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NAMD Board Members

The association is overseen by a Board of Directors representing all regions of the country as well as territories. The Board manages the association’s strategic direction and finances.

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Allison Taylor, Indiana

President

Prior to being named Medicaid Director, Taylor served as the agency’s general counsel since joining the agency in 2015. She advised health care clients on regulatory compliance, reimbursement and enrollment matters at Indianapolis law firm Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman. Earlier in her career, Taylor served as policy and legislative director for the Indiana Academy of Family Physicians. Taylor graduated from DePauw University and Indiana University’s Robert H. McKinney School of  Law. She is a graduate of the Richard G. Lugar Excellence in Public Services series and serves on the board of the Indianapolis Bar Association’s health and life sciences committee.

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Cindy Beane, West Virginia

President Elect

Cynthia Beane, MSW, LCSW, has been with the Department of Health and Human Resources for twenty years. Prior to her appointment as Commissioner in May 2017, she served as Acting Commissioner for three years. Additionally, she served as Deputy Commissioner of Policy Coordination. Under Commissioner Beane, WV was the first state to obtain approval for coverage of Neonatal Abstinence Centers. Her team developed and is administering a Continuum of Care wavier designed to treat substance use disorders among the Medicaid population. Cindy has expanded managed care to include behavioral health and worked with dedicated staff to develop an oversight plan to detect and eliminate fraud, waste, and abuse.

Commissioner Beane was competitively selected to be a Medicaid Fellow for the National Medicaid Leadership Institute. Ms. Beane, along with five additional Medicaid directors (FL, IN, MN, TN, & TX) participated in a leadership program to develop necessary skills and expertise to lead and improve their programs in an ever-changing financing environment. Commissioner Beane is a Licensed Certified Social Worker who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from Marshall University and a Master of Social Work from West Virginia University.

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Stephanie Azar, Alabama

Immediate Past Board President

Stephanie McGee Azar was appointed as Commissioner of the Alabama Medicaid Agency on May 1, 2012 by Governor Robert Bentley.

While serving as Commissioner, Azar continues in her position of General Counsel with the Agency, a role which she has served since March 2010.

A native of Dutton, Alabama, Azar received her Bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in Political Science from the University of Alabama in 1992, and in 1995 graduated from the University of Alabama School of Law. Prior to joining the Agency in 1999, she was employed with the Montgomery law firm of Thorington and Gregory where she specialized in estate planning and corporate law.

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Lisa Lee, Kentucky

Board Finance Chair

Ms. Lisa Lee has over 20 years of experience with Medicaid programs. She currently serves as the Commissioner for the Department of Medicaid Services. Much of her career was spent with the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, where she served in a variety of roles within the Department for Medicaid Services, including Member Services Representative, Director of Provider Services, Policy Analyst, Deputy Commissioner, and now Commissioner. In addition, Ms. Lee served as the Program Director for the Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program (KCHIP) for approximately 14 years.

Ms. Lee was one of six Medicaid Directors chosen to participate in the Medicaid Leadership Institute (MLI) class of 2022. The MLI is a prestigious executive training opportunity for Medicaid leaders across the country. Ms. Lee currently serves as a member of the Child and Family Health Steering Committee for the National Association of Health Policy and Chair of the National Association of Medicaid Directors Finance Committee.

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Kevin Bagley, Nebraska

Board Governance Chair

Kevin Bagley was appointed as the Director of the Division of Medicaid and Long-Term Care for the State of Nebraska in November 2020. Prior to serving the State of Nebraska, Kevin worked with Utah’s Medicaid program in various capacities including coverage and reimbursement policy, process improvement and change management, and as the Director for Long-Term Services and Supports. Kevin worked on the implementation of Medicaid Expansion in Utah and now in Nebraska and has also worked to integrate Medicaid services with existing programs across health and human services including school-based services and other programs for children with special healthcare needs, housing coordination, and is currently working to improve Medicaid service coordination for children in foster care. Kevin has a BA in Economics, an MBA, and is currently a Healthcare Administration doctoral candidate at Central Michigan University.

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Jacey Cooper, California

West Board Member

Governor Gavin Newsome appointed Jacey Cooper as Chief Deputy Director for Health Care Programs and State Medicaid Director at the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) effective January 31, 2020. Ms. Cooper is responsible for overall leadership of Health Care Benefits and Eligibility, Health Care Delivery Systems, Health Care Financing, Behavioral  Health, and Legislative and Governmental Affairs. As State Medicaid Director, Ms. Cooper represents California’s Medicaid program (Medi-Cal) with federal partners at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

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Elizabeth Matney, Iowa

Midwest Board Member

Elizabeth Matney serves as the Director of Iowa Medicaid. Elizabeth oversees Iowa’s $6 billion Medicaid program, which serves more than 700,000 Iowans each year. She most recently serviced as health policy advisor for Governor Kim Reynolds, where she worked closely with DHS and the Iowa Department of Public Health on a broad range of critical issues. She holds a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Drake University and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Philosophy from Texas State University. Her previous experience includes serving as Medicaid managed care director, Medicaid quality assurance director, and her early experience includes direct care as a Medicaid provider and work at a women’s shelter.

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Sarah Fertig, Kansas

Midwest Board Member

Sarah Fertig presently serves as the Kansas State Medicaid Director. She is a two-time graduate of the University of Kansas, earning a B.A. in French in 1998 and a J.D. in 2002. From 2002 – 2004, she worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as a consultant in the pharmaceutical industry. In 2004 Sarah returned home to Kansas to begin her career in state government, eventually working for the Department of Corrections, the Juvenile Justice Authority, and the Attorney General’s Office. Prior to being appointed as the State Medicaid Director, Sarah worked as the Medicaid Inspector General within the Attorney General’s Office. Sarah is a licensed attorney and an avid Jayhawk fan. She lives in Lawrence with her husband and daughter.

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Stephanie Azar, Alabama

South Board Member

Stephanie McGee Azar was appointed as Commissioner of the Alabama Medicaid Agency on May 1, 2012 by Governor Robert Bentley.

While serving as Commissioner, Azar continues in her position of General Counsel with the Agency, a role which she has served since March 2010.

A native of Dutton, Alabama, Azar received her Bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in Political Science from the University of Alabama in 1992, and in 1995 graduated from the University of Alabama School of Law. Prior to joining the Agency in 1999, she was employed with the Montgomery law firm of Thorington and Gregory where she specialized in estate planning and corporate law.

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Lynnette Rhodes, Georgia

South Board Member

Lynnette Rhodes serves as Executive Director of the Medical Assistance Plans Division for the Georgia Department of Community Health, which provides medical assistance to over 2 million residents. As Executive Director, Lynnette oversees the four units that are responsible for the delivery of medical assistance to Georgia’s Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries: Policy, Compliance, and Operations; Eligibility and Enrollment; Performance and Care Management; and Service Deliver. Lynnette joined the Department in 2005 as a Legal Services Officer. Lynnette received her bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M University, and her Juris Doctorate degree from North Carolina Central University School of Law.

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Melisa Byrd, District of Columbia

East Board Member

Melisa Byrd is the Senior Deputy Director / Medicaid Director of the Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF). In this role, Ms. Byrd serves as the principal manager for the District’s Medicaid, CHIP, Alliance and Immigrant Children’s programs. Melisa directs the day-to-day organization, planning, implementation, and evaluation of the programs to ensure compliance with federal and District laws. Melisa advises the DHCF Director on all major policy and budget issues related to DHCF’s health care programs. Previously, Ms. Byrd served as the agency’s Chief of Staff and as the Associate Director of the Office of the Public Provider Liaison.

Prior to returning to the Department as the Medicaid Director in October 2018, Ms. Byrd was a Senior Consultant with Health Management Associates (HMA) where she consulted with public and private entities across the nation on Medicaid, health care reform, and reproductive health.

Before initially joining DC Medicaid in 2008, Melisa served as Policy Advisor to the Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health. Melisa led the Department’s efforts to expand health insurance coverage to uninsured adults and worked on the state’s efforts to restore and redesign the health care delivery system in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Melisa began her career at the National Governors Association in Washington, D.C., where she was a policy analyst in the Health Division of the Center for Best Practices.

Ms. Byrd received her Bachelor of Arts in Government from Wofford College in 2000.

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Michelle Probert, Maine

East Board Member

Michelle Probert has been the Director of MaineCare, Maine’s Medicaid Program, since early 2019. MaineCare currently provides health care coverage to over 360,000, or one in four Mainers, including over 90,000 who have benefited from MaineCare expansion, implemented in January 2019.

In her prior role at MaineCare from 2011 to 2014, Michelle established the Department’s Value-Based Purchasing programs, which included one of the country’s first Medicaid Shared Savings ACO initiatives.

Michelle brings perspective to the Department from her time managing health strategy at Bath Iron Works (BIW), and as Chair for the Healthcare Purchaser Alliance of Maine. She worked for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to implement broad-based, coordinated contract and payment reform across state-funded health and human services within the Secretariat, and in the early days of her career, was a family advocate for homeless families. She has a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley. Michelle grew up in Maine and resides in Brunswick with her husband and two children.

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Gary Smith, U.S. Virgin Islands

U.S. Territories Board Member

Gary is the Director of Medicaid for the Department of Human Services, Government of the Virgin Islands. He coordinates, leads, and trains staff in the compliance of federal guidelines; creates relationships with providers and vendors to ensure access to medical care for the most vulnerable population. Gary also served as the Project Director, Ryan White Part B/ADAP and HIV Prevention Programs, Department of Health, and brought that program into compliance and generated a revenue stream with a PBM. Gary way managing Director, Insurance Brokerage Firm, Aon Corporation, Virgin Islands office. Gary is a 2020 Fellow of the Medicaid Leadership Institute.

Stay Informed

Drop us your email and we’ll keep you up-to-date on Medicaid issues.

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