Chutes & Ladders—Ascension, BCBS Tennessee name new CFOs

Welcome to this week's Chutes & Ladders, our roundup of hirings, firings and retirings throughout the industry. Please submit the good news—or the bad—from your shop, and we will feature it here at the end of each week.


Saurabh Tripathi
Saurabh Tripathi (Ascension)

Saurabh Tripathi has been named executive vice president and CFO for Ascension, a St. Louis-based health system. He replaces CFO Liz Foshage, who is retiring.

Tripathi previously worked in leadership roles for Highmark Health, Fresenius Medical Care, General Electric and Procter & Gamble. He is credited with leading growth initiatives as CFO and treasurer for Highmark.

“We are thrilled to welcome Saurabh to Ascension as our new CFO. His extensive background and expertise in managing large-scale operations and his visionary leadership are exactly what Ascension needs as we continue to evolve and expand our services,” said Joseph Impicciche, CEO of Ascension.

Thyme Care

Julia Frydman
Julia Frydman, M.D. (LinkedIn)

Thyme Care, a value-based oncology platform, has named Julia Frydman, M.D., as the company’s first medical director for palliative care.

She joins Thyme as the company launches a virtual palliative care offering. Frydman will work with a member’s oncologist to help members “navigate complex medical decision-making,” according to a news release.

“I have seen tremendous value of these services when integrated earlier into the treatment plan for patients with cancer, both in terms of overall patient and caregiver experience and health outcomes,” she said in a statement. “I see Thyme Care as being in a unique position to support oncologists in delivering exceptional care to their communities and improving access to palliative care where services are not currently available.”

Frydman is a clinical assistant professor for the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and has also worked for 10 years at Cambridge Coaching, a tutoring company.

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee

David Criswell will be the new executive vice president and CFO for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, replacing John Giblin, who is retiring.

David Criswell
David Criswell (BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee)

Director of Strategic Planning Amy Andrews will be promoted into Criswell’s former role as vice president, treasurer and chief risk officer, starting May 13. Criswell and Andrews have been with the organization since 2007 and 2011, respectively.

“We are confident that David and Amy are the right leaders to help maintain our high standards for responsible financial stewardship on behalf of our members and customers,” said BlueCross President and CEO JD Hickey, M.D., in a statement. “They’ve both advanced their careers in BlueCross, and this is a well-deserved recognition of their experience.”

> Premera Blue Cross, a health plan in Washington, has announced Romilla Batra, M.D., as senior vice president and chief medical officer.

> The American Telemedicine Association has tapped CVS Health Chief Medical Officer Sree Chaguturu, M.D., as board chair.

The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) has named Verlon Johnson as chair. Doug Brown and Michael Nardone are the commission’s newly appointed members.

> Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, a nonprofit organization in White Plains, New York, has named Scott Edelman as executive director.

> Wellstar Health System in Marietta, Georgia, has appointed John Hatfield as executive vice president and chief external affairs officer.

> Anatomy IT, a platform for healthcare IT and cybersecurity solutions, has named Varun Gulati as senior president of operations.

> H1, a digital health innovator, has appointed Karen Walker, a former chief marketing officer at Intel and Cisco Systems, to its board of directors.

> Houlihan Lokey, a global investment bank, has announced Erik Kistler as managing director for the firm’s healthcare group.

> Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, has named Michael Schmidt, M.D., as chief medical officer, effective June 17.

> Greater Good Health, a company dedicated to expanding primary care access, has welcomed former One Medical chief medical officer Tyler Jung to the organization, according to a LinkedIn post.

> Commonwealth Care Alliance, a healthcare services organization offering health plans for people with significant needs, has named Joey Campanelli as managing director of its Winter Street Ventures subsidiary.

> Imagine360, a health insurer in Wayne, Pennsylvania, has promoted CFO Bill Dembereckyj to CEO, replacing Jeff Bak.

> Merit Health, a health system in Mississippi has appointed Travis Sisson as CEO.

> Touro, a member of the LCMC Health system in New Orleans, Louisiana, has promoted Christopher Lege, M.D., to CEO.

> Kaiser Permanente has named Sam Glick as executive vice president for enterprise strategy and business development.

> Renown Health, a nonprofit integrated health care network in Nevada and northeast California, has tapped Anna Loomis as CFO, effective July 1.

> Inspira Health, a nonprofit organization and leader in physician training, has appointed Melissa Ritter Hermanson and Michael Shevlin to its board of trustees, and four members to its hospital and foundation boards of trustees.

> Octave, a behavioral health care company, has hired Berto Torres as vice president of business development and Kristin Mikie Sword as vice president of marketing.

> Cone Health, a nonprofit health provider in Greensboro, North Carolina, has tapped Keith Jones as chief information officer.

The American Academy of Physician Associates, a national membership organization for physician assistants, has appointed Chantell Taylor as chief public affairs and advocacy.

> Penn Medicine, a leading academic medical center, has named Mitchell Schnall, M.D., as senior vice president for data and technology solutions for the University of Pennsylvania Health System in a new role.

> Honest Medical Group, a company partnering with payers and providers in value-based care arrangements, has named Robert Bessler, M.D. He replaces Aric Coffman, M.D., who will stay on as a senior adviser.

> Marshall Health Network has announced Kevin Yingling, M.D., is retiring as CEO next year.

> Corewell Health, a nonprofit health system based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has promoted Natalie Baggio as president in southwest Michigan, effective July 1.

> Oshi Health, a virtual-first value-based care company for gastrointestinal conditions, has hired former UnitedHealthcare virtual care director Nathan Paulsen as vice president of payer strategy and growth.

> Noom, a digital healthcare company helping customers with weight management, has appointed Jodi Hunt Bryant as president of healthcare.

> Amberwell Health has selected Jared Abel as new CEO, after CEO Jeff Perry announced his resignation earlier this year.

> Modern Health, a global mental health company, has named Samantha Meltzer-Brody, M.D., as clinical adviser and board member and Reena Pande, M.D., as clinical adviser.