Cindy Beane, West Virginia
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.
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 Delivery. 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.
Immediate Past President /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.
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.
Board Governance Chair
Cheryl J. Roberts is the Director of the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS), which serves 2.1 million Virginia’s citizens with a $20 billion annual budget. She leads and supports the Department’s Executive Leadership Team, DMAS staff, programs, contracts, operations, and finance in their mission to provide access to health care coverage and high-quality health care. She has extensive experience in population health, managed care delivery systems and operations. Previously, she was the Deputy for Programs and Operations at DMAS, as well as health plan executives in both the Medicaid and commercial sectors. Cheryl is a graduate of the City College of New York and Rutgers University School of Law. She serves as the Governance Committee Chair for the National Association of Medicaid Directors. She is also on the executive committee for the National Association of State Health Policy.
West Board Member
Juliet Charron serves as the Idaho Medicaid Administrator since November 2021. In this role she oversees administration for the Idaho Medicaid program serving approximately 450,000 Idahoans. Prior to her move to Idaho, she held leadership positions with the Texas Medicaid program and the Texas Office of Inspector General. Ms. Charron previously worked in government programs and compliance roles within a community-based health plan in Arizona.
West Board Member
Stacie brings over ten years of experience in Medicaid and health care policy from the public and private sectors. Most recently, Stacie served as a principal at a national consulting firm, advising numerous state and local governments, health care providers, hospitals, health insurers, and non-profit organizations on ways to achieve their goals in Medicaid and the individual market. Stacie also held key leadership roles in Minnesota’s Medicaid agency, including serving as chief of staff, where she oversaw the agency’s legal, compliance, communications, and legislative divisions, and as director of federal waivers and policy, where she helped oversee the implementation of federal regulatory changes and multiple state health care reforms and initiatives. Stacie also has knowledge of state Medicaid financing from her time as an administrator for the health and human services budget committee at the Minnesota Senate and experience in advocacy and public policy from previous roles representing the priorities of a large safety-net hospital and the health care needs of clients served by legal aid. Stacie holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Arkansas in Little Rock and a master’s in public health from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
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.
Midwest Board Member
Sarah Aker serves as the Executive Director of the Division of Medical Services, overseeing North Dakota’s Medicaid program and serving more than 130,000 North Dakotans each year. Prior to joining North Dakota’s Medicaid program, Sarah served as the Medicaid Director in South Dakota. Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and political science from the University of South Dakota. Sarah’s previous experience includes a leadership and advocacy role with the South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations and various leadership roles in the South Dakota Medicaid program in the South Dakota Department of Social Services.
South Board Member
Traylor Rains currently serves as the State Medicaid Director at the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. After earning his law degree from Baylor University, he began his now 17 year career in public service with the State of Oklahoma which has included leadership roles within the Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services and the Department of Human Services. In his current role, Traylor is a driver of innovation within Oklahoma’s Medicaid program and is responsible for directing several divisions within OHCA including Health Policy, Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement, the Office of the Statewide Health Information Exchange, the Medical Services Division and Long Term Services and Supports.
Mr. Rains has led the planning and implementation efforts for several state health service initiatives including Oklahoma’s Health Homes, the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic Model, Oklahoma’s Medicaid Expansion and SoonerSelect. Traylor serves on several boards and committees including the State Board of Behavioral Health Licensure, MyHealth Access Network, the Oklahoma Autism Center Foundation Strategic Planning Committee and the state Behavioral Health Advisory Council.
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.
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.
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.