Leadership & Physician Guides
Jeff joined Paladin in 2009 with more than 25 years' experience delivering products and services to the insurance industry, including in the areas of finance, operations, managed care, health care, and software technology. His career includes 16 years at Intracorp, a wholly owned subsidiary of CIGNA Insurance, where he performed increasingly broader and more complex finance and operating roles.
Jeff also spent four years at Fair Isaac Corporation as vice president of the company's Healthcare and Insurance Services unit, which, under his watch, became one of the top four businesses in its market space. During his three years at Cerius Consulting, he served as vice president of Operations and headed both its Healthcare and Business Transformation practices, helping the firm evolve into the largest Southern California-based full-service executive management consulting business, growing at a rate of more than 30 percent a year.
In 2007, he left Cerius to form Amplify Consulting, cited by the Orange County Business Journal as one of the county's top 10 consulting firms. During that time, he was also an adjunct professor at California State University at Fullerton, where he taught senior-level courses in strategic and entrepreneurial management.
Jeff received a B.A. in Business Administration from California State University at Fullerton and an M.B.A. from the University of St. Francis. He is also certified as a Six Sigma Black Belt.
Andrea Ervin, Chief Financial Officer
Andrea joined Paladin in 2013 with 25 years’ experience managing accounting and financial operations in the insurance industry. Most recently she was with PointSure, Paladin's sister company, where she had oversight for accounting, finance, tax and compliance. Prior to PointSure, Andrea spent 20 years with Marsh & McLennan where she held many roles including Treasury Manager, Assistant CFO, General Accounting Manager and Senior Vice President, Manager of Financial Planning & Analysis.
Andrea received her B.S. degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from California State University, Hayward. She was a member of Beta Alpha Psi, Accounting Honor Society and has served on the Board of Directors for Financial Executives International.
Gregg Bernhard, Vice President, Operations
Gregg joined Paladin in 2017 with more than 25 years of experience in the workers’ compensation, managed care arena. After starting his career as a vocational rehabilitation counselor, he went on to serve in management and sr. leadership positions for both regional and national companies. Gregg’s experience includes leading successful field and telephonic case management programs, bill review services, ADA consulting, and utilization review organizations. Gregg was also part of the management team at Coventry when they first achieved URAC Accreditation for Case Management Services.
Gregg was personally responsible for creating return to work programs and video job analyses libraries in numerous industries and worked with employers such as American Airlines, Sysco Foods, BAYER, USF Trucking, Penske and the San Francisco Chronicle.
Prior to joining Paladin, Gregg was the COO/Co-Founder of a web-based, first to market medical treatment authorization product which significantly increased productivity and efficiency for large national insurance companies, TPA’s and strategic vendor partners. The Company was started in 2009 as Smart-UR, then later was rebranded as Effective Health Systems, Inc. Gregg divested his interest in EHS in 2015.
Gregg received a B.A. in American Studies from California State University at Fullerton with a music minor.
Elaine Tonel (DO, MS), Medical Director
Dr. Elaine Tonel joined Paladin in 2013 with experience in Occupational Medicine. Since 2011, Dr. Tonel has been with SeaBright Insurance as a Physician Guide working in partnership with the claims staff, addressing the medical needs of the particularly challenging claims within the insurance company's successful Physician Driven Quality (PDQ) program. Previous to joining SeaBright, she served as Assistant Medical Director at WorkCare, Inc., along with working as a physician consultant for the DWP of Los Angeles, and several other clinical assignments including work at Kaiser Permanente.
Dr. Tonel's other professional roles have included Vice Chair for Workers Compensation Committee for the Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons of California, and is affiliated with American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine; American Western Occupational and Environmental Medicine Association; American Osteopathic Association; Sigma Sigma Phi National Osteopathic Honors and Services Society.
Elaine received her degree from the University of California, Irvine, in Occupational and Environmental Medicine and in Environmental Toxicology in 2007. From 2003 to 2004, she served as Chief Resident at the Loma Linda University, Medical Center; Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine in 2001 and in 1995 she received her BA in Integrative Biology.
Amie Friedberg, Assistant Vice President - Strategic Partnerships
Amie joined Paladin in 2015 with over 23 years of experience in the workers compensation, managed care industry. Areas of concentration have included training, operations management, workflow management, software technology development sales, and account management. Amie's employment in past has been with managed care and software service providers such as Procura, Fair Isaac, Stratacare and Medata.
After college, Amie started in an entry level position and worked her way up learning as much as she could about the industry and to determine where she would be able to make a valued contribution. At Fair Isaac she took on an Operations Director position and managed multiple locations for several years. She then moved on to learn the software side of the industry and worked with the product development organization. At Stratacare and Medata, Amie started as an Account Manager. She managed one of the largest self insured employers in the US, along with others and was successful in providing superior customer service, as well as high levels of client retention and continued sales growth for the organizations she was employed.
Amie received her B.S. in Business Administration from Towson University in Maryland.
Lisa De Ritis, Assistant Vice President, Managed Care
Lisa joined Paladin in 2017 with more than 30 years of experience in the insurance industry. Her early career began as a workers’ compensation claims examiner, where she went on to hold management and senior leadership roles for regional and national insurance carriers and managed care organizations. Lisa’s broad experience includes development and leadership of controlled networks, nurse case management programs, risk management consulting, return to work efforts and utilization review oversight.
Previously, Lisa was a customer service director and AVP of Managed Care for CalComp Insurance Company for 7 years, where she helped to develop the Employer’s School. She was also an MPN Manager, Utilization Review Manager, and AVP of Managed Care at York Risk Insurance Services/WellComp. Most recently, she worked at Everest Reinsurance Company as a Managed Care Analyst and was responsible for overseeing the work of third party administrators as well as managed care vendors. Besides being an expert in the UR arena, Lisa also has extensive experience with training, implementation, contract negotiation, MPN/controlled networks and managed care analytics.
Lisa is an alumna of the University of California, Los Angeles, with a major in Political Science. She is a Certified Medical Bill Reviewer in the State of California, as well as a licensed Property and Casualty insurance broker.
Carla Poulin, MBA, PMP, Senior Manager, Project Services
Carla joined Paladin in 2016 with over 20 years of experience leading teams and utilizing her project management skills in the group health and biotechnology industries. Most recently, she came from Anthem where she first led the Annual Election Period Command Center with 26 cross-functional teams to ensure oversight of the Medicare division’s organizational readiness and compliance of the annual election period process. Secondly she led the Duals Project Management Office for CareMore, a subsidiary of Anthem, in standing up and operationalizing the Medicare-Medicaid product offering.
Carla received a B.S. in Biology from the University of California, Irvine and an M.B.A. from The George L. Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University. She also maintains her Project Management Professional (PMP) designation from the Project Management Institute.
Jan Carlson, National Account Manager
Jan came to Paladin in December 2012 with more than 20 years' experience working with national clients in the workers' compensation insurance industry, including Fortune 500 companies. Before joining Paladin, she served as a workers' compensation manager for CCMSI, one of the largest independent third-party administrators (TPA) in the country. For several years, she developed, launched, and managed a national workers' compensation program covering 40 states. Her role included designing workflows and policies, recruiting and training employees, integrating key vendors, establishing best practices, and ensuring compliance.
Prior to working at CCMSI, Jan spent 13 years at Sentry Insurance in several management roles. She initially managed two offices responsible for multiple jurisdictions, later focused on developing adjusters for six mid-western states, and finally served as the company's Workers' Compensation TPA Manager. In the three years she held this position, she was responsible for developing and running a very successful workers' compensation TPA program. She was also involved in improving claims-handling processes, developing selection processes for qualifying contractors, and training 30 contract adjusters in customer service best practices. Her efforts helped raise performance results to 97 percent, based on independent audit reports.
Jan holds a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin. She is also a licensed adjuster in 19 states and a certified examiner in California.
Dr. Samuel Carlis (D.O.), Physician Guide
Sam joined Paladin in 2010 to conduct peer clinical reviews of the medical condition of injured workers and the procedures and treatments recommended by their medical providers. Sam has been a practicing physician since graduating with a degree in Osteopathic Medicine. After completing his residency in Family Practice, he joined the faculty of the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery as an assistant professor of Family Practice, followed by an associate professorship in Family Medicine at Western University of Health Sciences.
Sam has practiced Family Medicine for nearly 30 years at his office in Huntington Beach, California. During those years, he also served as CEO of Family Practice Physicians Inc. a three-office group practice, and as an attending physician at both the Garfield and Huntington Valley convalescent homes and the Hy-Lond Home for Exceptional Children. In addition, he served as medical director of CVS Pharmacy's Minute Clinic and worked as a participating physician at the Huntington Beach Free Clinic. He is currently a civil surgeon for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, District No. 23.
Sam earned a B.S. from Pennsylvania's Muhlenberg College and his D.O. from the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery in Des Moines, Iowa. He is board-certified in Family Practice by the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners and in General Practice by the American Osteopathic Board of General Practice. He is also an active member in several professional organizations, including the American Osteopathic Association and the Osteopathic Physicians Association of California and its Orange County Chapter.
Dr. Paul A. Castillo (M.D., M.P.H.), Physician Guide
Paul has actively practiced medicine in clinical settings for nearly 25 years, specializing in acute medical and surgical urgent care, occupational and environmental medicine, preventive medicine and public health, population medicine, and clinical epidemiology.
He spent the first part of his career providing direct patient care at Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco and Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. In 1997 he returned to Kaiser Permanente as a staff physician and, for seven years, oversaw the day-to-day clinical and administrative management of patients with occupational injuries and illnesses. In recent years, he has also consulted in medical quality and utilization review of workers’ compensation claims for several clients.
Paul received his M.D. from the University of Washington School of Medicine and completed his Preventive and Occupational Medicine Residency at Johns Hopkins University where he additionally received his MPH degree from Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.
Dr. Yoav Gershon (M.D.), Physician Guide
Yoav joined Paladin in 2011 after a decade as a practicing and consulting physician and entrepreneur in medical technologies. As a physician consultant for Paladin, he is responsible for conducting peer clinical reviews of the medical condition of injured workers and the procedures and treatments recommended by their medical providers.
Prior to joining Paladin, he founded and served as the chief technology officer for Babylon Consulting, which specializes in developing medical software and hardware for information security, data mining, natural language processing, and multi-platform networks. Ten years later, he became a founding partner of Sypermed, a Silicon Valley start-up focused on applying emerging technologies to modern medical markets.
As a physician, Yoav started out in the Occupational Health Department of Kaiser Permanente, where he led a clinical team that treated a variety of industrial injuries at multiple Kaiser clinics. Four years later, he became a consulting physician at EK Health Services, working as a medical consultant in the Claims/Utilization Review Department of the California State Compensation Insurance Fund's Inland Empire district office.
Yoav earned his B.S. in Genetics from the University of California at Davis and his M.D. from Columbia University's School of Physicians and Surgeons. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians.
Dr. Gary Marshall Taff (M.D.)
Gary joined Paladin with over 30 years’ experience in emergency, urgent care, occupational, and primary care medicine. In recent years, he has conducted utilization reviews for workers’ compensation claims for several companies. He has also served as a medical consultant in occupational medicine for both the California State Compensation Insurance Fund and the Catalina Island Medical Center.
In the past few years, Gary has led occupational medicine seminars for Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center and Alaska Glaciers’ continuing medical education cruises. Earlier in his career, he served as medical advisor for the Mendocino Fire Department, Program Director for Occupational Medicine Services at Mendocino Coast District Hospital, and medical director of a number of health care organizations in California.
Gary earned an A.B. in Biology from Lafayette College and his M.D. from New York Medical College.
Dr. Glenn A. Thomas (M.D.), Physician Guide
Glenn has been conducting utilization reviews for workers’ compensation claims since 2005. Prior to that, he spent a decade as a practicing physician and medical director, beginning as the attending physician in the emergency room at Veterans Administration Hospital in Loma Linda.
Glenn went on to become Interim Inpatient Physiatry Medical Director at Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa, California; Director of Occupational Medicine/Urgent Care at hospitals in Cathedral City and Chino, California; and Medical Director at Electrodiagnostic Services in West Covina, the Los Back Pain Institute in Carlsbad, and the All Back Care Institute in Los Angeles. For nearly a decade, he was also an associate professor at Loma Linda University.
Glenn studied biochemistry at Andrews University before earning his M.D. at Loma Linda University School of Medicine.
Dr. Nicole Wakim (M.D.), Physician Guide
Nicole is an anesthesiologist and specialist in integrative pain management. In addition to her role at Paladin, where she specializes in reviewing complex injury claims, often involving chronic pain and opioid use, she works as a pain specialist at Pacifica Orthopedics in Huntington Beach, California.
Earlier in her career, Nicole worked as an anesthesiologist at Mile Square Surgery Center, Newport Surgery Center, and Kaiser Permanente’s South Bay Medical Center, all in California. She has also served as a medical consultant with Harvard University’s Center for Health and Wellness.
Over the years, Nicole has conducted and authored medical research and given presentations on a range of clinical topics. She received a B.A. in Biochemistry from the University of San Diego and her medical degree from Loyola University’s Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago. She is board certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology.
Dr. Renee E. Yocum (D.O.), Physician Guide
A specialist in osteopathic family medicine, Renee served as Medical Director of Santa Ana College’s Health Wellness Center for nine years and as Medical Director of Santiago Canyon College Health Center for four years. Prior to that, she worked as a physician in private practices in Arizona.
Renee received her D.O. from Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine. She is active in several national osteopathic medicine associations and has served as secretary of California’s Orange County Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons since 2008.
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