Business.


Elizabeth St. Clair, Esq. - General Counsel


Ms. St. Clair joined Healthfirst in May 2008 with extensive health care experience. Prior to joining Healthfirst, Ms. St. Clair served as General Counsel at Saint Vincent Catholic Medical Centers in New York City, a not-for-profit health care system comprised of 8 hospitals, 4 nursing homes, 3 home care agencies, and more than 60 ambulatory care sites. She was responsible for legal affairs, corporate compliance, governance, insurance, and risk and claims management. During her tenure as General Counsel, SVCMC went through a successful bankruptcy reorganization, including several hospital divestitures and debt refinancing.


Prior to joining Saint Vincent Catholic Medical Centers, Ms. St. Clair served as general counsel at New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation where she developed the corporation's first compliance program. She also held positions as Division Chief of the New York City Law Department's Office of the Corporation Counsel from 1992 - 1997, and as partner at Rabinowitz, Boudin, Standard, Krinsky & Kieberman, P.C. from 1988 - 1992.

Ms. St. Clair holds a J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law and a B.A. from the University of Washington.


Jay Schechtman M.D., M.B.A. - Chief Medical Officer


Dr. Schechtman has been Chief Medical Officer of Healthfirst since 1999. Dr. Schechtman’s responsibilities include medical management, appeals and grievance, quality improvement, and ancillary.


Dr. Schechtman is an industry expert in HEDIS turn-around, provider profiling, and incentive programs, as well as medical cost control. Dr. Schechtman also serves as the Assistant Clinical Professor in Community and Preventive Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. As such, Dr. Schechtman works with both residents and fellows, and participates in various research projects.


Prior to working at Healthfirst, Dr. Schechtman was a National Medical Director for Magellan Specialty Health and a full-time academic physician at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. He obtained a medical degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine and an M.B.A. from the combined health care management program of Mount Sinai and Baruch College. Dr. Schechtman is board certified in rehabilitation and was chief resident at Mount Sinai.


John Cheng - Chief Marketing & Communications Officer


John Cheng is a marketing and business development executive with over 10 years of health care industry experience, specializing in electronic media. He joined Healthfirst in April 2010 with responsibility for developing new and innovative marketing strategies and effectively maximizing Healthfirst’s brand.


Prior to joining Healthfirst, Mr. Cheng served as the Vice President of Strategic Marketing and Communications at Aetna Health Care. His earlier experience includes positions with Oxford Health Plans, CIGNA HealthCare, GE Capital, AT&T Corporation and more. Mr. Cheng has held senior roles in strategic marketing, business development, and strategic planning, and obtained a Six Sigma Green Belt focused on the development of new products.

Mr. Cheng oversees the Marketing and Communications, Corporate Communications, and Product Management departments at Healthfirst. He has an M.B.A. from Pace University and received his Bachelors Degree from Brooklyn College.


Sonya L. Henderson - Vice President, Compliance and Audit & Corporate Compliance Officer


Sonya L. Henderson joined Healthfirst in September 2009 with over 20 years of operations and corporate compliance experience in the healthcare arena. Ms. Henderson has a strong background and extensive knowledge in negotiation and conflict resolution.


Ms. Henderson will build on Healthfirst’s existing comprehensive compliance program and will continue to promote a culture of compliance and ethical behavior throughout the organization. She will ensure that employees have a complete understanding of the importance of compliance and how compliance relates to their everyday tasks. Ms. Henderson also oversees the audit team, which performs both compliance audits and internal audits of Healthfirst processes to ensure compliance with outside regulatory requirements and that our internal processes adequately protect the organization against business risk. She oversees the Compliance program and audit activities within Healthfirst, and provides ongoing updates to the Audit and Compliance Committee of the Board of Directors.


Prior to joining Healthfirst, Ms. Henderson held positions at AmeriChoice, HorizonNJHealth, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ. During her time at both Horizon NJ Health and AmeriChoice, Ms. Henderson served as the organization's Compliance Officer. Ms. Henderson holds a BA in Communications from The University of Pittsburgh.


Paul Portsmore – Senior Vice President, Business Development and Member Acquisition


Paul Portsmore joined Healthfirst in August 2012, bringing more than 15 years of healthcare experience to his role as Senior Vice President of Business Development and Member Acquisition. In this role he is responsible for developing new market opportunities and growing existing markets.  Mr. Portsmore oversees product development, sales, and external affairs. 


Before joining Healthfirst, Mr. Portsmore was Vice President for Health Services at AmeriHealth of New Jersey, a commercial health insurer of small and mid-sized groups in New Jersey.  Mr. Portsmore’s responsibilities included unit cost and utilization management, quality management, population health and wellness, and developing and driving business strategy.


Prior to AmeriHealth, Mr. Portsmore worked at Empire BlueCross BlueShield as Assistant Vice President of Network Management. He was accountable for network contracting and management, provider relations, and provider technology solutions.


Mr. Portsmore received a B.A. from Providence College in Rhode Island and an M.B.A. in Health Care Administration from the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College in New York. 



Michael Fedyna - Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Actuary    


Michael Fedyna brings more than 30 years of industry experience to Healthfirst, with expertise in both government and large-scale commercial health insurance.  


For the past seven years, he served as Vice President and Chief Actuary for Aetna, and he has built his skills over a career that included Chief Actuary and CFO positions at Cigna, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, Wellpoint (East Region), and Humana.  


He is a graduate of St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia where he majored in mathematics.  



Rebecca Schwietz - Senior Vice President, Clinical Services

Rebecca Schwietz joined Healthfirst in 2004 as Chief of Staff to the CEO. During her tenure at Healthfirst, she has also held the positions leading the Performance Improvement, Financial Analysis, and Clinical Performance Management departments.
Rebecca Schwietz leads a team that oversees care management, utilization management, quality, appeals and grievances, and clinical performance across Healthfirst’s lines of business. These teams ensure that Healthfirst members get the right care, at the right time and place.
Prior to joining Healthfirst, Ms. Schwietz worked for APM Consulting, which focused on strategy and operations projects for healthcare providers, especially academic medical centers and faculty practice plans. 
Ms. Schwietz received her B.A. in Economics from Harvard and M.B.A. in Healthcare Management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.




Sean Kane – Chief Human Resources Officer



Sean Kane joined Healthfirst in 2013 as our Chief Human Resources Officer, bringing to the organization more than 20 years of change leadership and culture transformation experience at several domestic and multi-national corporations.


Throughout his career, Sean has proven to be a business leader that marshals human capital in the shaping, defining, and pursuit of an organization’s strategic agenda. Prior to joining Healthfirst, Sean spent seven years as Senior Vice President, Human Resources for Heineken Americas. In this capacity, he oversaw a human resources function responsible for several large-scale acquisitions and integrations, as well as 23,500 employees across nine operating companies, 22 breweries, two packaging plants, and more than 45 import markets. 


Sean has a Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Rutgers University, and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Scranton.



Marybeth Tita - Senior Vice President, Corporate Finance 

Marybeth Tita has more than 14 years of experience in accounting and financial reporting for the health insurance industry. She joined Healthfirst in 2007 with responsibility for managing the Corporate Finance Department. Her responsibilities include overseeing maintenance of the company's books and records, processing payments, billing and collections, budgeting and forecasting, treasury management, and financial reporting. Ms. Tita is a financial executive with a strong managed care background whose accomplishments demonstrate success in evaluating operations, implementing innovative solutions, and improving internal controls.
Ms. Tita began her career as an accountant at Touche Ross, where she led audits of clients in various industries, including insurance and health care. Before joining Healthfirst, she spent time working for other New York insurers and managed care companies where she led change, enhanced controls and implemented systems which led to the improved safeguarding of corporate assets and more transparent financial reporting.
Ms. Tita is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Internal Auditor. She obtained her B.S. in Accounting from St. John's University and her M.B.A. in Finance and Management from Columbia University, Graduate School of Business.


Last update 2014-08-14 17:42