Personnel & Board

Contents

  1. Personnel
  2. Consultants
  3. Board of Directors
Personnel
Executive Director Judith Stein
Judith A. Stein, JD – Executive Director

Judith Stein founded the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc. in 1986, where she is currently the Executive Director.  Ms. Stein has focused on legal representation of the elderly since beginning her legal career in 1975.  From 1977 until 1986, Ms. Stein was the Co-Director of Legal Assistance to Medicare Patients (LAMP) where she managed the first Medicare advocacy program in the country.  She has extensive experience in developing and administering Medicare advocacy projects, representing Medicare beneficiaries, producing educational materials, teaching and consulting.  She has been lead or co-counsel in numerous federal class action and individual cases challenging improper Medicare policies and denials.

Ms. Stein graduated cum laude from Williams College in 1972 and received her law degree with honors from Catholic University School of Law in 1975.  She is the editor and co-author of  books, articles, and other publications regarding Medicare and related issues including the Medicare Handbook (Aspen Publishers, Inc., 13th Edition, 2011; update annually) and a contributor to the on-line periodical, Neiman Watchdog.

Ms. Stein is a Past President and a Fellow of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), a past Commissioner of the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging, an elected member of the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), and a recipient of the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA, now CMS) Beneficiary Services Certificate of Merit. She was a delegate to the 2005 White House Conference on Aging and received the Connecticut Commission on Aging “Age-wise Advocate Award” in 2007.  In 2013 Ms. Stein was appointed to the national Commission on Long-Term Care by House of Representatives Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Associate Director Kathleen Holt
Kathleen Holt, MBA, JD – Associate Director

Kathleen Holt joined The Center for Medicare Advocacy in 2014 as an Associate Director.  Always seeking to make life better for individuals, Ms. Holt began her career with CIGNA Insurance Company, developing insurance claim process improvement strategies.  After obtaining her M.B.A. in Healthcare Management from the University of Connecticut, Ms. Holt enjoyed protecting patient rights and expanding patient services as a hospital administrator – first at New Britain Memorial Hospital in Connecticut, and then at Northwest Hospital in Seattle, Washington.  In 1993, Ms. Holt graduated from Seattle University School of Law and, striving to better understand government systems and decisions, she became a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Seattle.  In that position, Ms. Holt authored health law opinions and worked to reduce fraud and misuse of resources through federal court litigation and development of improved administrative programs.  In 1997, following the birth of her profoundly disabled second child, Ms. Holt founded a Seattle area law practice to advocate for the needs of the disabled and elderly.  She led this law practice until her arrival at The Center for Medicare Advocacy in February 2014.

Ms. Holt also comes to The Center with extensive community involvement experience.  She has most recently served as President of the Board of the ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) Association, Northwest Chapter;  National ALS Association ad hoc Bylaws Committee Chair; member of Congressman Dave Reichert’s Health Care Advisory Committee; Service Projects Chair for the Seattle Boy Scouts of America; and, Chair of the Family Advisory Council at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Ms. Holt is honored to bring her varied experiences, and her continued desire to work in service toward making life better for the disabled and elderly, to the nationally recognized Center for Medicare Advocacy.

Managing Attorney David Lipschutz
David Lipschutz, JD – Managing Attorney, Senior Policy Attorney

David A. Lipschutz, joined the Center for Medicare Advocacy in June 2010. Mr. Lipschutz engages in public policy issues surrounding Medicare and related coverage as they impact Medicare beneficiaries. This work includes federal administrative and legislative advocacy, collaboration with other consumer advocates to address systemic issues, and monitoring, analyzing and commenting on current Medicare-related policy developments. He is also a contributing author to the Center’s Medicare Handbook. Mr. Lipschutz came to the Center after 5 years as a staff attorney at California Health Advocates (CHA), a nonprofit organization that provides advocacy and education for California Medicare beneficiaries. Before joining CHA, Mr. Lipschutz worked as a staff attorney at the Center for Health Care Rights, a non-profit agency that provides direct services to Medicare beneficiaries in Los Angeles County. From 2003 to 2010, Mr. Lipschutz co-authored a chapter on Medicare in California’s Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) publication California Elder Law, Resources, Benefits, and Planning.

Mr. Lipschutz is an attorney licensed in California and Connecticut, and earned his B.A. degree from University of California, Santa Cruz in 1993 and his J.D. degree from University of California, Davis in 1999.

Alice Bers - Litigation Director
Alice Bers, JD – Litigation Director

Ali Bers conducts federal litigation aimed at making systemic improvements to Medicare for elders and people with disabilities. She has litigated numerous class actions addressing policies and practices that improperly deny Medicare coverage or block fair access to Medicare’s administrative appeal system.  Ms. Bers also represents individuals who have been denied coverage for medically necessary care, and she frequently speaks and writes on Medicare topics.  Before joining the Center, Ms. Bers was an elder law attorney in private practice and for seven years she was a staff attorney at Western Massachusetts Legal Services (now Community Legal Aid).  At Legal Services, she assisted low-income clients with public benefits and represented beneficiaries as part of the Massachusetts Medicare Advocacy Project. She was a law clerk for the Honorable Robert N. Chatigny of the U.S. District Court in Connecticut. Ms. Bers is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and has served for over 10 years on the Board of Directors of Square One, a non-profit provider of early education and child care based in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Ms. Bers is admitted in Massachusetts, U.S. District Court for the Districts of Massachusetts and Connecticut, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second and Ninth Circuits. She received her B.A., magna cum laude, from Columbia University and her J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School.

Communications Director Matt Shepard
Matthew E. Shepard, MA – Communications Director

Matthew Shepard came to the Center For Medicare Advocacy in 1996, seeking a brief respite from the education field. Expecting a short-term job while he got his teaching certificate, Matt found, upon getting to know his fellow staff and the work of the Center, that he had no desire to leave. He has since moved from general office assistance to coordinating all the Center’s written and electronic communications, website, podcasts, newsletters, webinars, and weekly e-Alerts. In addition, Matt works with the Development Director with fundraising and outreach, and the Executive and Associate Directors as needed.

Matt graduated from Tufts University in 1992 with a BA in English. He immediately re-enrolled and graduated in 1993 with an MA in teaching, which explains his love of editing.

Scott Perkins, MA - Development Director
Scott Perkins, MA – Development Director

Scott Perkins is the Development Director at the Center for Medicare Advocacy and is responsible for strengthening, diversifying and managing the Center’s fundraising and communications programs.  Mr. Perkins has an MA in Buddhist Studies from Naropa University.  While Naropa provided a rigorous course of academic study, Mr. Perkins was more deeply impacted by the experiences that illuminated one universal fact: we all desire to be free of suffering.  Planning for an academic career, Mr. Perkins changed paths to social services.

In addition to direct service work with homelessness, substance abuse, mental health, and terminal illness, Mr. Perkins has over 14 years executive leadership experience developing and implementing strategic management, communications, and fundraising programs for regional and international nonprofits.  He and his colleagues received the 2009 Washington Post Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management and a Moving Your Message award for innovative integration of social media with more traditional print and media strategies.

Finance Manager - Doreen Simonsen
Doreen Simonsen – Finance Manager

Doreen, head of the Center’s Office of Helpful People, spends the majority of her time hounding Matt for explanations of various web-related credit card charges, and/or to get his timesheets up to date.

Mary A. Ashkar, JD – Senior Attorney
Mary A. Ashkar, JD – Senior Attorney

Mary Ashkar has worked as an attorney for the Center for Medicare Advocacy since 2002.  She is currently a senior attorney, co-manages the cases of the Center’s largest client, and provides legal assistance, education, and representation on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries who have been unfairly denied Medicare coverage or access to health care.  Ms. Ashkar has extensive experience handling Medicare appeals through the appeal system, including at the Administrative Law Judge level.  She also produces educational materials, and is a contributing author to the Medicare Handbook (Aspen Publishers, Inc. Update Annual).

Ms. Ashkar is a member of the Connecticut Bar Association Elder Law Section.  She graduated from the University of Michigan in 1997 and received her law degree from the University of Iowa College of Law in 2000.  Before coming to the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Ms. Ashkar practiced law at a firm in Dubuque, Iowa where she worked in litigation and employment law.

Senior Policy Attorney Toby S. Edelman
Toby S. Edelman, Ed. M., JD – Senior Policy Attorney

Toby S. Edelman has been representing older people in long-term care facilities since 1977.  As a Senior Policy Attorney with the Center for Medicare Advocacy since January 2000, Ms. Edelman provides training, research, policy analysis, consultation, and litigation support relating to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.  Under two grants from the Commonwealth Fund, she evaluated the federal nursing home survey and enforcement system and its impact on state activities and provided technical assistance to states on effective enforcement practices.  In cooperation with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, she recently completed a Commonwealth Fund project to evaluate seven states’ deficiency citations for misuse of antipsychotic drugs.  Since September 1999, she has written a monthly newsletter on nursing home enforcement issues.

Ms. Edelman was the lead attorney for a statewide class of nursing facility residents who successfully challenged the state of California’s refusal to implement the federal Nursing Home Reform Law (Valdivia v. California Department of Health Services, Civ. No. S-90-1226 EJG (E.D. Calif. 1993).  As a beneficiary representative, Ms. Edelman has testified before Congress and served on federal task forces, technical expert panels, and working groups on nursing home issues.

Ms. Edelman received a B.A., Magna cum Laude, from Barnard College (1968), an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (1969), and a J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center (1974).

Paul Grabowski, JD - Attorney
Paul Grabowski, JD – Attorney

Paul Grabowski is an attorney in the Center’s Connecticut office. He represents beneficiaries throughout the Medicare appeals system to obtain coverage for services that have been unfairly denied. Mr. Grabowski is a graduate of the Quinnipiac University School of Law, where he served as a member of the law review, and received graduation awards for academic excellence and superior classroom performance.

Policy Attorney Kata Kertesz
Kata Kertesz, JD – Policy Attorney

Kata M. Kertesz joined the Center for Medicare Advocacy in 2014 as a Policy Attorney. Her legal work focuses on the rights of those dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, the Medicare Savings Programs, and other matters regarding access to health care for lower-income people. Prior to joining the Center, Ms. Kertesz worked on Medicare issues at the National Council on Aging (NCOA), a non-profit agency that focuses on health care and consumer protection issues for older adults. While at NCOA, Ms. Kertesz engaged in administrative and legislative advocacy through coalitions of consumer protection groups.

Ms. Kertesz earned her B.A. degree from Georgetown University and her J.D. degree from Georgetown University Law Center. She was executive editor of the Georgetown International Environmental Law Review, and a student editor for the ABA’s Entertainment and Sports Lawyer. Also while in law school, Ms. Kertesz worked on consumer protection issues for the federal government, including as an honors law clerk at the Environmental Protection Agency, as a legal intern at the Department of Homeland Security, and as a law clerk for Commissioner Robert M. McDowell at the Federal Communications Commission. Ms. Kertesz is licensed in Maryland. Prior to attending law school, Ms. Kertesz was a journalist at the Associated Press in Washington, DC.

Madeline Korber, JD – Attorney
Madeline Korber, JD – Attorney

Madeline Korber joined the Center for Medicare Advocacy in 2016.  Madeline provides a variety of direct representation, administrative law, research, analysis and writing with a focus on issues related to our work, low-income and dually eligible Medicare beneficiaries and CT health policy matters

Madeline is a graduate of the UConn School of Law and the University of Rochester, where she earned her degree in public health. She interned for the CT Attorney General’s office at the UConn Health Center, the Center for Children’s Advocacy, the CT Legal Services Poverty Law Clinic, the CT Department of Health Legal Department, and the Collingham Child and Family Centre in London. She was a law clerk in Washington D.C. for the Department of Health and Human Services in the Office of Counsel to the Inspector General. She was a Research Assistant for the UCONN School of Law, the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute. She also held a position as assistant to new patients at the Thiele Chiropractic Life Center. Madeline is committed to, and passionate about, public interest legal work and serving lower income communities.

Wey-Wey Kwok, JD – Senior Attorney
Wey-Wey Kwok, JD – Senior Attorney

Wey-Wey Kwok has been a staff attorney at the Center for Medicare Advocacy since 2002. In addition to her work with the Litigation Unit, she represents Medicare beneficiaries in appealing coverage denials of home health and skilled nursing facility care. Previously, Ms. Kwok worked as an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii in Hilo, Hawaii, specializing in family law, public benefits, and domestic and elder abuse. As a project attorney for the AARP Foundation’s National Training Project, she designed and delivered materials and training on elder law for aging advocates across the country.

Ms. Kwok graduated magna cum laude from Yale University in 1991 and received her law degree in 1996 from the Georgetown University Law Center, where she was a Public Interest Law Scholar.

Robert S. Robichaud, RN, JD - Attorney
Robert S. Robichaud, RN, JD - Attorney

Robert Robichaud joined the Center for Medicare Advocacy as an attorney in 2013. Mr. Robichaud graduated from Quinnipiac University School of Law in 2004.  Prior to joining the Center, his legal career concentrated in the areas of health law and probate, representing and advocating for clients in matters including conservatorships, guardianships, behavioral health, and others.  Rob is also a Registered Nurse, earning his baccalaureate in science for nursing from Southern Connecticut State University in 1996;  bringing nearly 17 years of direct patient care experience to the Center.  His nursing career spans several areas and specialties including acute care hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, occupational health, and rehabilitation.

Ashkon Roozbehani, JD - Attorney
Ashkon Roozbehani, JD - Attorney

Ashkon Roozbehani is an attorney in the Center for Medicare Advocacy’s Connecticut Office. Ashkon provides direct representation, administrative law oversight, research, analysis and writing.  Ashkon focuses on administrative law and due process concerns of low-income and dually eligible Medicare beneficiaries, and assists with efforts related to the Affordable Care Act.

Ashkon came to the Center from Cigna Healthcare where he was a Proposal Strategist for National and Taft-Hartley Accounts for four years. While working at Cigna, Ashkon completed his law degree at the University of Connecticut.  He is admitted to the Connecticut and Massachusetts Bars. During law school, Ashkon led a health law group, worked as a law clerk at a firm in Wethersfield, CT and worked as a research assistant for Professor and health law expert, John A. Cogan.

Ashkon has a strong commitment to the Center’s mission and to our work to advance access to quality health care.

Dara Valanejad Photo
Dara Valanejad, JD - Policy Attorney

Dara Valanejad joined the Center for Medicare Advocacy in 2017, and works in conjunction with the Long-Term Care Community Coalition. Mr. Valanejad’s work primarily centers around nursing home and long-term care issues. Mr. Valanejad graduated cum laude from American University Washington College of Law, where he was a senior staff member of the American University Law Review, a Legal Rhetoric Writing Fellow, and the Director of Career Programming for the Health Law & Policy Student Association. Prior to joining the Center, Mr. Valanejad was an intern at the HHS Office of the General Counsel, Public Division; a Health Policy Fellow at the Center for Medicare Advocacy; and an intern at the ABA Commission on Law and Aging.

Kayvona Abell – Documents Assistant
Kayvona Abell - Documents Assistant

Kayvona Abell entered the workforce at an early age, after receiving her high school diploma from EastCONN in 2009.  Despite her youth, Kayvona quickly became a trusted employee wherever she worked, and often performed managerial tasks.  After attending Brio Academy of East Hartford in 2011, Kayvona quickly returned to full time work.  She came to the Center for Medicare Advocacy in 2014, seeking a career path outside the retail world, where she had primarily been employed.  As Documents Assistant, Kayvona helps oversee all out-going and incoming appeals documentation, in addition to other tasks.

Corinna Beebe - Appeals Manager
Corinna Beebe - Appeals Manager

Corinna Beebe joined the Center for Medicare Advocacy’s Data Unit in 1994 as an Entitlement Analyst, which eventually turned into the position of Appeals Analyst.  Now, as Appeals Manager, Corinna’s background in customer service and accounting serves her well in her work with providers and Medicare Appeals Contractors on the Center’s Third Party Liability Project.

Corinna attended the University of Southern Maine where she majored in Communication.

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Ben F. Belton - Chiplin Senior Fellow

Ben Belton, Former Senior Advisor to the Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration, is the first recipient of the the Alfred J. Chiplin, Jr., Social Justice & Advocacy Award. Ben most recently served in the administration of President Barack Obama as a Senior Advisor to the Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA). In that role, he oversaw the development and implementation of agency initiatives for older Americans and the national aging network.

Ben also worked very closely with the White House and other federal agencies on issues affecting older Americans. His commitment to aging issues was reflected in the integral role he played in planning for the 2015 White House Conference on Aging and serving on the Conference’s Elder Justice Policy Committee.  He has over ten years of experience working on aging issues, having also served at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, and on the 2008 Obama for America campaign, where he helped direct the campaign’s outreach to older voters. He has also served as a director on the board of the National Alliance for Caregiving, a member of the Eldercare Locator Advisory Committee and on the Dementia Friendly America National Council.

Ben completed his studies in Sociology at Bowie State University in Maryland.

Crystal Fauteux - Documents Manager
Crystal Campbell- Documents Manager

Crystal Campbell is the Documents Manager for the Center for Medicare Advocacy.  She manages the flow of work into, out of, and throughout the Center. Crystal came to the Center in August 2012. She is a graduate of Eastern Connecticut State University with a B.S. in Sport and Leisure Management with a Minor in Health.

Casey Carpenter – Legal Assistant

Casey Carpenter came to the Center as a part-time student employee in the documents department. After a year of dedicated part-time work and graduation, she became a full-time Legal Assistant. Casey works closely with the lawyers and advocacy staff. She handles documentation, case development issues and provider communications, schedules hearings, and reviews files. Casey is also the Events Coordinator for the Center; in that capacity she has managed logistics for four national conferences and numerous statewide seminars. Casey holds a BA in Communications from the University of Connecticut.

Susan J. Collins - Information & Referral Specialist
Susan J. Collins - Information & Referral Specialist

Susan Collins joined the Center for Medicare Advocacy in 1990. In the decades since, Susan has become an invaluable “first responder” to the thousands of calls and letters the Center fields from people around the country each year. In addition to screening and answering incoming inquiries, Susan creates, maintains and updates the Center’s educational materials, and still manages to offer general assistance to the rest of the staff as needed.

Susan has served on the Windham, CT board of education, the Windham Hospital Board of Directors, the Regional Panel for Quality and Diversity in education, and the Department of Children and Families Task Force. She currently works with the Across the Smiles Community Dental Health Program and the Windham School Readiness Council.

Jonathan A. Gonzalez – System Administrator
Jonathan A. Gonzalez – System Administrator

Jonathan likes dogs, mountain biking, and fixing other people’s cars.  In his spare time, he works on computers, just like he does in his work time.  Without hair gel, he looks 16 years old.

Sue A. Greeno – Medicare Advocate
Sue A. Greeno - Medicare Advocate

Sue Greeno joined the Center for Medicare Advocacy in 2015 with over 20 years of social justice and advocacy work under her belt. As a Medicare Advocate, Ms. Greeno works to improve health care access for all people who rely on Medicare, through personal advocacy and the delivery of CMA’s educational and outreach programs.

Prior to joining The Center, Ms. Greeno served as lead staff for the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) at Senior Resources, Area Agency on Aging, where she offered long term care planning, supports and services. As a CHOICES certified counselor since 2001, Ms. Greeno provided Medicare counseling and education to thousands of Medicare beneficiaries throughout Connecticut.

During her earlier work, Ms. Greeno enabled Community Health Center, Inc. to become the first federally qualified health center in the State of Connecticut to provide immediate access to Medicaid for their patients through her leadership in implementing HUSKY Presumptive Eligibility.

Ms. Greeno is a 2007 Health Leadership Fellow of the Connecticut Health Foundation.

Lisa Hall – Appeals Administrator
Lisa Hall – Appeals Administrator

Lisa Hall joined the Center for Medicare Advocacy’s Data Unit in 1991 to temporarily assist with a large mailing project.  Soon after, she was hired as the Center’s third, full-time, Data Unit staff member. With the rapid increase in staff at the Data Unit shortly thereafter, Ms. Hall’s position developed into that of Entitlement Analyst/Manager which entailed training, managing and supervising other staff. Ms. Hall continued in that position until 2006 when she became the Assistant Project Manager and simultaneously assumed a large part of the responsibility of computer systems management, acting as a key technical resource for other staff members. Effective July 1, 2008, she became the Data Project Manager. In this position she was responsible for the day-to-day operations and supervision of the Center’s Data Unit and its ongoing relations with home health providers, federal Medicare contractors and state Medicaid third party liability offices and their agents. When the Data Unit was folded into the main office, Ms. Hall was tasked with overseeing the third party liability appeals process.

Ms. Hall attended the University of Maine. Prior to joining the Center for Medicare Advocacy’s staff, she worked as an administrative assistant to the Executive Director at Landmark Human Resources, a non-profit adult daycare facility and workshop for physically and mentally challenged adults.

Shaun Harrington – Data Manager & Programmer
Shaun Harrington – Data Manager & Programmer

Shaun Harrington joined the Center for Medicare Advocacy in April 2008 as Assistant Data Manager, after a distinguished tenure with CT Tymetrix, a corporate/legal data support company where he earned multiple honors, including employee of the year.  Mr. Harrington brings to the Center his technical expertise in Windows based programs, network solutions, and data management, as well as his experience in client data services.

Mr. Harrington graduated from the University of Lowell with a degree in Business Administration, and is a member of the Legal Electronic Data Exchange Standard (LEDES) Oversight Committee, an international, voluntary, not-for-profit organization comprised of legal industry representatives charged with creating and maintaining open standard formats for the electronic exchange of billing and other information between corporations and law firms.

Elizabeth Maldonado – Legal Secretary

Elizabeth Maldonado came to the Center for Medicare Advocacy in 2000, seeking a position in Secretarial work.  Before coming to the Center Elizabeth worked as Secretary for the Windham Public Schools Special Education Department, as well as for the school’s Bilingual Department. Elizabeth also worked as Secretary for the Windham First Selectman’s office for two years.  One of her passions is proofreading, and she also enjoys formatting documents, both of which lend themselves perfectly to her current duties.  Elizabeth is fluent in English and Spanish, and handles Spanish speaking calls as well as written translation when needed.

Daniel B. Wildes, MA – Appeals Assistant
Daniel B. Wildes, MA - Appeals Assistant

Daniel Wildes joined the Center in July 2013 to work on a temporary data manipulation project. Center management so appreciated Daniel’s accuracy and attention to detail that he was offered a full-time position as soon as one opened up in the Appeals department. Daniel continues to assist with other special projects as needed. Daniel graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2007 with a BA in Political Science and received a Master’s in Library and Information Science from Drexel University in 2012.

Consultants
Gill W. Deford, JD – Of Counsel
Gill W. Deford, JD – Of Counsel

Gill Deford is the Director of Litigation at the Center for Medicare Advocacy.  Mr. Deford was a staff attorney for eighteen years with the National Senior Citizens Law Center in Los Angeles, specializing in health law, public pensions, ERISA, and SSI.  He was later the director of a Massachusetts agency providing legal assistance to people with mental disabilities and a staff attorney with the health law team at AARP Foundation Litigation in Washington, D.C.  Since 1999 he has been with the Connecticut office of the Center for Medicare Advocacy, where his work focuses on systemic improvements to Medicare through federal court litigation.  His law degree is from the University of Virginia and his Bachelor’s Degree is from Harvard University.

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Sally Hart, JD, MBT, LLM – Consulting Attorney

Sally Hart is consulting counsel to the Center For Medicare Advocacy, Inc. in Willimantic, Connecticut, and is located in Tucson, Arizona. She graduated from Stanford University and Boston University School of Law (cum laude), and received a Masters in Business Taxation from U.S.C. Ms. Hart specializes in public health benefits law, particularly the problems encountered by elderly and low income persons in obtaining Medicare and Medicaid benefits. She has represented beneficiaries in numerous class action lawsuits that expanded their rights to procedural protections when health services are denied. She was lead counsel in Grijalva v. Shalala, 152 F.3d 1115 (9th Cir. 1998), cert.granted, vacated and remanded, 119 S.Ct. 1573 (U.S. May 3, 1999), judgment vacated and remanded, 185 F.3d 1075 (9th Cir. Sept. 1, 1999), settlement approved, CIV 93-711 TUC ACM (D.Ariz. Dec. 5, 2000), which expanded appeal protections for Medicare HMO enrollees across the country. More recently she represented the Arizona class plaintiffs in Ball v. Rodgers, 492 F.3d 1094 (9th Cir. 2007), which recognized the right of HCBS recipients to sue the State Medicaid agency to obtain timely and reliable home care services.

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Patricia Nemore, JD – Consulting Attorney

Patricia Nemore is a senior policy attorney in the Washington, DC office of the Center for Medicare Advocacy.  Ms. Nemore has been an advocate for older people and people with disabilities seeking health care for  more than thirty -five  years. Her practice has focused on Medicare, Medicaid and long-term care, with special emphasis on issues of importance to those dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.  Ms. Nemore’s recent work focuses on   the dual eligible integration programs being spearheaded by the federal Medicare and Medicaid Coordination Office as well as  issues affecting low-income Medicare beneficiaries’ access to and use of the Medicare Part D Low Income Subsidy and  the Medicare Savings Programs.  She has published articles and reports on these subjects as well as having been engaged in individual advocacy, class action litigation and legislative and administrative advocacy at the national level. She graduated from the Columbus School of Law of the Catholic University of America.

Ellen Lang, RN, MPH – Medical Consultant
Ellen Lang, RN, MPH – Medical Consultant

Ellen Lang, RN, MPH is the Medical Advocacy Consultant for the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc. in its Connecticut office.  Ms. Lang helps to coordinate the Center’s advocacy efforts, writes about Medicare home health and related topics, and provides consulting and training services.

Ms. Lang has been a registered nurse for more than 35 years and has worked in a wide array of specialty areas within the field of nursing, with a focus on home health care. Ms. Lang was a practicing home health care nurse as well as the administrator of two home health agencies. She helped to establish the Infectious Disease Clinic of Norwich, CT.  She graduated from the William W. Backus Hospital School of Nursing with highest honors and received a BA degree in biology from Eastern Connecticut State University.

Ms. Lang holds a master’s degree in public health from the University of Connecticut where she authored The Rising Incidence of Diabetes in the Adult Navajo and a Collaborative Approach to Health Care Using Traditional and Western Medicine. She is also the recipient of the Eastern Connecticut State University Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award, May, 2003.

Kate Stonebreaker - Medical Consultant
Kate Stonebreaker, RN, BA - Medical Consultant

A Registered Nurse with a background in social science, Kate joined the Center in 2016.  She cares deeply about the voices and dignity of vulnerable populations, and has a particular interest in caretaking and issues surrounding death and dying.  At the Center, she bring her knowledge as a nurse to the analysis and interpretation of medical records and healthcare events.  She also writes about the intersection of Medicare policy, implementation, and measurable outcomes for beneficiaries.

Kate graduated magna cum laude from Yale University in 1998 with a BA in linguistic anthropology.  In 2015 she earned her BSN summa cum laude from the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing of Mercer University.

Board of Directors
Bess Brewer, Esq. – President, Board of Directors
Bess Brewer, Esq. – President, Board of Directors

Attorney Bess Brewer is a sole practitioner in Sacramento, California.  Her practice is devoted to litigating Social Security Disability cases at the federal court level.  Prior to entering private practice, Ms. Brewer was Directing Attorney for Northern California Lawyers for Civil Justice (NCLCJ), a staff attorney with the National Senior Citizens Law Center (NSCLC) in Los Angeles, and the Executive Director of the Medicare Advocacy Project, Inc. (MAP, now known as The Center For Health Care Rights), a non-profit advocacy organization in Los Angeles specializing in Medicare, Medi-Cal, and related health issues.

Ms. Brewer received her J.D. from the University of Michigan School of Law and her B.A. from Hampton University.

Keith Bradoc (Brad) Gallant, Esq. – Vice-President, Board of Directors
Keith Bradoc (Brad) Gallant, Esq. – Vice-President, Board of Directors

Attorney Brad Gallant is a Partner in the law firm of Day Pitney LLP. His practice includes traditional trust and estate planning and administration, special needs and disabilities planning, planning for same-sex couples and their families, planning for incapacity, and all types of probate litigation.

Mr. Gallant is the immediate past Chair of the Estates & Probate Section of the Connecticut Bar Association, and serves on the executive committee of the CBA’s Elder Law Section. He is a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and a Life Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation. Since 2005, Brad has been designated by Worth magazine as one of the top 100 lawyers in the United States serving individual clients. In 2006 he was named one of “the top ten” of all Connecticut lawyers by Connecticut Magazine.

Mr. Gallant has litigated a wide variety of matters in probate and appellate courts, including lost wills, paternity disputes, will and trust constructions, contested conservatorships and accountings, and undue influence cases. He has appeared on behalf of clients in more than seventy-five probate courts as well as numerous Connecticut and federal trial and appellate courts. He was lead counsel for the amicus curiae in the landmark Connecticut Supreme Court case, Department of Social Services v. Saunders.

Mr. Gallant volunteers with numerous organizations that provide services to persons with special needs. In 1994 the Connecticut Probate Courts recognized his advocacy on behalf of persons with disabilities by naming him “Citizen of the Year.”

Brad Gallant received a B.A., with Honors, and an M.A. from Cambridge University, England, where he was a member of Pembroke College. He received a J.D., cum laude, from the University of Connecticut School of Law and an LL.M. from the University of London.

Brad Gallant has served on the Center for Medicare Advocacy Board since 2006.

Rebecca C. Morgan, Esq. – Treasurer, Board of Directors
Rebecca C. Morgan, Esq. - Treasurer, Board of Directors

Rebecca C. Morgan is the Boston Asset Management Chair in Elder Law, the Director of the Center for Excellence in Elder Law at Stetson University College of Law and the Director of Stetson’s on-line LL.M. in Elder Law.  She is a successor co-author of Matthew Bender’s Tax, Estate, and Financial Planning for the Elderly and its companion forms book,  a co-author of Representing the Elderly in Florida and a co-author of Fundamentals of Special Needs Trusts and serves as a member of the elder law editorial board for Matthew Bender.

Professor Morgan is a past president of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, past president of the Board of Directors of the National Senior Citizens Law Center, past chair of the American Association of Law Schools Section on Aging and the Law and of the Florida Bar Elder Law Section, and was on the Faculty of the National Judicial College. She served as the reporter for the Uniform Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Act.  She is a member of the academic advisory board for the Borchard Center for Law and Aging, an academic fellow of the American College of Trusts & Estates Counsel, a member of ALI, a NAELA fellow, and a member of NAELA’s Council of Advanced Practitioners.

Professor Morgan was the recipient of the 2003 Faculty Award on Professionalism from the Florida Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism and along with Professor Roberta Flowers, received the 2005 Project Award on Professionalism from the Florida Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism for their video series on ethics in an elder law practice. She received the NAELA Unaward in November 2004 from President Stu Zimring for her accomplishments in the field of elder law. She received the 2006 Rosalie Wolf Memorial Elder Abuse Prevention Award from the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, the NAELA President’s Award from NAELA President Mark Shalloway in May of 2008 and the 2009 Treat Award for Excellence from the National College of Probate Judges.

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Constance I. Neal – Secretary, Board of Directors

Connie Neal has been a member of the Center for Medicare Advocacy board of directors since 1986.  She is currently serving as Secretary.  Ms. Neal has served on several boards throughout the years, including those of Windham Memorial Community Hospital, Mt. Hope Montessori School, and Altrusa International, Inc. of Northeastern Connecticut, an association of professional women and men who volunteer their energies and expertise in projects dedicated to community betterment.  Ms. Neal was President of the Foundation Board for Altrusa.

Ms. Neal attended the University of Hartford.  She has been a Marketing representative for the New York Telephone Company, Assistant Director of Marketing and Promotion for American Express Travel and Leisure, and Director of Personnel for the Commissioner of Public Services of Springfield, Illinois.  For the past 30 years, she has co-owned Smith-Keon Jewelers with her husband Bill, with whom she also raised two sons.

Marion Platt, EdD – Member, Board of Directors
Marion Platt, EdD – Member, Board of Directors

Marion Platt has served on the board of The Center for Medicare Advocacy since its inception in 1986.

Ms. Platt has been an advocate for special education services for over thirty-five years serving preschoolers through adults in Connecticut and Illinois as a teacher, administrator, professional development coordinator and consultant.  Areas of expertise include special education law and programming for students on the autism spectrum.  In the 1990s she received a Fulbright Scholarship to live and work in Russia to develop special education programming in concert with technological advances. Ms. Platt has been instrumental in the development of public school programming for minority populations including specialized training and services for medically fragile/technologically dependent children, pre-kindergarten through age twenty-one students on the autism spectrum and, most recently, transitional programming for students returning to public school subsequent to a  prolonged psychiatric or medical hospitalization.

Ms. Platt received her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and education, cum laude, Masters in special education and Sixth Year degree in educational leadership and administration, magna cum laude, from the University of Connecticut, and completed her EdD at Loyola University, Chicago with a focus on program design and evaluation.  Ms. Platt is a life-long member of many special education organizations including the Council for Exceptional Children.

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Elizabeth Duckrow, MS - Member, Board of Directors

Elizabeth Duckrow began her professional career as a first grade teacher in San Pedro Sula, Honduras and ended it 38 years later as a school counselor in New Haven, Connecticut. During these years, Mrs. Duckrow worked with a variety of different and diverse school populations: In Falls Church, Virginia as a Crisis Intervention Counselor, in Pennsylvania as a public school employee serving a Mennonite school and an all girls Catholic boarding school, and in Connecticut as the Director of Guidance at Windham High School and a K-12 counselor for the New Haven Public Schools. Her focus has always been on advocating for the student. She has helped to develop curriculum, served on the New England Association of Schools and Colleges high school accreditation committee, and provided professional development to staff at many different schools.

As a retired educator, Mrs. Duckrow presently volunteers at the Yale New Haven Childrens’ Hospital several days a week and attends painting classes at the Creative Arts Workshop. She earned her MS in Counseling at SUNY Albany and her BS in elementary education at Georgian Court College.

Judith Feder, Ph.D - Member, Board of Directors
Judith Feder, Ph.D - Member, Board of Directors

Judith Feder is a professor of public policy and, from 1999 to 2008, served as dean of what is now the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. A nationally-recognized leader in health policy, Ms. Feder has made her mark on the nation’s health insurance system, through both scholarship and public service. A widely published scholar, Ms. Feder’s health policy research began at the Brookings Institution, continued at the Urban Institute, and, since 1984, flourished at Georgetown University. In the late 1980s, Ms. Feder moved from policy research to policy leadership, actively promoting effective health reform as staff director of the congressional Pepper Commission (chaired by Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV) in 1989-90; Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services in former President Bill Clinton’s first term; a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress (2008-2011) and, today, as an Institute Fellow at the Urban Institute.

Ms. Feder matches her own contributions to policy with her contributions to nurturing emerging policy leaders. As dean from 1999 to 2008, she built Georgetown’s Public Policy Institute into one of the nation’s leading public policy schools, whose graduates participate in policymaking, policy research, and policy politics, not only throughout Washington but throughout the nation and the world.

Ms. Feder is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Public Administration, and the National Academy of Social Insurance; a former chair and board member of AcademyHealth; a member of the Center for American Progress Action Fund Board, the Board of the National Academy of Social Insurance, and the Hamilton Project’s Advisory Council; and a senior advisor to the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. In 2006 and 2008, Ms. Feder was the Democratic nominee for Congress in Virginia’s 10th congressional district. Ms. Feder is a political scientist, with a B.A. from Brandeis University, and a master’s and Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Sean Cavanaugh
Sean Cavanaugh - Member, Board of Directors

Sean Cavanaugh was the Deputy Administrator and Director of the Center for Medicare at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. He was responsible for overseeing the regulation and payment of Medicare fee-for service providers, privately-administered Medicare health plans, and the Medicare prescription drug program. Medicare provides health coverage for over 57 million older and disabled Americans, with an annual budget of over $650 billion.

Before assuming his leadership role at Medicare, Mr. Cavanaugh was the Deputy Director for Programs and Policy in the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. In that capacity, he was responsible for overseeing the development and testing of new payment and service delivery models, including accountable care organizations and medical homes.

Previously, Mr. Cavanaugh was director of health care finance at the United Hospital Fund in New York City. He has also served in senior positions at Lutheran Healthcare (Brooklyn, NY), the New York City Mayor’s Office of Health Insurance Access, and the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission. He started his career on Capitol Hill working for a Representative serving on the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee. He attended the University of Pennsylvania and the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.