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Health Benefit Exchange Authority Names Five Experts to Staff

Monday, February 25, 2013
Appointees bring legal, policy, management and IT expertise.

The District of Columbia’s Health Benefit Exchange (HBX) Authority today named five new members of its senior staff. The new staff members bring expertise in legal matters, insurance policy, organizational management and health information technology.

“I am pleased to add these talented people to our team as we work to create a high-quality health insurance marketplace for District residents and business owners,” said Mila Kofman, J.D., Executive Director. “They bring their knowledge and real-world experience in insurance, health care policy and organizational management to help guide our efforts to provide the people of the District with the critical benefits of the federal health care law.”

Joining the staff are:

Jeff Gabardi, General Counsel 
From 2001 until he retired in 2011, Mr. Gabardi was the senior vice president of state affairs for America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the health insurance industry’s Washington DC-based trade association.  In this capacity, he led the lobbying efforts on behalf of the industry in the states.  Following the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, he coordinated AHIP’s implementation efforts at both the federal and state levels.  Prior to this, he served as General Counsel for the Health Insurance Association of America, a trade group that merged with another to form AHIP in 2003. Prior to his time at AHIP, Mr. Gabardi was General Counsel to an insurer and insurance holding company based in Salt Lake City, Utah, having earlier served four years as the Deputy Commissioner of Insurance for the State of Utah. Mr. Gabardi is a member of the Board of Directors of a DC-based non-profit, STRIVEDC which seeks to provide job acquisition skills to hard-to-place people.  He is also a member of the Human Rights Campaign’s Business Council.  Mr. Gabardi has been a resident of the District since 2004.

Sandra E. Robinson, Senior Deputy Director for Operations/Chief Operating Officer 
From Oct. 2012 to Jan. 2013, Ms. Robinson served as the Interim Executive Director of the Exchange, working with the Authority’s Executive Board, to begin the process of establishing the agency’s systems and operational infrastructure. Prior to joining the Exchange Authority’s staff, Ms. Robinson served as the Chief Operating Officer for the District of Columbia Department of Health.  While there, she oversaw the day-to-day operations of one of the largest agencies within District government, with 667 employees and an operating budget of $243 million and managed a vast array of agency functions. A native of Indiana, Ms. Robinson has been a resident of the District since 1975 and is active in a number of civic and charitable organizations related to adult literacy and the elderly.

Sara Cormeny, Director, Information Technology
Ms. Cormeny is a web-applications specialist who has spent the last 14 years developing online software to help consumers learn more about health insurance and assist them in finding health coverage options. She was the IT project manager on the American Cancer Society's call-center and data-gathering project to assist clients with health insurance access problems.  Ms. Cormeny was a manager at the Office of Consumer Support for the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO, U.S. HHS), where she worked on launching and managing healthcare.gov, the highly-acclaimed website providing Americans with information about the Affordable Care Act and coverage options in their communities. A native Washingtonian, Ms. Cormeny is a graduate of Banneker Academic High School and Brandeis University.  She chairs the board of the nonprofit Constellation Theatre Company and is a resident of the District.

Bonnie Norton, Director for Program Implementation, Policy, and Strategic Alliances 
Ms. Norton has served as Acting Director of the Health Care Reform and Innovation Administration in the District of Columbia Department of Health Care Finance.  Previously, she was a Presidential Management Fellow with the federal government. As a fellow, Ms. Norton worked in the Office of the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services focusing on immunization, pandemic influenza and health information technology. She also worked at the Congressional Research Service on behavioral health and health care reform issues for members of Congress. Prior to her work in the federal government, Ms. Norton conducted health policy and health services research at the George Washington University and American Institutes for Research on consumer engagement, performance measurement, behavioral health care and emergency services. She received her Masters of Public Health in Health Policy from the George Washington University and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan. Ms. Norton is a resident of the District.

Brendan Rose, Program Manager, Plan Management 
Mr. Rose previously served as the Exchange Project Director for the District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking.  In this position he led the department’s efforts in implementation of insurance market reforms and regulations pursuant to Affordable Care Act, including the establishment of the District of Columbia Health Benefits Exchange, development of insurance market and Exchange market operational blueprints, and all other aspects of ACA related to health plan management. Mr. Rose began working for the District in January 2011. Prior, Mr. Rose served as Legislative Director for former Rep. Steve Kagen (D-WI) and as Legislative Assistant to former Rep. David Obey (D-WI), where he worked on developing the eventual Affordable Care Act with a focus on provisions related to the Medicaid Expansion and Medicare payment reforms. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Texas Christian University and is a former AmeriCorps member.  Mr. Rose is a resident of the District.