Priority Health appoints new senior leaders within finance, government markets, actuarial & advanced analytics and health plan operations

(Grand Rapids, Mich. – Dec. 21, 2021) Priority Health, Michigan’s fastest growing health plan that now serves more than 1.2 million lives, has appointed three new leaders within the organization’s finance, government markets and actuarial & advanced analytics divisions and created a new role in health plan operations. Praveen Thadani, president of Priority Health, led a comprehensive, nationwide search to find the right internal and external candidates to fill the roles within the growing senior leadership team. Nick Gates now serves as senior vice president of finance, Joyce Chan Russell as senior vice president of government markets, Karena Weikel as senior vice president of advanced analytics and chief actuary and Mike Jasperson in the expanded role of senior vice president of provider network and health plan operations.

“We are pleased to have exceptionally talented leaders for these important positions,” said Praveen Thadani, president of Priority Health. “Our senior leadership team is focused on transforming the industry to make care and coverage better for everyone. I am energized as we head into 2022, and I am incredibly grateful for our more than 2,250 team members.”

Nick Gates, senior vice president of finance, has held various positions at Priority Health since 2004. In his new role, Gates is responsible for all of Priority Health’s finance strategy and long-range planning, investments, finance operations, accounting and auditor relationships. He has provided governance support to the Priority Health finance and audit committee, led in the valuation and due diligence for the acquisition of Total Health Care, and ensured the initial and continued realization of integration benefits. He has also contributed to the culture of fiscal responsibility and profitable growth at Priority Health.

Joyce Chan Russell, senior vice president of government markets, has focused on the health of vulnerable populations since 2004, both on the payer side of the business as well as in care delivery. She oversees the individual, Medicare Advantage and Medicaid markets for Priority Health. Her responsibilities include driving growth, managing profit and loss, partnering with industry and government stakeholders, and delivering on quality and operational goals, all in alignment with Priority Health’s overarching effort to transform health care. 

Karena Weikel, senior vice president of advanced analytics and chief actuary, has more than 20 years of health care experience with 15 of those years in leadership. Her areas of focus have been in transforming provider arrangements from fee-for-service towards value-based care, trend management, underwriting, risk adjustment, actuarial and advanced analytics. In her role she leads teams who blend math, statistics, economics, technology, and business knowledge to develop analytics that improve revenue and reduce expenses, so Priority Health has affordable health plan products.

Mike Jasperson has taken on the newly created position of senior vice president, provider network and health plan operations. He has served as the senior vice president of provider networking since March 2020 and held previous roles with Priority Health since 2016. In the combined role, Mike’s responsibilities include provider network development, provider operations and performance, value based arrangements, customer service, claims, enrollment and other key operational areas focused on ensuring exceptional experiences for our members, providers and others.

Learn more about Priority Health’s leadership team here.

About Priority Health:

With over 30 years in business, Priority Health is the second largest health plan in Michigan, offering an extensive portfolio of health benefits options for employer groups and individuals, including Medicare and Medicaid plans. Serving more than 1.3 million members each year and offering a broad network of primary care physicians in Michigan, Priority Health continues to be recognized as a leader for quality, customer service, transparency and product innovation. Learn more about affordable, quality health coverage options from Priority Health