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Leadership

Starting his career in the Navy, Steve served as a Naval Aviator and a Supply Officer spanning seven duty stations and two wars. After serving his country for nine years, Steve transitioned to the civilian world where he began his career in health care leadership.

Most recently, Steve served as the President & CEO for AMITA Adventist Medical Center in Hinsdale, Illinois. His relentless focus on building a quality and patient-centric culture helped the hospital achieve a CMS 5-Star designation and a State of Illinois top 15 hospital rating. In this role, Steve oversaw all local strategic and operational functions and was responsible for ensuring corporate shared services met local needs.

Steve also served as the Chief Operations Officer and Interim President for Providence Healthcare Network in Waco, Texas, and as the Director for Performance Improvement, Director of Supply Chain and Administrator of Support Services at multiple Kaiser Permanente locations in California.

Steve earned an MBA from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) and an American Society for Quality (ASQ) certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. Throughout his career, Steve has proudly served on many community-based boards and foundations.

Erik Helms serves Buckeye Health Plan as the Chief Performance Officer. Helms is responsible for quality improvement, pharmacy, health economics and data analytics, strengthening Buckeye’s ability to be more impactful in quality and health delivery results.

Helms is an accomplished and versatile healthcare executive with more than 20 years of leadership at a number of successful health plans. Before joining Buckeye, Helms served as Vice President of Provider Network and Medical Economics at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island.

Helms holds a bachelor’s degree in public and international policy and a master’s degree in epidemiology from Michigan State University.

Natalie Lukaszewicz serves Buckeye Health Plan as the Vice President of Network Development and Contracting. Natalie has more than thirty years of network management experience in both the health plan and health system arena. She is a key leader in developing and executing network growth and financial strategy. Natalie is an accomplished network executive with more than 15 years of leadership at several successful health plans.

Before joining Buckeye she was the Vice President, Network Performance at Priority Health Plan in Michigan.

Natalie attended University of Central Florida in the study of Health Services Management and Case Western Reserve University for Executive Management and Leadership.

Lori Mulichak, RN, MHA, FACHE serves Buckeye Health Plan as the Vice President of Medical Management. Mulichak is responsible for clinical operations including case management, utilization management and prior authorization for the following programs: Covered Families and Children (CFC), Aged, Blind and Disabled (ABD), Children with Special Health Care Needs, Medicaid Expansion, MyCare Ohio, Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan, and Marketplace.

Mulichak has had diverse senior level executive responsibility for healthcare operations. Before joining Buckeye, she was Vice President of Clinical Operations for Care Support of America in Albany, New York. Mulichak also held leadership positions at American Health Holding, Inc., Fresenius Medical Care and OhioHealth.

Mulichak earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and nursing from Youngstown State University, and a Master of Health Administration from The Ohio State University. Mulichak’s professional certifications include the following designations: Fellow in American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE), Certified SPIN Instructor (STAR 3), and Certified Reaction Cycling Instructor.

Eric Poklar serves as the key liaison with state legislators and policy makers for Buckeye Health Plan. In addition, he is responsible for leading the company’s marketing strategy to enhance communication with plan members and internal and external stakeholders.

Prior to joining Buckeye Health Plan, Poklar served as director of legislative affairs for Governor John R. Kasich and as the director of legislative affairs and communications for Governor Kasich’s Office of Health Transformation.

His extensive background in government affairs includes posts as the director of legislative affairs for Governor Bob Taft and as the director of legislative affairs for the Ohio Department of Mental Health and the Ohio Department of Public Safety. In addition, Poklar has operated his own government affairs, marketing and communications firm. He began his career as an aide to state Sen. Dick Schafrath.

Poklar graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism.

Andrew Reitz joined Buckeye Health Plan as the Vice President of Compliance. As the Senior Executive for Compliance, Andy is a key leader responsible for advising the Senior Executive Leadership Team on regulatory, compliance, and legal matters. 

Before joining Buckeye, he served as an Associate General Counsel for the CareSource Management Group in Dayton, Ohio. His extensive legal background also includes previous positions as an attorney for Faruki Ireland & Cox P.L.L and as a contract lawyer for Seisint, a LexisNexis Company.

Andy holds a Bachelor’s degree from Wabash College and received his Law degree from Indiana University School of Law – Bloomington.

Hagy Wegener joined Buckeye Health Plan as the Vice President of Quality Improvement. Hagy has more than ten years of quality improvement experience in the healthcare sector. She is a key leader in improving Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) scores as well as Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS). Wegener brings leadership skills and experience to support that continue to enhance Buckeye’s quality initiatives.

Before joining Buckeye she was responsible for Quality Improvement at Molina Health Plan in Michigan and Ohio.

Wegener earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Ursuline College, and a master’s degree in community services and human services from John Carroll University.

Christian Miller joined Buckeye as Senior Vice President of Finance. Miller previously worked for Centene Corporation, where he served as Vice President of strategic planning and forecasting for specialized markets.

He is a proven strategic leader who is strong on developing people and systems. Christian has more than 20 years of financial and operational leadership experience with a leading health insurance company in New York, and a physician network development company in Florida and New York. 

Christian received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Mathematics from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Potsdam, and is a PhD candidate in Mathematics and MA candidate in Economics at SUNY at Buffalo. He graduated from Harvard Business School’s executive education program in organizational change.
 

Jay Scherler serves Buckeye Health Plan as the Senior Vice President of Operations. Jay brings more than 30 years of leadership experience in hospital administration and operations. He joins us from Providence Healthcare Network/Ascension Technologies, Waco, Texas, where he served as Vice President, Finance and Chief Information Officer. His responsibilities included managing the Health Ministry’s technology vision including operations, finance, and technology procurement and implementation, while serving as the Health Ministry’s service and delivery escalation point.

Jay also served as the Vice President of Finance at Providence with responsibility for Business Services, Patient Access, Health Information Management, Communications, Facilities, Plant Maintenance, Bio-Med, Security, Receiving, Laundry and Central Supply. He was also the safety officer and chair of Environment of Care, and Supply Chain.

He holds a master’s degree in business administration from Baylor University and a bachelor’s of science degree from Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma. In service to his local community, Jay was a member of the Cameron Park Zoo Board, Heart of Texas Fair and Rodeo Board, and St. Alban’s School Board.

Jay and his wife, Krista, have a son and seven rescue dogs. He enjoys time with family, travel, yardwork and managing rental properties. A native of Oklahoma, Jay operated a cattle ranch and farm in Texas earlier in life.

Dr. Brad Lucas joined the Buckeye Medical Affairs team in 2005 and is currently serving as the interim Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Lucas is a board certified OB/GYN with 14 years of executive level managed care experience who is committed to bringing the strengths of payers and providers together to deliver efficient and effective healthcare. His expertise is critical to the development and implementation of programs that improve clinical outcomes and ensure high quality care across all medical conditions for Buckeye members. Before joining Buckeye Health Plan, Dr. Lucas ran a large OB/GYN practice.

Dr. Lucas received his Medical Doctorate from the Medical College of Ohio and his Masters of Business Administration from Baldwin Wallace University. He conducted his OB/GYN Residency at John Hopkins University and completed a fellowship through the American College of Obstretics and Gynecology. 

He currently sits on the board of the American Diabetes Association of Ohio and volunteers his time serving as an Executive Committee Member of the Ohio Collaborative to Prevent Infant Mortality (OCPIM), a National Advisory Council Member of the Pathways Community Hub Institute and a Coding and Reimbursement Committee Member of the Society of Fetal Medicine.