State Medicaid Leaders Serving Sellers Dorsey Clients in Pursuit of Health Equity

Sellers Dorsey helps clients realize opportunities to enhance lives by delivering high-quality, accessible care to all. We accomplish our goals with the right talent and subject matter expertise, so it is critical that we succeed in attracting and retaining professionals with proven leadership skills and a strong desire to bring about health equity. Our team includes several former Medicaid directors from across the country who each have a combination of expertise, skills to effect impactful results for clients, and passion for serving vulnerable populations.

These Medicaid leaders have managed complex Medicaid programs in diverse states and now serve as vital resources to achieve clients’ objectives within Medicaid. Sellers Dorsey clients receive strategic guidance directly from these top-tier leaders who work  with colleagues to create and implement solutions for clients. Sellers Dorsey is proud to work with these individuals and is delighted to share some information about each of them.

Former Medicaid directors currently working at Sellers Dorsey include:

  • Gary Jessee, Managing Director – Former Medicaid Director and Deputy Executive Commissioner for Medical and Social Services for the State of Texas. During his tenure, Gary led Texas’ efforts to expand managed care and drive delivery system reform and improvement at the managed care organization (MCO) and provider level. Gary now leads Sellers Dorsey’s National Consulting practice, one of two main practice areas for the firm (the other being Medicaid Financing).
  • Leesa Allen, Director – Former Medicaid Director for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Among her many accomplishments, Leesa oversaw all aspects of Pennsylvania’s Healthy Pennsylvania 1115 Waiver to serve 700,000 individuals as part of the Medicaid expansion population.
  • Mari Cantwell, Director of California Services – Former Medicaid Director for the State of California. Mari Developed and implemented the Medi-Cal 2020 Waiver, including the PRIME program that targeted value-based incentives to California’s public hospital systems and the innovative Whole Person Care program.
  • Michael Heifetz, Director – Former Medicaid Director for the State of Wisconsin. Michael oversaw the integration of long-term care programs into the broader Medicaid program, which made him the first Medicaid director to be accountable for both traditional Medicaid and long-term care.
  • Gabe Roberts, Senior Strategic Advisor – Former Medicaid Director for the State of Tennessee. While leading TennCare, Gabe designed a modified block grant funding model proposal as an amendment to Tennessee’s 1115 waiver and drove further adoption of TennCare’s value-based purchasing (VBP) model.
  • Nancy Smith-Leslie, Director – Former Medicaid Director for the State of New Mexico. Nancy designed and implemented a VBP initiative for New Mexico’s Medicaid managed care program that achieved its target of 16% of all provider payments in VBP arrangements in the first year.

In addition to these former Medicaid directors, Sellers Dorsey employs several former deputies – state Medicaid leaders who previously reported to Medicaid directors and were accountable for operationalizing key priorities. Sellers Dorsey also maintains significant advisory relationships with several former Medicaid directors from across the nation. These strategic advisors infuse diverse perspectives into our work and leverage their networks to extend our reach when needed. Each of these talented leaders collaborates with colleagues and clients to devise and implement concepts that ultimately have a positive impact on the health of individuals and communities.

Our group of former top state Medicaid program leaders at Sellers Dorsey has intimate knowledge of key health care issues clients need to address. These professionals are driven to work through complex challenges in health care and have necessary skills to effect positive change for clients and the lives of individuals served in Medicaid and beyond.

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