Flexibility and Innovation in Medicaid

Thomas Barker, J.D., is a partner at the law firm of Foley Hoag, LLP, is the co-chair of the firm’s health care practice group, and is a member of the firm’s management committee. He joined the firm in March, 2009. Mr. Barker established and is a contributor to the firm’s Medicaid blog, available at: http://www.medicaidandthelaw.com/. Prior to joining the firm, he served in a series of senior-level positions at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) during the Administration of President George W. Bush, including serving as general counsel of CMS and counselor to the Secretary of HHS. Mr. Barker advises clients on a wide range of health care matters, with a specialization in Medicare and Medicaid regulatory issues. He also provides pro-bono legal services on immigration matters, and has developed a specialization in representing individuals who have defected to the United States from North Korea. Mr. Barker is an adjunct professor of health care law at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services and at the Suffolk University School of Law.

Cynthia Beane, MSW, LCSW, is the Commissioner for the West Virginia Bureau for Medical Services. She has over 20 years of experience working with health care in both the public and private sectors. Commissioner Beane has extensive experience in mental health program policy development and development of home and community-based programs. She led policy implementation for changes under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which enable approximately 165,000 West Virginians to have healthcare coverage. Cindy also manages and oversees project development, implementation of health policies and assures compliance with federal and state regulations, while creating innovative health care services to address the needs of West Virginians. Under Commissioner Beane, West Virginia was the first state in the nation to obtain approval for coverage of the Neonatal Abstinence Centers. In addition, her team developed and is administering a Continuum of Care waiver designed to treat substance use disorders (SUD) among the Medicaid population. Additionally, Cindy has implemented the Health Homes initiatives to improve quality outcomes for members with chronic conditions, including diabetes and bi-polar disorder, 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 and her team are currently undertaking efforts to enhance children services for our most vulnerable at-risk children and continues to be committed to administering, promoting, and assuring appropriate, cost conscience strategies to strengthen health care services for the people of West Virginia to improve their quality of life.

Leonardo Cuello, J.D., is the director of health policy for the National Health Law Program (NHeLP), based out of NHeLP’s Washington, D.C. office. His current work focuses on Medicaid and Marketplace waiver authority, Medicaid managed care, payment and delivery system reform, Medicaid expansion, and Medicaid benefits packages. Prior to joining NHeLP, Leonardo worked at the Pennsylvania Health Law Project (PHLP) for six years, focusing on a wide range of health care issues dealing with eligibility and access to services in Medicaid and Medicare. Leonardo began at PHLP as an Independence Foundation Fellow and later served as a staff attorney and PHLP’s acting executive director. At PHLP, Leo ran a project focused on immigrant and Latino health care, including direct representation of low-income immigrants and Latinos, and worked on numerous Medicaid eligibility and services issues though direct representation and policy work. Leo also worked on Medicare Part D implementation issues, PHLP’s Hospital Accountability Project, and also served as legal counsel to the Consumer Subcommittee of Pennsylvania’s Medical Care Advisory Committee. Leonardo graduated with a B.A. from Swarthmore College and received his J.D. from The University of Pennsylvania Law School. While in law school, he interned at the Pennsylvania Health Law Project and won the Civil Practice Award. He is fluent in Spanish and conversational in French.

Cindy Gillespie, M.A., is the director of the Arkansas Department of Human Services, appointed by Governor Asa Hutchinson in March of 2016. She oversees Medicaid, child welfare, juvenile justice and other programs that support the well-being of the state’s most vulnerable populations. Her previous career includes serving as a principal at the multinational law firm Dentons where she led the Health Policy and Health Insurance Exchange Teams, as an advisor to Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney on health policy and federal programs, and as senior management for both the Salt Lake and Atlanta Olympic Games.

Calder Lynch, MSHA, is senior counselor to the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Prior to this role, he served under Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts as the state’s Medicaid director. In that capacity, he oversaw the division responsible for the state unit on aging and the provision of health coverage to nearly 240,000 Nebraskans through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. During his time in Nebraska, Calder led the development and implementation of the state’s integrated managed care program, Heritage Health. Prior to his work in Nebraska, Calder served as the chief of staff to the Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. A Louisiana native, Calder earned his degree in Business Administration from Louisiana State University and his Masters in Health Administration (MSHA) from the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB).


Sarah J. Dash, MPH, is the president and chief executive officer at the Alliance for Health Policy. She drives the mission and vision of the Alliance, as well as advances and maintains the reputation of the organization as the leading nonpartisan resource for policymakers and health leaders in an evolving health policy environment. Sarah joined the Alliance in 2014 as the vice president for policy and became president and CEO in May 2017. Sarah has long been an influential force in shaping health policy, having served as a senior aide on Capitol Hill and as a member of the research faculty at the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms. Sarah holds a master’s degree in public health from Yale School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Science in chemistry and literature from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Sarah also holds an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University.

Rachel Nuzum, MPH, is vice president for the Federal and State Health Policy initiative at The Commonwealth Fund, working closely with policymakers at the state and federal level. Ms. Nuzum is responsible for developing and implementing the Fund’s national policy strategy for improving health system performance, ensuring that the work of the Fund and its grantees informs the policy process in both the legislative and executive branches of state and federal government. Ms. Nuzum’s work also includes fostering public–private collaboration on health system performance improvement with state and federal stakeholders and organizations. Ms. Nuzum has over 15 years of experience working in health policy at the federal, state, and local levels of government, as well as in the private sector. Before joining the Fund in January 2007, Ms. Nuzum was a legislative advisor for Senator Maria Cantwell (Wash.) on health, retirement and tax issues. Prior to joining Senator Cantwell’s office, she served as a David Winston Health Policy Fellow in Senator Jeff Bingaman’s (N.M.) office. In this role, Ms. Nuzum staffed the Senator on the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. Before arriving in Washington, D.C., she served former Governor Roy Romer of Colorado in the office of Boards and Commissions and worked as a health planner in west central Florida. She holds a B.A. in political science from the University of Colorado and an M.P.H. in Health Policy and Management from the University of South Florida. She is on the faculty of Georgetown University’s Graduate School of Nursing and Health Professions and is on the board of the Winston Health Policy Fellowship.