Coordinated Care Leader EHS Medical Group Announces Management Changes

Posted by Kassy Perry

 Cindy Ehnes brings regulatory expertise to Interim CEO role; New independent board of directors to be elected and commit to smooth claims runout

Pasadena, CA – EHS Medical Group today announced the appointment of nationally-respected health care executive Cindy Ehnes as Interim Chief Executive Officer, and the planned election of a new independent board of directors to focus on the company’s commitment to credibility, compliance and change.

For more than 20 years, physician-owned and operated EHS Medical Group has been a trusted provider of quality medical services to more than 600,000 members in communities in Northern California, the Central Valley, Inland Empire, Los Angeles and San Diego counties. EHS is one of the largest medical groups in the state with 6,509 physicians in its network.

“The hallmark of my career has been ensuring patient access to quality health care and protecting the patient-doctor relationship,” said Ehnes. “My core principle of ‘putting patients first’ is embodied by the EHS physicians who provide quality care in their medical practices and go the extra mile treating homeless patients at their non-profit in downtown Los Angeles. That dedication comes from the core and that mission must not be lost.”

In addition to its physician group practice, EHS Medical Group founded and operates the Downtown Coordinated Care Center (DC3) in Los Angeles. The groundbreaking non-profit organization is dedicated to connecting patients, many of whom are homeless with mental illness, to no-cost, quality medical care. The Complex Care Center within DC3 treats the whole person providing mental health services, substance use disorder treatment and wellness education while treating complex medical conditions. The innovative care delivered through DC3 is designed to keep patients out of emergency rooms and avoid delays in care that can result in poor outcomes and skyrocketing costs.

“Ms. Ehnes is well-qualified to lead EHS at this critical time,” said Carl Moy, M.D., EHS Board Chair. “We understand that to regain credibility with the industry and regulators, we must also elect independent board leadership. We are committed to that, a robust compliance regimen and claims runout. We owe our Medi-Cal patients our best efforts to remain of service to them.”

Ehnes joins EHS Medical Group after decades of dedication to the delivery of quality, patient-centered health care. From 2004 to 2011, Ehnes served as Director of the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC), where she oversaw health insurance services for 21 million Californians served by the state’s managed health care industry, and levied millions of dollars in fines on California’s largest health plans for violations of law. Prior to her move to California in 2002, Ehnes was known in the Colorado Department of Insurance as a strict, but fair, enforcer of consumer protections. More recently, she successfully helped to turn around a troubled Texas health plan, protecting its members’ access to quality care while restoring financial stability.

Background on recent DMHC action

In December 2017, due to alleged wrongdoing by EHS’ administrative services vendor, SynerMed, the DMHC ordered health plans contracting with EHS to terminate their contracts with EHS.

On November 3, upon learning of SynerMed’s alleged activities impacting access to care for their members, EHS Medical Group terminated its contract with SynerMed and initiated both an investigation of its activities and implemented patient-centered reforms including centering medical review decision-making in physicians reporting exclusively to EHS’ physician Board of Directors.

Ehnes will work with the DMHC, the California Department of Health Care Services and all health plans contracting with EHS Medical Group to ensure compliance with state regulations governing transition of Medi-Cal patients, as well as ensure that EHS physicians are properly reimbursed for patient care during the transition period. One of her first actions as interim CEO is the recruitment of new board members and to facilitate the planned election of a fully independent board of directors overseeing EHS’ operations.

“Everyone falls sometimes,” Ehnes continues. “The measure of a company is in how it stands back up with integrity. EHS’ leadership in providing comprehensive coordinated care will be revitalized by new management committed to implementing best standards of transparent, accountable, and compliant managed care practices.”