Health Coverage Policy Explorer: Our Team
Daniel Cruz, ASA, MAAA
Gregory G. Fann, FSA, MAAA
Cheryl Smith Gardner
Shannon Carter, PhD.
David McClendon, PhD.
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Stephanie specializes in health and human services policy, design and operations. Prior to establishing her consulting practice in June 2020, she had over twenty years of experience in Texas state government. She began her state career at the Texas Legislature and held senior executive level positions in health and human services for more than fifteen years, including director of external relations, chief of staff, deputy over social services eligibility, and State Medicaid Director.
Stephanie’s accomplishments include modernizing the Texas eligibility system. Between 2011 and 2014 she increased online applications from less than twenty percent to nearly seventy percent. She oversaw the design and deployment of a mobile application to allow Texans to provide documentation, speeding up application processing and reducing costs. Her efforts to modernize the system reduced the cost per case by 14 percent avoiding over $80 million in expenditures. In addition, she successfully oversaw a large-scale reorganization of health and human services programs that led to the transition of over 4,000 staff and more than 120 programs. As State Medicaid Director, she oversaw operational and policy aspects of a health care delivery system that provides services to more than four million Texans. She overhauled managed care oversight and increased accountability.
Stephanie has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Florida and a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas.
Daniel is an actuary with Axene Health Partners, LLC. He has extensive industry experience in individual major medical health pricing and Affordable Care Act (ACA) regulatory compliance. Prior to becoming a consultant, he worked as a pricing actuary primarily responsible for ACA compliant major medical products and corresponding state/federal rate filings in over 20 states.
His consultant work has largely focused on understanding the unique subsidy dynamics in the ACA individual market and opportunities for stakeholders to optimize consumer value. His industry work includes research for a state agency assessing the value offered on the exchange, strategic and pricing work in implementing a “public option” plan in the state of Washington, individual market pricing for a major health plan across multiple states along with actuarial work for a variety of clients including brokers, health plans, medical groups and law firms.
Through independent research, Daniel has provided the actuarial profession and the health care industry with various public presentations and articles dedicated to advancing consumer value in the individual market. This includes presentations at Society of Actuary (SOA) conferences, SOA sponsored podcasts and media engagements aimed at dissecting the intricacies of the individual market.
Daniel currently lives in San Diego, CA with his wife and two children.
Greg Fann is a consulting actuary with Axene Health Partners, LLC. He is a strategic thought leader who helps state agencies optimize health care markets and guides clients through the unique dynamics of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
A large focus of his 26-year career has involved modeling dynamics in individual and small group health insurance markets. Since 2011, he has specialized in assessing ACA-related policy implications and educating clients on strategic considerations. Greg works with health plans, providers, state agencies, attorneys, policy groups and conducts independent research.
Greg is a frequent speaker and is one of four actuaries appointed by the Society of Actuaries (SOA) to respond to media requests related to the ACA. Greg is a respected author in the actuarial community and is frequently asked to write on emerging issues, including a potential health crisis and the COVID-19 impact on the health insurance markets.
He is the Chair the SOA Social Insurance & Public Finance Section Council and actively develops content for professional meetings and the SOA Curriculum and Examination Committees. He also leads the Individual/Small Group subgroup of the SOA Health Section. Greg was honored by the SOA as one of twelve Outstanding Volunteers in 2017 and was an endorsed Board of Directors candidate in 2019.
Greg became a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries in 1998 and a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries in 1997. In addition to his actuarial credentials, Greg earned a Master of Actuarial Science from Georgia State University and a Bachelor of Science from Furman University. Greg is married and resides in Temecula, California.
Cheryl is the founder of Gardner Strategies, a health policy and strategy business. Cheryl combines functional knowledge and experience in state health policy design with a notable background in strategic management and program administration. Her clients include state government agencies, technology firms, and policy shops.
Prior to founding Gardner Strategies, Cheryl served as the Chief Executive Officer at beWellnm (New Mexico’s health insurance exchange), as the Executive Director of the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace (AHIM), as a Senior Practitioner at Deloitte Consulting, as a director in the Health Insurance Exchange practice at Leavitt Partners, and in the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development as the Director of Policy and Strategy of the Utah Health Exchange office.
Her leadership and expertise in the areas of state health policy, insurance exchanges, and health system reform often draws national attention as she is frequently cited in a number of respected publications including the Washington Post, Politico, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and the New York Times. Cheryl is a highly sought after public speaker and has participated multiple times as a presenter, panelist, and moderator at a number of national conferences including those sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the Republican Governors Association (RGA), the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL), and America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).
Shannon is a data scientist at January Advisors. January Advisors is a Houston-based data science consulting firm that works with government agencies and nonprofits. Shannon has a Bachelor of Science in biology from Baylor University and a PhD in BioSciences from Rice University
David McClendon is a sociologist and demographer with nearly a decade of experience conducting social science research projects across a wide range of public policy areas. Currently, he is a Principal Consultant at January Advisors where he leads research projects and data visualization product development for a host of public and nonprofit sector clients. Prior to joining January Advisors, David earned his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin, worked as a Research Associate at Pew Research Center, and served as Co-Director of Research at Children At Risk (a Houston-based child advocacy organization).
Lisa specializes in financial and policy analysis in the health care sector, with an emphasis on Medicaid, hospital reimbursement, and managed care. Lisa’s 30-year public-sector career doing research, forecasts, and fiscal impacts to inform policy and program decisions – first in the field of criminal justice, then in health care – provide her with a strong foundation to understand the complexities of health care finance. Lisa ended her public-sector career as Chief Financial Officer of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), leading the request for a biennial appropriation nearing $80 billion dollars while concurrently overseeing the financial transformation of HHSC as it became one of the largest state agencies in the country via a merger with other HHS agencies and programs. Lisa holds a Bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University, and a Master’s degree from Louisiana State University.