Leadership Team

“Our vision is to be a national model for health care delivery; recognized for excellence in care and service." -Leadership Team

Bob Freeman, Chief Executive Officer

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Bob Freeman is the CEO of CenCal Health. CenCal Health is one of the first, and oldest Medicaid-only Managed Care Plan of its kind in the nation. In his capacity as CEO, Mr. Freeman is responsible for ensuring ongoing, efficient operations of CenCal Health, overseeing all operational decisions of CenCal Health's programs; ensuring the plan's continued success through effective planning for the future; oversight of contract negotiation, settling managerial disputes and prudent management of financial resources. In his previous role as Deputy CEO, Mr. Freeman's responsibilities included that of Compliance Officer, Chair of the plan's quality improvement and compliance oversight committees; the coordination of all government affairs, public affairs and program development activities; and performing a significant role in the day to day administration of the health plan.

Mr. Freeman also serves on the Board of Directors of the Local Health Plans of California (LHPC), the Pacific Health Centers (PHC), and serves as the Chair for the Community Action Commission (CAC).

Before coming to the then Santa Barbara Regional Health Authority in 1993, Mr. Freeman spent ten years in Sacramento serving in various state government capacities, including five years as an Assistant Cabinet Secretary for Business, Transportation and Housing. In this position, he coordinated special projects in economic and international trade development. These types of projects included directing California's participation in international expositions (world's fairs), and serving as executive director of a non-profit corporation encouraging expanded California trade ties and business development with the European community.

Paul Jaconette, Chief Operations Officer

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Paul Jaconette, MPH, joined CenCal Health in August 2011. Prior to CenCal Health, he was the Chief Administrative Officer of Sansum Clinic, the largest nonprofit, multi-specialty medical group between Los Angeles and San Francisco and was employed there for 18 years. Prior to Sansum, he was an Assistant Administrator at Kaiser Permanente’s Santa Clara Medical Center, the largest hospital in the Kaiser Northern California region.

Mr. Jaconette is active in our community and a member of professional associations. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara, the advisory board of Santa Barbara Newhouse, a sober living home for men and a board member of the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics. Mr. Jaconette is President of Doctors Without Walls-Santa Barbara Street Medicine which provides free medical care to the homeless and most vulnerable members of our community.

Mr. Jaconette holds an adjunct faculty position at University of California, Santa Barbara where he teaches an undergraduate seminar class titled “Healthcare Delivery in the United States.”

Mr. Jaconette earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Cell Biology and Human Physiology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Master of Health Care Administration degree from Yale University School of Public Health. He completed an Administrative Fellowship at Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City, Utah.

David Ambrose, Chief Financial Officer

davidDavid Ambrose holds a B.A. Degree in Economics/Mathematics from the University of California Santa Barbara and is Certified Public Accountant licensed in the State of California. He is a member of the California Society of CPA's and of the Healthcare Financial Management Association. 

Before joining CenCal Health, Mr. Ambrose's healthcare career included being a Medicare auditor responsible for determining Medicare reimbursement to individual hospitals and the Controller of Verdugo Hills Hospital in Glendale, California. Outside CenCal Health, Mr. Ambrose is active in endurance sports, such as marathons and triathlons, and has finished multiple Ironman Triathlons and a 50 mile trail ultramarathon. He is married with two young daughters.

Takashi Michael Wada, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer

wadaDr. Wada joined CenCal Health as the Deputy Chief Medical Officer in January 2017 where he works on clinical quality, operational efficiency, utilization and care management programs. Prior to coming to CenCal Health, he served as the Director and Health Officer for the County of Santa Barbara Public Health Department for 6 1/2 years. In that role, he was responsible for providing overall direction for the Public Health Department including policy development, community health planning, public health emergency preparedness, health regulations enforcement and oversight of clinical operations. Dr. Wada served as Director and Health Officer for the Pasadena Public Health Department from 2003 – 2010 and has held teaching positions at UCLA.

He completed both his medical degree and master’s degree in public health at UCLA and practiced as a board certified family physician at Kaiser Permanente and at several community free and FQHC clinics in Southern California focusing on care for the uninsured and homeless. He has worked internationally in Mexico and South America where he enhanced his Spanish language skills and cultural understanding. Dr. Wada is married and has 3 sons.

Richard Golfin III, Compliance Officer

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Richard Golfin III, JD, CHC, brings extensive background in medical-legal compliance and academic expertise to the role of Compliance Officer for CenCal Health. Mr. Golfin has served as the Director of Delegation Oversight for Molina Healthcare of California, as Director of Compliance for Care 1st Health Plan and as Compliance Advisor to L.A. Care Health Plan, the nation’s largest HMO. He began his professional health career as Executive Fellow for Compliance & Legal at Iowa Health System in Des Moines, IA.

Through his career, Mr. Golfin has managed and directed the launch of multiple integrated care delivery programs across the state of California and led the resolution of complex medical-legal compliance issues to root out Fraud, Waste and Abuse (FWA) within provider networks and delegated entities.

Mr. Golfin earned his Juris Doctor from Drake Law School, with distinction in Health Law and Policy as well as his B.S.B.A. as a double major in Business Marketing & Business Management from Drake University. He is also fluent in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.

Mr. Golfin is currently a Guest Lecturer at the University of Southern California and has served as Associate Faculty in Political Science at Ashford University and as Visiting Professor at Heibei University, Peoples Republic of China. He is a published author and distinguished lecturer on the Affordable Care Act and Accountable Care Organizations.

Alan Bernstein, MD, MPH, FAAP, Sr. Medical Director

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Dr. Alan Bernstein joined CenCal Health in January, 2018 and will be working on medical management, clinical quality, the Whole Child Model Program, appeals and grievances and population health. Prior to joining CenCal Health, he served as a Consulting Medical Director with ConnectiCare, a commercial /Medicare health plan in Connecticut where he assisted in the preauthorization and utilization review activities for the plan.

Dr. Bernstein is a board-certified pediatrician with over 37 years of clinical experience. He has held the Chief Medical Officer or Medical Director position with multiple health care organizations including hospitals, federally qualified health centers, multispecialty group practices and commercial/Medicaid/Medicare managed care plans. In particular, he served as Chairman of Pediatrics at two community hospitals, the Chief Medical Officer for a tertiary hospital PHO/MSO and the CMO for the only provider sponsored health plan in New York.

He is a graduate of the New York University School of Medicine, the pediatric residency program at Babies Hospital/Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and has a MPH in Maternal Child Health from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Dr. Bernstein is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. the Society for Adolescent Medicine and the New York Academy of Medicine. He has numerous publications in the areas of pediatrics, managed care and public health.

Dr. Bernstein relocated to the Santa Barbara area from New York. He is married with two sons.

Karen Hord, MD, FAAFP, DABAM, Medical Director

karenDr. Karen Hord joined CenCal in January 2018 as Medical Director. She is a native of Colorado, and relocated to the Central Coast of California about 15 years ago. She is Board Certified in Family Medicine and Addiction Medicine. She trained at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, earning a degree in Biochemistry, Doctor of Medicine, certified in Family Medicine, and completed a national post-graduate fellowship in Primary Care Research and Masters of Science in Public Health.

She spent several years in academics, teaching Physician Assistant Students, Medical Students, and Residents in University Hospitals in Denver. She then moved to Southwest CO to serve the Southern Ute Indian Population and spent 7 years working in rural public health. While there, she and her family enjoyed the great outdoors, the desert and mountains, hiking, camping, and skiing.

Since moving to California, Dr. Hord has been working in multispecialty clinics, providing primary care, including care for people with substance use conditions, and in promoting health in young adult communities. She most recently held the position of Medical Director of Student Health at California Polytechnic University. She is excited to join the leadership team and participate in the CenCal mission to provide new services and improved access to care in our central coast communities.

Dr. Hord is married and has three daughters, enjoys outdoor sports, hiking, gardening, music, and spending time with friends and family.

Michael Harris, Director of Administrative & Government Services

mharrisMichael Harris joined CenCal Health in April 2013. He has a Bachelor’s degree from the California State University, Northridge in Public Sector Management, and more than 26 years of senior management and executive-level policy experience in health care service delivery, public health and public safety.  

Prior to his tenure at CenCal Health, Mr. Harris served with Santa Barbara County as the Director of Emergency Medical Services, Assistant Deputy Director for primary care and was eventually appointed as a Deputy Director of Public Health. For six years as the Chief of Emergency Management for Santa Barbara County, he provided executive leadership during several major emergencies and disasters. Mr. Harris had the opportunity to represent the interests and welfare of local residents to state and federal officials in seeking disaster assistance. Mr. Harris' background includes the development of various health policies, improvements in health delivery systems and working with professional staff to improve the timely and accurate delivery of pharmaceuticals to patients.

In his current capacity at CenCal Health, Mr. Harris works with other local health plans, state and federal associations to improve CenCal Health’s members’ access to high quality and local health care. He also works with state and federal officials to ensure that the interests of the CenCal Health members are represented during policy discussions and program development.

Allen Freymuth, Director of Claims

allenAllen Freymuth joined CenCal Health in April, 2013 as its Director of Claims. He brought 20 years of experience in Medicare and Medicaid (Medi-Cal in the state of California) plans.  Previously he served in a variety of increasingly responsible managerial roles at L.A. Care Health Plan, SCAN Health Plan, Blue Shield of California, and Blue Cross of California. 

Just prior to joining CenCal Health, Mr. Freymuth was Manager of Claims and Customer Services at Keenan and Associates where he led all claim processing as well as member/provider service functions. He had earlier earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Science from the California State University, Los Angeles.

Mr. Freymuth was for 10 years on the Board of Directors for the Blue Cross Employees Federal Credit Union in addition to serving as Board Chair. He also was president of Los Angeles Claim Association for 2 years. He is married with two sons and two dogs.

Florence Chan, Director of Health Services

florenceFlorence Chan joined CenCal Health in 2015 as the Director of Health Services. Ms. Chan received her Master in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from San Jose State University. Ms. Chan has over 32 years of experience in health care; 24 of those years were dedicated to managed care. She has a special interest in working with the low-income and Medi-Cal population. She has been instrumental in developing two case management programs, redesigning utilization management processes, and securing UM NQCA accreditation for a health plan  

Prior to joining CenCal, Ms. Chan was the Director of Utilization Management for 15 years with Contra Costa Health Plan. During her time there, she oversaw the Authorization, Utilization Management, and Case Management units. She was a medical assistant instructor at Western Career College, worked as a Senior Case Manager at Pacific Health Care in Pleasanton, California, and has held various clinical nursing positions in Northern California.

Ms. Chan is a Certified Case Manager. She is also certified in EPIC Tapestry and Utilization Management.

Karyn Fish, Director of Human Resources

karynKaryn Fish joined CenCal Health in October 2009, after serving as the Human Resource Leader for 3 high tech organizations in Santa Barbara. Ms. Fish holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from Golden Gate University, PHR-CA Certification, and a Certificate in Human Resource Management from UCLA.

As Human Resources Director, Ms. Fish oversees all aspects of Human Resources Management including executive coaching, Talent Acquisition, Organizational Development; benefits administration and legal compliance.

Ms. Fish is married and has been in Santa Barbara for over 30 years. As a long term resident and committed member of the Santa Barbara community, she is very involved with the community and just finished a six-year tenure on the board of directors for Domestic Violence Solutions and has worked with other community boards over the years.

Ms. Fish served on the Board of Directors of the Santa Barbara Human Resource Association as Past President and Vice President of Professional Development and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the California State Council for the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Outside of CenCal Health, Ms. Fish enjoys cooking, reading, and skiing as well as spending time with her family and friends.

Jai Raisinghani, Interim Director of IT, HIPAA Security Officer

jJai Raisinghani joined CenCal Health in 2008 as an Applications Specialist after serving as an IT consultant for CenCal Health since 2004. From 2010-2016, Mr. Raisinghani served as an Application Operations Manager for CenCal Health’s core IT system. In his current role, as Associate Director of Enterprise Applications (since October of 2016), he has overseen CenCal Health’s core IT systems, its website and provider portal. In 2017, for his contributions, CenCal Health’s Senior Executive Team recognized Mr. Raisinghani with an “Above and Beyond” award.

Prior to joining CenCal Health, Mr. Raisinghani worked as a consultant for various clients including Capital One (Green Point Mortgage, Hotwire.com and Phoenix American) in Northern California.

Mr. Raisinghani earned his Bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering from India. He’s been living in the United States since 2000.

Caitlin Larsen, Director of Legal Affairs

caitlinCaitlin Larsen joined CenCal Health as our Director of Legal Affairs in August 2008 and was appointed Chief Compliance Officer in September 2011. Prior to joining CenCal Health, Ms. Larsen was employed by Tenet Healthcare Corporation from 1998-2008, where she provided legal support on general corporate matters, corporate governance, corporate finance and business transactions.

Ms. Larsen is a graduate of the University of California Berkeley and Hastings College of Law. She was a founding board member of the Breast Cancer Resource Center of Santa Barbara and has also been a board member of Girls Incorporated of Santa Barbara.

Eric Buben - Interim Director, Member Services

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Eric Buben joined CenCal Health in May 2001 as a Grievance and Quality Improvement Coordinator. For the last 12 years of his 18-year career within Member Services at CenCal Health, he was responsible for the oversight of CenCal Health’s Grievance System in his role as Member Services Grievance & Quality Improvement Manager. Other duties included representing the Member Services Department in health plan quality improvement functions and committee representation and supporting the department in call center and grievance and appeal data analysis, performance measurement and improvement over the years.

Just prior to joining CenCal Health, Mr. Buben was a Grievance Coordinator for Blue Shield of California in Woodland Hills, CA for their commercial and later, Medicare lines of business. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, CA where he also played baseball for the Kingsmen. Mr. Buben is married and has two children and is a resident of the Santa Barbara community.

Outside of CenCal Health, Mr. Buben enjoys long-distance running, coaching/attending all the youth sports his children participate in these days and snowboarding.

Jeff Januska, Director of Pharmacy

jeffJeff Januska joined CenCal Health staff in early 2005. He received his Doctorate of Pharmacy from the University of Southern California after completing his undergraduate studies at the University of California, Irvine. Mr. Januska practiced in Santa Barbara at Cottage Hospital from 1993 through 2003 where he also served as an adjunct professor of pharmacy for the University of Pacific teaching internal medicine and critical care rotations. He understands and appreciate the issues and privileges of practicing within this county and has ties throughout the various levels of healthcare practice.

Mr. Januska's professional background includes 25+ years of practice with hospitals, academics, home health (including starting an infusion business in Maui, HI) and industry. Mr. Januska oversees the development and growth of the clinical pharmacy program in conjunction with CenCal Health's contracted pharmacy benefit management company (PBM). He is an active member of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy.

Terri Howell, Director Provider Services

terri hTerri Howell joined CenCal Health in March, 2019 as the Director of Provider Services. She brings with her more than 30 years of managed care experience and 25 years of Medi-Cal knowledge. Ms. Howell is a highly accomplished and strategically focused executive. She has demonstrated success in business, networking, sales/marketing strategy development driving membership growth, improving health outcomes and reducing health care costs.

Prior to joining CenCal Health, Ms. Howell worked at Health Net, Inc. and Foundation Health. While launching her career, she served as the Customer Contact Center Manager directing daily operations within a statewide, multilingual 24/7 call center encompassing 2 sites and 17 languages represented. Ms. Howell successfully built the Member Relations Department, an outbound call center to welcome new members. She served as Provider Relations Manager, establishing and maintaining crucial relationships with providers in Stanislaus County. Ms. Howell served as the Director of SHP Sales, managing 8 Central Valley counties, earning two awards for membership growth in the Medi-Cal arena. Most recently, she served as Health Net’s Director of Provider Relations, overseeing the development and operations of the statewide department.

Ms. Howell holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management and Marketing.

Carlos Hernandez, Director of Quality and Decision Support

carlosAs CenCal Health's Director of Quality & Decision Support, Mr. Hernandez oversees operational processes necessary to evaluate CenCal Health's effectiveness and provide analytical support to the implementation of strategic initiatives. Additionally, he directs all aspects of HEDIS project management, including the continual refinement of CenCal Health's quality measurement program. Prior to Mr. Hernandez's present directorship, he held positions of increasing responsibility in CenCal Health's Health Services Department.

Mr. Hernandez earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Stanford University, and has eighteen years of experience in quality management, and seven years prior experience in program management and statistical process control. He is a longstanding member of the National Committee for Quality Assurance's (NCQA) Technical Measurement Advisory Panel, and as an advisor to the NCQA he also formerly served on its Technical Advisory Group, Audit Methodology Panel, and Expert Panels on Pediatric Lead Screening and Culturally & Linguistically Appropriate Services. In 1998, Mr. Hernandez was appointed a member of the Department of Health Care Services Medi-Cal Managed Care Quality Improvement Workgroup. In this capacity, he advises the Medi-Cal Managed Care Division's development of quality management policy. As a former NCQA-Certified HEDIS Compliance Auditor, Mr. Hernandez conducted numerous commercial, Medicare and Medicaid audits on behalf of the NCQA and managed care plans throughout the United States.

With Mr. Hernandez's dedication to continuous quality management, and breadth of experience in health plan operations, he is a dedicated catalyst for organizational quality improvement to achieve CenCal Health’s Mission. He balances family time with the demands of racing on a regional cycling team.