Our Executive Team
Rushil D. Desai is IlliniCare’s Chief Operating Officer at IlliniCare Health, where he is accountable for provider network development, core product operations, quality improvement, strategic provider partnerships and medical management. Rushil has dedicated his career to improving the care continuum for patients. He is focused on, spearheading value-based care, achieving operational excellence, and fostering innovation through technology-driven solutions.
Rushil served formerly as the Vice President of Provider Strategy at IlliniCare Health. Rushil was responsible for strengthening IlliniCare Health relationships with key hospital systems, FQHCs and independent primary care physicians through value-based contracting, data sharing and integrated care models.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience from the University of Miami and a master’s in Biomedical Science from Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine. Rushil also received his MBA from Duke University.
Lakshmi Emory, MD, MPH is a board-certified Family Medicine physician and Chief Medical Director of IlliniCare Health, overseeing the provision of healthcare benefits to our members throughout the state of Illinois. Dr. Emory brings nearly two decades of experience caring for patients with multiple chronic conditions with a particular interest in population health, health equity, and the medically underserved. Prior to joining IlliniCare Health, Dr. Emory served as Market Chief Medical Officer of a national managed care geriatrics practice with several centers in Chicago, and served as a primary care physician for patients in the Advocate Medical Group. Dr. Emory received her undergraduate education at Dartmouth College and her medical and public health education from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She completed her residency in RUSH-Illinois Masonic Family Medicine program. Dr. Emory plays a key role in strategic planning, population health, and all the clinical aspects of the health plan.
Mary Cooley is an innovative, results-driven health professional with over 30 years of experience. Mary possesses a consistent record of success in organizational change to accomplish turnarounds, growth, clinical and operational excellence, process redesign and innovation to drive performance improvement. She has held various leadership roles in quality assurance, corporate wellness, benefit management, and health plan leadership. She worked at Priority Health, the health plan arm of Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, MI for 20 years, ending her tenure as Vice President, Care Management and Operations before joining Centene Corporation in October 2017. Mary Cooley transferred to IlliniCare Health earlier this year to take the position of Senior Vice President, Clinical Integration Officer. She has strong hospital and community based clinical experience, in addition to having a large talent for building highly successful strategic programs and partnerships. Mary received her BSN in Nursing from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and obtained her Masters of Science-Management from DePaul University.
Orin McIntosh joined IlliniCare Health in March of 2018 as the Senior Vice President of Finance. He brought his specialized knowledge of finance and operations in managed care, ranging from Fee-For-Service to shared risk/shared savings to partial and global capitation. Prior to joining IlliniCare Health’s senior leadership team, Orin served as Director of Financial Planning & Analysis at Concerto Health from 2012 to 2016. He then continued on to be the Director of Finance and Regional CFO at Humana until early 2018. Orin has overseen multi-billion dollar path-to-value blocks of business for Medicare and Medicaid products. He’s driven value for both Health Plans and Provider Groups by leading teams that oversee medical economics, revenue optimization, financial projections, and market performance. Orin earned his Bachelor’s degree in Economics from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and his Masters in Finance from University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Dr. McGill is a Medical Director, Strategic Provider Partnerships at IlliniCare Health since May 2019. He brings a vast experience as a Physician for 30 years, he has been a Hospital System Quality officer for 17 years, an Alternative Payments officer for 4 years and CIO for 4 years.
Board-certified in internal medicine and infectious disease, Dr. McGill earned his medical degree from Worcester-based University of Massachusetts Medical School. In 1993, he joined Butler Health System's flagship Butler Memorial Hospital as an infectious disease practitioner. He was Butler's CMIO and interim CIO before being named permanent CIO in 2011. His notable achievement includes a very successful first year MSSP 1+ ACO.
Dr. Deborah Johnson is a seasoned healthcare compliance professional with over thirty years of healthcare experience. She has expertise in facilitating effective healthcare compliance programs for managed care organizations, multi-hospital systems, behavioral health and physician practice management, ensuring compliance is a relevant part of the business process. Dr. Johnson is particularly experienced in facilitating government imposed compliance programs on behalf of healthcare organizations for a variety of federal and state regulatory matters, including Corporate Integrity Agreements. As an executive leader, she works collaboratively with the organizations’ executive management to develop long-term compliance strategies.
Dr. Johnson earned a Doctor of Health Administration and Management from Century University, a Masters of Health Administration and Health Policy from Mercer University, and completed a certification in International Healthcare in St. Petersburg, Russia. Additionally, she has a certification in Executive Healthcare Leadership from Cornell University and a certification U.S. Healthcare Compliance from Seton Hall Law School.
She is an active member of the following professional organizations:
- Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA)
- American College of Health Care Executives (ACHE)
- National Association of Health Services Executives (NAHSE)
- National Association of Business and Professional Women (NABPW)
Melanie Fernando joined IlliniCare Health in 2019 as the Vice President of Operational Innovation. Prior to joining the team, Melanie consulted managed care organizations across the nation. Her experience ranges from healthcare quality and cost optimization to network development strategy and operational improvement. Melanie is originally from Chicago and is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago. She is also the cofounder of a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the homeless in the Chicagoland community.
Sally Szumlas RN MS, MPH is a board-certified clinical nurse executive with more than 25 years of experience in management and organizational development, with expertise in restructuring and performance improvement. Prior to joining IlliniCare Health, she was Chief Operating Officer at the American Osteopathic Association. She also served as Vice President of Population Health and Quality for Family Health Network, an NCQA accredited, not-for-profit managed care HMO network serving over 240,000 Illinoisans in Medicaid and Medicare programs. There she led health plan initiatives that significantly improved member access for perinatal care, early childhood preventive health, diabetes and asthma care outcomes, with multi-percentile improvement in HEDIS and overall STARS performance. Sally previously held progressive leadership roles in operations and quality at Northwestern Medicine and University of Chicago Medicine. She’s presented widely on quality improvement and population health initiatives, in addition to being published in Nurse Leader and the Joint Commission Journal of Quality and Patient Safety. Sally holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Northwestern University, a Master's Degree in Nursing Administration and a Master’s Degree in Public Health from DePaul University. Sally is currently pursuing her doctorate in Transformational Leadership at Rush University College of Nursing.
Tangela Feemster is the Vice President of Legislative & Government Relations. Tangela previously led legislative and regulatory efforts on behalf of Express Scripts Holding, its subsidiaries and its clients.
Veronika E. Mix joined IlliniCare Health in August of 2018 as Vice President of Community Relations and Marketing. With over 13 years in the healthcare industry, Veronika has been passionately striving to improve community development initiatives while creating business and membership growth opportunities. Coming from our sister plan, Peach State Health Plan, as Director of Community Relations, Veronika has demonstrated excellent strategy and implementation of programs to promote ongoing marketing efforts benefiting company and community awareness.
In previous positions, Veronika was responsible for executing solutions-driven marketing and sales outreach programs, identifying strengthsCommunity Relations and Marketing and weaknesses within membership reports, cultivating relationships with community advocacy organizations, and overseeing community outreach events. Veronika received her MBA in Marketing from Strayer University. She continues to be at the forefront of success in Community Relations and Marketing for IlliniCare Health.