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.
Paul Wakim (DO, FAAOOS), Chief Medical Director
Paul joined Paladin in 2009 with more than 35 years' experience in orthopedic surgery. In the first two decades of his career, he worked in bone and joint clinics in Kansas and Texas and later in emergency medicine, serving as both Chief of Emergency and Chief of Surgery at Coastal Bend Hospital in Texas. From 1984 to 1988, he served as Director of Medical Education and Director of Clinical Clerkships at Doctors' Hospital's in Corpus Christi and later as the hospital's Chief of Staff.
Paul's other professional roles have included president of the Orange County Osteopathic Medicine Association, exam commissioner of the California Osteopathic Medical Board, membership on the Industrial Medical Council, president of the Osteopathic Physicians' and Surgeons of California, and associate director of the medical unit of the California Division of Workers' Compensation.
Paul received his undergraduate degree from California's Fresno State University and his medical degree from the University of Health Sciences in Kansas City. He is board certified by the American Academy of Orthopedic and Neurological Surgeons and the American Academy of Osteopathic Orthopedic Specialists.
Nicholas Godellas, Director of Managed Care
Nick came to Paladin in 2011 with more than 25 years' experience in workers' compensation insurance. In addition to overseeing our vendor relations and account management functions, Nick helps us develop new products and supports acquisitions.
Prior to Paladin, he spent five years at SeaBright Insurance Company, where he was responsible for the strategic direction, development, implementation, and measurement of managed care programs, including bill review, clinical management, pharmacy benefit, and preferred provider network programs. He also served as workers' compensation product director at First Health, where he developed managed care products and services for insurance carriers, third-party administrator, and self-insured clients. He began his professional career at Kemper Insurance Companies, and in his 18 years there held several roles, including medical management manager and associate workers' compensation manager.
Nick earned a B.A. in Geography from the University of Illinois, as well as an Associate in Claims (AIC) designation.
Jan Olszewski, 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.
Mary Ellen Szabo, Director of Clinical Services
Mary Ellen joined Paladin after working in the managed care services industry for more than a decade. Her wide ranging experience includes serving as Director of Utilization Review Services for Professional Dynamics, Inc.; Senior Account Operations Manager for Managed Care Services at Mitchell International; and Manager of Managed Care Services at Fair Isaac Corporation. She has also worked as a nurse consultant, medical case manager, and field case manager in the retail and managed care services industries.
Mary Ellen has earned several degrees and professional certifications. She received an A.A. in Child and Family Development at Mount San Antonio College. She continued her undergraduate studies at University of California, and completed her B.A. in Psychology at California State University of Los Angeles. She went on to achieve her A.S. in Registered Nursing at Pasadena City College, and is licensed with the CA Board of Registered Nurses. Most recently she attended the Mitchell Advanced Leadership Program at San Diego State University.
Nicole Davila, Director of Bill Review Services
Nicole joined Paladin in 2013 with 10 years’ experience in managed care services, notably in medical bill review roles. For five of those years, she worked for CorVel Corporation, first as a bill review supervisor and later as manager, overseeing a staff of 70 medical bill analysts and support staff.
Nicole began her career as a pharmacy clerk at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, California. Was later was promoted to patient account representative and eventually to lead representative. As lead, she was responsible for training new staff, ensuring that the claims processing team complied with health plan guidelines, and identifying and resolving health plan payment issues.
Nicole is a certified Medical Bill Reviewer in the State of California and an expert on the Official Medical Bill Fee Schedule (OFMS).
Jeannie Grandberry, Director of Systems
Jeannie came to Paladin in 2010 with more than 25 years' experience working as a leader within Human Resources, Cost/Financial accounting, Lean Manufacturing and 15 years in the self insured worker’s compensation industry as a liaison between Claims and the TPA. Before joining Paladin, she worked for the government in support of ERP implementations and created the Quality Assurance program for the IT Department and has experience in the implementation of an automated testing suite.
Her role with Paladin provides operational support and technical oversight of the medical and clinical systems, while managing information systems projects. Her experience with Business Process Improvement (BPI) ensure strategic vendor management and technical execution.
Jeannie attended Washington State University and is a certified by Prosci in Organizational Change Management.
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. Frank W. Crast (M.D., M.P.H.), Physician Guide
Frank’s long career in medicine, public health, and managed care services includes consulting and leadership roles across the United States in both the private and public health care sectors, notably in community health organizations, state corrections departments, and the U.S. Army. As a medical leader, he has served as Corporate Medical Director for HealthSmart; Utilization Management Medical Director for Wexford Health Services; Senior Medical Director for Workers’ Compensation Services at FirstHealth Corporation; Corporate Medical Director for Burlington Northern Railroad; and Medical Director for West Virginia’s entire workers’ compensation program.
In his years with the U.S. Army, Frank worked as a senior occupational medicine physician and staff officer for Health Services Command (HSC) at Fort Sam, the Army’s major medical command for the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Panama. He was later promoted to Chief of Preventive Medicine for HSC, responsible for overseeing all aspects of the preventive medicine program, including technical and staff supervision in 38 hospitals and medical centers.
Among his many degrees and fellowships, Frank holds an M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, an M.D. from Tulane University School of Medicine, and a B.A. in Pre-med and Chemistry from Syracuse. During his career, he has also held fellowships in infectious diseases and occupational and environmental medicine and is board certified in occupational medicine, preventative medicine and pediatrics.
Dr. Flores (D.O.), Physician Guide
Trained in osteopathic medicine, Dr. Flores is a board-certified family medicine practitioner in California. In addition to his role at Paladin, he works as a physician in the Family Medicine After Hours Clinic at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Santa Ana, as well as at Riverside’s Kaiser Permanent Hospital in both urgent care and family medicine.
Before becoming a doctor in 2009, Dr. Flores was founder and CEO of a company which developed, bottled, and distributed private-label vitamin beverages throughout the U.S. and Mexico.
He received a B.S. in Biology from Penn State University and his D.O. from Western University of Osteopathic Medicine. He is currently studying at the University of California at Irvine for a Masters in Environmental Toxicology.
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. Howard Jonathan Miller (M.D., M.P.H.), Physician Guide
Howard came to Paladin with considerable experience as an independent physician reviewer. In addition to his work at Paladin, he currently practices occupational and physical medicine for California’s Lompoc Healthcare District.
He has also held several leadership positions over the years, including Assistant Medical Director for Concentra Physician Reviews, Medical Director for Occupational Medicine at the Sansum Medical Group; Medical Director for MedWorks occupational health, urgent care, and electromyography(EMG) /physical medicine services; Medical Director Bakersfield Occupational Medical Center, with EMG/physical medicine service; Medical Director of Occupational Health Services for Simi Valley Hospital; and Chief of Occupational Health Services for Kaiser Permanente in Panorama City/Woodland Hills, California.
Howard received his M.D. from the University of Manchester Medical School in England and his M.P.H. from the University of Jerusalem in Israel.
He trained at Stanford and is Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
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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