Chutes & Ladders—Centene's CEO, chairman takes leave of absence; Beaumont Health's post-merger shake-ups continue

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.


Michael Neidorff

Michael Neidorff, CEO and chairman of Centene Corporation, will be taking a medical leave of absence effective immediately, the company announced Thursday.

Board member James Dallas has been named as acting chairman of the board, while day-to-day management of Centene will be handled on an interim basis by several members of the company’s leadership.

These include Sarah London, vice chairman of the board, Brent Layton, president and chief operating officer, Drew Asher, chief financial officer, and Shannon Bagley, chief administrative officer.

Neidorff, who has led Centene for 26 years, described his condition as “treatable” in a statement. He was already scheduled to retire from the organization’s top roles before the end of the year.

BHSH System

Terese Farhat

Terese Farhat and Thomas Lanni Jr. are moving up in Beaumont Health while three other executives are slated to depart as the organization irons out its recent merger with fellow Michigan provider Spectrum Health to form BHSH System.

Effective April 1, Farhat will take on the role of senior vice president, general counsel after working at Beaumont as an in-house attorney for the past 17 years, Beaumont announced. She currently serves as chief counsel of operations, overseeing legal services as well as providing business strategy and legal advice.

She’ll step into her new responsibilities following the departure of Jane Jordan, who currently holds the role but has “decided to leave” April 1. Alongside navigating Beaumont through its recent merger, Jordan built an in-house legal team since coming to Beaumont in 2016.

Thomas Lanni, Jr.

Lanni, who currently holds the role of chief operating officer at Beaumont Hospital, Dearborn, will take on the president position at Beaumont Hospital, Troy and Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe on April 1. He’s been with the system since 2007 when he joined as the radiation oncology department’s business manager and has since served as an administrative director and a vice president within the organization.

Also leaving Beaumont and BHSH System will be Hans Keil, senior vice president of information services, and Diane Roth, who has been holding down the group’s senior vice president of finance role on an interim basis.

Heil is slated to leave May 1 “to pursue other opportunities” and plans to work with BHSH System Chief Digital and Information Officer Jason Joseph and others in the organization to prep the tech team for his departure.

Roth has been holding down the interim title since March 2021 but plans to retire by May 6. Beaumont said a search for a permanent replacement is underway.


Jay Bhatt

Jay Bhatt, D.O., has been appointed as executive director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions and the Deloitte Health Equity Institute, the advisory services firm announced this week.

He comes directly from the American Hospital Association, where the clinician and health equity advocate served as senior vice president and chief medical officer. He also held a role at the organization as president of its Health Research and Educational Trust and helped lead its Institute for Diversity and Health Equity.

Bhatt began his career practicing primary care in Chicago and continues to see patients across the area’s community health centers. In between, his career has included roles on Northwestern Medicine’s faculty, a chief health officer position at the Illinois Health and Hospital Association and the managing deputy commissioner and chief innovation officer titles at the Chicago Department of Public Health.

The new roles within Deloitte’s life sciences and healthcare practice will see Bhatt guiding research, insights and eminence agendas alongside supporting health equity research and collaborations.


Scott Baker

Scott Baker, vice president of government affairs and chief government relations officer at UPMC, announced plans to retire June 30, the system announced late last week.

He joined UPMC in 2012 following staff roles with Pennsylvania lawmakers and Governor Tom Ridge as well as 14 years with law firm Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney.

Baker helped shape the development of “key and emerging healthcare priorities” during his decade at the integrated health system and will stay in an advisory role until the end of the year to support the transition.

Alison Beam

Taking over the job will be Alison Beam, another public sector vet who served as acting secretary of health in Pennsylvania’s health department for most of 2021.

Beam’s resume includes time as deputy chief of staff under Governor Tom Wolf, where she helped coordinate policy development across the state’s Health, Human Services, Drug and Alcohol Programs, Aging and Insurance departments. She was also chief of staff for the Pennsylvania Insurance Department as well as a director of public policy and associate counsel for Independence Blue Cross.

> Truepill, a telehealth, diagnostic and pharmacy infrastructure platform, announced the appointment of co-founder and president Sid Vaswanathan as CEO in charge of day-to-day operations. Former CEO and fellow co-founder Umar Afridi will remain with the company via a board seat.

> Sparrow Health System announced LaKeeya Tucker has begun a two-year term as chief of medical staff at Sparrow Hospital. Other new chief of staff announcements across the system include Michael Racine, M.D., at Carson Hospital, Mark Weismiller, M.D., at Sparrow Clinton and Brett Reich at Sparrow Ionia Hospital.

> Zipari, a consumer experience platform for payers, promoted Matt Case to chief marketing officer.

> Dignity Health announced Barry Wolfman as president and CEO of its St. John’s Regional Medical Center and St. John’s Hospital Camarillo.

> Amelia Virtual Care, a virtual reality mental health company, tapped Afsana Akhter as president and CEO.

> Gale Healthcare Solutions, a services and payments platform, named Julie Dunphy as chief financial officer.

> Margaret Mary Health in Indiana has given interim President and CEO Elizabeth Leising the permanent roles.

> Northern Maine Medical Center tapped Jeff Zewe as president and CEO.

> HCA Healthcare announced Lisa Nummi as CEO of Citrus Memorial Hospital in its West Florida division. In Texas, HCA Houston Healthcare-Pearland named Jeanette Pennick as chief nursing officer.  

> BehaVR, a virtual reality digital therapeutic maker, added Patrick Murta as chief platform architect.

> Bon Secours Mercy Health announced Debbi Gilad as vice president of clinical research.

Cuyuna Regional Medical Center in Minnesota named Amy Hart as CEO.

> Tenet’s Doctors Hospital of Manteca in California appointed Tina Burch as chief nursing officer.