A New RI Medicaid Choice Brings New Leaders to the Community

Tufts Health Plan announces team leading Rhode Island Medicaid entry

August 23, 2017  

Providence, RI – As Tufts Health Plan enters the Rhode Island Medicaid market with its new plan, RI Together, the company has announced the leadership team who will support its growing presence.

Tufts Health Plan’s new Medicaid team will be led by:

To support its expanded staff, Tufts Health Plan is relocating its Rhode Island office to a new, easy-to-access location in the Providence Journal building near Kennedy Plaza. RITogether will provide Medicaid beneficiaries with more integration of their primary and behavioral health care through Tufts Health Plans’ member-focused care management programs.  Visit TuftsHealthPlan.com/RITogether for more information.


Helene Forte, RN, MS, PAHM, Vice President, Public Plans Emerging Markets

Helene is responsible for leading and managing Tufts Health Plan’s Rhode Island Medicaid entry, which includes strategy and business planning, government and community relations, sales, marketing and operations.  Prior to joining Tufts Health Plan in 2014, Helene held positions in clinical program support and engagement strategy, care advocacy and medical management for Aetna. She also has served as vice president of medical operations at APS Healthcare Inc., a health management organization servicing commercial, Medicaid and state employee members, and manager of health programs and manager of case management for Tufts Health Plan. She began her career as a staff nurse, and has taught classes in nursing at Mount Wachusett Community College and Montachusett Vocational School. She received an MS in nursing from Boston University and a BS with a concentration in nursing from the University of Massachusetts.

Tilak Verma, MD, MBA, Senior Medical Director

Tilak is responsible for clinical activities in Rhode Island, including the development and implementation of comprehensive medical programs and ensuring the delivery of high-quality care to members and enhancing relationships with providers, facilities and regulatory agencies. Prior to joining Tufts Health Plan, Tilak served as a regional Medical Director at United Healthcare for nine years. He received an MBBS from the University of Delhi, India, and subspecialty training at Temple University Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital of the Harvard Medical School and an MBA from Bryant University. He holds a board certification in internal medicine and in the sub-specialties of pulmonary and sleep medicine. Tilak is a fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Deanna Talley, BS, MS, Director, Integrated Clinical Management

Deanna joined Tufts Health Plan in April 2017. Prior to her new role, Deanna was the associate vice president of case management for Molina Healthcare of New Mexico, and previously held senior leadership positions in care management and health care quality in acute care and payer settings, including Medicaid, Medicare, and Marketplace experience. Deanna is a registered nurse with a BS in Healthcare Services from Florida Atlantic University, and a MS in Management and Healthcare Administration from Southern New Hampshire University. She is a Certified Case Manager and a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality. Deanna has been a board member of state case management and healthcare quality organizations, as well as community and state advocacy boards in Virginia and New Mexico.

Jason Brown, MS, Director, Provider Contracting and Relations

Jason has worked at Tufts Health Plan for nearly 10 years in the Massachusetts and Rhode Island markets. In this role Jason oversees and directs the contracting efforts and provider relationship management for hospitals, physician groups, integrated delivery systems, behavioral health and other ancillary providers in Rhode Island. Jason’s earlier experience includes working at CVS/MinuteClinic in payer contracting and Conduent (formally Xerox State Healthcare) as a consultant to the Rhode Island Medicaid managed care program. Jason graduated from Bryant University and earned a MS in Public Affairs from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Jason is a Certified Healthcare Financial Professional and earned the professional designation of Certified Specialist - Managed Care.

Joy Russell, MS, Director of Rhode Island Medicaid Operations

Joy is responsible for overseeing operational functions related to the implementation of the Medicaid contract, including eligibility, enrollment, and services as a liaison with claims payments, and member and provider services. In addition, she is responsible for ensuring all service level agreements and will assume a visible leadership role in the products, services, and partnerships offered by Tufts Health Plan in support of the Medicaid plan. Before joining Tufts Health Plan, Joy worked at Dell Services in Providence where she was a client delivery and customer executive consulting for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI). Prior to working for Dell, she spent several years with BCBSRI as a manager of application development, responsible for business and development analysis of claims, benefits and technical implementations as well as leading multiple system conversions. She has degrees from Barrington College and Gordon College.