CenCal Health has a highly experienced leadership team with many years of experience in healthcare and leadership. Our leadership team is dedicated to improving the quality of healthcare in the Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo communities. Please meet our team:
Bob Freeman is the CEO of CenCal Health. CenCal Health is one of the first, and now oldest Medicaid-only Managed Care Plan in the nation. In his capacity as CEO, Bob 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, Bob'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.
Bob also serves on the Board of Directors of the Local Health Plans of California (LHPC), the Community Action Commission (CAC), and serves as the Chair of Pacific Health Centers (PHC). He is also the president of the Doorway to Health Foundation - the non-profit foundation that administers the "Healthy Kids" program in Santa Barbara County.
Before coming to the then Santa Barbara Regional Health Authority in 1993, Bob 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
Paul Jaconette joined CenCal Health in August 2011 coming from Sansum Clinic, the largest nonprofit, multi-specialty healthcare organization between Los Angeles and San Francisco. He oversaw the operations of 18 locations, 200 healthcare providers and 1000 employees and was employed there for 18 years.
Mr. Jaconette is active in our community and a member of professional associations. He serves on the boards of the California Association of Physician Groups, Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce and the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce. He is also an active member of the Medical Group Management Association, American College of Medical Practice Administrators and the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara.
Mr. Jaconette earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California Santa Barbara and a Master of Health Care Administration degree from Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. He completed an Administrative Fellowship at Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City, Utah.
David Ambrose, Chief Financial Officer
Mr. 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.
Barrie Parker, Chief Information Officer
Mr. Parker most recently served as the Chief Information Officer at the Community Health Alliance in Knoxville, Tenn. and Consumers Choice Health Plan in Charleston, S.C., where he directed all information technology operations. At Consumers’ Choice Health Plan, Parker also served as Senior Vice President of Operations and oversaw provider relations, eligibility, claims, member services, marketing, clinical operations and administration.
Prior to joining the Community Health Alliance and Consumers Choice Health Plan, Mr. Parker served as the Chief Technology Officer at Pharmacists Mutual Insurance Company in Algona, Iowa, the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Corporation in Baton Rogue, La. and the Stirling Cooke Insurance Corporation in Dallas, Texas and London. He has also served as an independent IT consultant and Vice President of Systems Re-engineering at CIGNA Corporation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Bloomfield, Connecticut.
Mr. Parker obtained his Masters of Art from Rowan University and Bachelor of Science from the University of Maine.
Caitlin Larsen, Director of Legal Affairs
Caitlin 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, Caitlin 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.
Caitlin 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.
Kashina Bishop, Director of Finance
Ms. Kashina Bishop joined CenCal Health as the Controller in January of 2008. She graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the State of California and a Certified Healthcare Financial Professional. Kashina is a member of the American Institute of CPA’s and the Healthcare Financial Management Association. Just prior to joining CenCal, she was a senior auditor at a local accounting firm where she was able to work with various organizations throughout Santa Barbara County, specializing in not for profit.
Outside of CenCal Health, Kashina loves to spend time with friends and family, especially her husband and two daughters. She also enjoys long walks, hiking, yoga, and reading.
Florence Chan, Director of Health Services
Florence Chan joined CenCal Health in 2015 as the Director of Health Services. Florence received her Master in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from San Jose State University. Florence 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, Florence 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.
Florence is a Certified Case Manager. She is also certified in EPIC Tapestry and Utilization Management.
Karyn Fish, Director of Human Resources
Karyn Fish joined CenCal Health in October 2009, after serving as the Human Resource Leader for 3 high tech organizations in Santa Barbara. Karyn 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, Karyn oversees all aspects of Human Resources Management including executive coaching, Talent Acquisition, Organizational Development; benefits administration and legal compliance.
Karyn 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, Karyn 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.
She 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, Karyn enjoys cooking, reading, and skiing as well as spending time with her family and friends.
Allen Freymuth, Director of Claims
Allen 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, Allen 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.
Allen 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.
Michael Harris, Director of Administrative and Government Services
Michael 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, Michael 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. Michael’s 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, Michael works with other local health plans, state and federal associations to improve CenCal Health’s members’ access to high quality and local health care. Michael 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.
Darryl Leong, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer
Darryl Leong, MD is a board-certified pediatrician, public health professional and managed care medical director with over 20 years of local, state and national experience. Prior to his arrival at CenCal Health, Dr. Leong was a Chief Medical Information Officer and Medical Director for Care First Health Plan in Monterey Park, CA (with a brief interruption) since 2007. Dr. Leong also has extensive experience with federally qualified health centers and other medical practices.
With a longstanding professional goal of improving the public's health and over 20 years of managed care experience in California and Arizona, Dr. Darryl Leong is excited to be working for CenCal Health's mission of improving the the health and well-being of the communities it serves. Dr. Leong is a board-certified Pediatrician with a master's degree in public health. He also has extensive experience in public health and with safety-net providers such as community clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers.
His experience in managed care has demonstrated the key role that data plays in improving and maintaining health including having very satisfied members. With the advent of electronic health records and the availability of health data from all parts of the health system, he sees a key opportunity for CenCal Health to collaborate with its providers to share this data in new and innovative ways.
He also recognizes that almost all health care is provided by health care providers and not the health plan. And having run primary care practices in the past, he sees that there are things that plans can do to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of health care delivery, as well as empower members to be better stewards of their own health.
Takashi Michael Wada, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer
Dr. 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.
Carlos Hernandez, Director of Quality and Decision Support
As 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.
Jeff Januska, Director of Pharmacy
Jeff 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. Jeff 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. Jeff understands and appreciate the issues and privileges of practicing within this county and has ties throughout the various levels of healthcare practice.
Jeff's professional background includes 25+ years of practice with hospitals, academics, home health (including starting an infusion business in Maui, HI) and industry. Jeff oversees the development and growth of the clinical pharmacy program in conjunction with CenCal Health's contracted pharmacy benefit management company (PBM). Jeff is an active member of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy.
Marina Owen, Director of Provider Services/Program Development
Promoted to Director of Provider Services in October 2008, Marina Owen joined CenCal Health five years earlier in 2003. She leads a twelve member team, chairs the Provider Advisory Board and oversees provider recruitment, contracting and credentialing. Through her tenure, CenCal Health has increased access to quality health care services for low income residents of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties through contracts with local providers. Prior to joining CenCal Health, Mrs. Owen managed a pediatric medical practice and served as a research associate at a local consulting firm.
Mrs. Owen completed her undergraduate studies at the University of California Santa Barbara, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. She is the past chair of the Health Professions Association at the University of California Santa Barbara and currently serves as Vice Chair of the Community Heath Board of Santa Barbara County. A member of the Executive Committee since 2009, Mrs. Owen served as inaugural Chairman.
Mrs. Owen is committed to providing excellence in service to healthcare partners who ensure the health and well-being of the people on the central coast. Outside of CenCal Health, Marina enjoys riding horses, sailing in the Santa Barbara harbor and spending time with her family.
Donna Slimak, Director of Member Services
Donna Slimak joined CenCal Health in 2000 after her being at a national health care organization in the Los Angeles area responsible for their Statewide Consumer Advocate and Member Grievance and Appeals Departments.
Mrs. Slimak brings over twenty five years of managed healthcare experience in the areas of member advocacy, customer service, grievance and appeal process, quality standards, state and federal regulations relating to healthcare operations, and Quality Assurance experience with Health Plan Full Accreditation with the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Mrs. Slimak currently leads the Member Services Department team of twenty five and is responsible for the creation of CenCal Health’s Call Center, Member Grievance and Quality Improvement team, Cultural and Language Access Program and is CenCal Health’s HIPAA Privacy Officer. Mrs. Slimak participates in various CenCal Health’s various quality committees, chairs the Member Support Quality Committee and the Community Advisory Board.
Donna majored in English attending University of California at Santa Barbara and currently resides in Moorpark with her husband Marty of thirty nine years who was her high school sweetheart. They have one son in law enforcement and two grandchildren.
Lulu Von Alvensleben, Assistant Director of Claims
Lulu Von Alvensleben has been in health care Claims management for over 15 years. She began her career at Santa Barbara Regional Health Authority in 1985 working in the Claims Mailroom, advancing from Data Entry, Claims Verifier and Assistant Claims Supervisor to Claims Operations Manager.
As the Associate Director of Claims, Lulu has a wide breadth of knowledge and experience in the Claims Department. Lulu has participated in many of the technical and operational changes at CenCal Health over the years and looks forward to participating in continued improvements to the efficiency and effectiveness of the claims system.
Outside of CenCal Health, LuLu enjoys playing softball, riding horses and spending quality time with her family and friends.
Beverly K. Dolberg, Medical Director
Dr. Beverly K. Dolberg joined CenCal Health as Medical Director in 2015. Prior to joining CenCal Health, Dr. Dolberg was Medical Director/Associate Medical Director at Kern Health Systems (KHS) in Bakersfield, California a Knox-Keene licensed managed Medi-Cal health plan. At KHS, Dr. Dolberg monitored the quality of health care delivery to KHS members with emphasis on utilization management and quality improvement. New programs were developed to monitor both in-patient and out-patient services. She was active in revitalizing case management and disease management activities for a diverse patient population.
Prior to joining KHS, Dr. Dolberg was a solo practitioner in Internal Medicine in Media, PA, where she also was a Nursing Home Medical Director and Medical Reviewer for both in-patient and out-patient medical services. Dr. Dolberg has also worked for the Veteran’s Healthcare Administration. She has been part of the teaching faculty at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Chester, PA and Loma Linda University Medical School, Loma Linda, CA. Dr. Dolberg has served on the Board of the Riddle Memorial Hospital Physician Organization in Media, PA, and was a board member of the Delaware County Board of Medicine in Media, PA as an active member of the Pennsylvania Medical Association. She has served on the Board of Governors for the Southern California region II of the American College of Physicians.
Dr. Dolberg is a graduate of Hahnemann University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, PA, and completed her Internship and Residency in Internal Medicine at the Medical Center of Delaware. She has a Master’s Degree in Molecular Genetics from Bryn Mawr College in PA and prior to attending medical school worked as a research scientist in the field of Molecular Biology/Genetic Engineering. She is licensed by the Medical Board of California, a Diplomat of The American Board of Internal Medicine and a Fellow in the American College of Physicians.
Sherri Tarpchinoff Bennett, Associate Director Provider Services
Sherri Bennett joined CenCal Health in September 2016 as the Associate Director of Provider Services and has more than 20 years of experience in government programs, such as MediCal and Medicare. Sherri leads the teams responsible for Provider Operations including credentialing, provider data maintenance, provider quality measures, and provider grievance and appeals.
Prior to joining CenCal Health, Sherri served as Director of Provider Network Operations for Gold Coast Health Plan in Ventura County. Additionally, Sherri has held several positions in Provider Relations, including Provider Contracts Manager and Provider Network Development Manager at Molina Health Care, and as an Independent Managed Care Consultant where she played an integral role in the implementation of several Medicare Advantage Institutional Special Needs Plans (I-SNPs), nationally. She is also the current President Elect and a Board Member for Soroptimist International of Ventura.
Sherri earned her Associate of Science in Medical Technology at Stautzenberger College and studied Business Administration/Management at Sullivan University. She is also a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN).
Rob Botdorf, Associate Director of Member Services
Rob Botdorf joined CenCal Health in December of 2016 as the Associate Director of Member Services, and brings 20 years of experience in Customer Service, specializing in government programs such as MediCal and Medicare. Rob leads the Member Services Team at CenCal to achieve the highest plateau of Customer Service. He takes tremendous pride in that. Rob demonstrates team-building skills and excellent conflict resolution abilities utilizing Call Center technology with the purpose of ensuring optimum quality assurance and customer needs fulfillment.
Prior to joining CenCal Health, Rob managed the Medicare Customer Contact Center at Health Net where he oversaw various Medicare Call Centers, an Internet Response Team, an Executive Response Unit, a Provider Transfer Unit, and Account Services. During his tenure at Health Net, Rob gained valuable experience and brings a clear direction of best practice Customer Service to CenCal.
Rob received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science at Cal-State Northridge. In addition, Rob received his certification at the International Customer Management Institute on Contact Center Performance Excellence. Outside of CenCal, Rob enjoys playing baseball, hiking, traveling, and most importantly, spending time with his family.