Who's at the Table: Coalition Board Members

at the tableNew Mexico Coalition for Healthcare Value is an employer-led, multi-stakeholder, nonprofit group.

The Coalition developed as a positive result of the work of the former New Mexico Coalition for Healthcare Quality, an initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) program and HealthInsight New Mexico, that operated in Albuquerque and surrounding three counties.

"We evolved from a nationally funded grant program to a coalition that is financed and operated by those who pay for care, provide care and receive care. We've made this leap through member acknowledgement of past achievements, from working together as a collaborative group,  and we now share a vision for future success because of those collaborative efforts," said Mark Saiz, the former chair of New Mexico Coalition for Healthcare Value.

"As members of the former NM Coalition for Healthcare Quality, we worked together, learned important lessons and built a community of trust. The New Mexico Coalition for Healthcare Value, our new partnership, is ready to tackle our overall goals of better health, better care, transparency and healthcare cost reform for all New Mexicans," Saiz said.

Saiz said New Mexico Coalition for Healthcare Value is extending an open invitation to other employers, clinicians, health plans, and community resources to join and get involved in helping reach its goals.

Board of Directors:

If you are interesting in being part of the Coalition: Apply Online


chavez eErnestine Chavez

Ernestine Chavez is the deputy director for the New Mexico Public Schools Insurance Authority (NMPSIA), which offers quality employee benefit and risk coverages to participating public school districts, post-secondary educational entities, charter schools, school board members and public school employees.

Ms. Chavez oversees all functions of the Benefits Division, which is comprised of an annual $320 million operating budget, and covers approximately 52,000 medical lives.  She has been with NMPSIA for 22 years. 

Prior to working for NMPSIA, Ms. Chavez worked for the Educator Licensure Bureau of the New Mexico Public Education Department and the Las Cruces Public Schools.

dallas veraVera Dallas

Vera Dallas is the senior director of employee benefits for the Albuquerque Public Schools. It is one of the largest school districts in the U.S. and the largest in the state of New Mexico with more than 88,000 students in 142 schools and 14,000 employees.

Dallas manages the design, implementation and administration of district-wide employee group health insurance and capital accumulation benefit plans. She has more than 20 years of professional experience in human resources administration with an emphasis in employee benefits consulting and benefits administration for both mid-sized and large employer groups.

Prior to joining Albuquerque Public Schools in November of 2002, Vera was employed by HR Logic) as a client consultant and benefits manager in the western region Albuquerque office. She also worked as a benefits analyst for Mercer Human Resource Consulting.


Dye Jeff Oct 2007 smJeff Dye

Jeff Dye, president and CEO of the New Mexico Hospital Association, is a new member of the New Mexico Coalition for Healthcare Value board of directors.

Representing 45 member hospitals across the state, Dye is chairman of the Board of Hospital Services Corporation.

For the past 26 years, he has worked in small and rural hospital settings and has broad experience in community health planning, hospital operations, legislative initiatives and state and national hospital association governance.

For 18 years he was administrator of Socorro General Hospital, and has also filled administrative roles in Lovington and Alamogordo, N.M. as well as in Laramie, Wyo.

He holds an MBA from the University of New Mexico. He became a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives in 2007 and achieved the Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential in 2008.

Since joining the Association in 2004, Mr. Dye has served on numerous boards and taskforces including:

  • Governor's Insure New Mexico! Council
  • Governor's Trauma System Task Force co-chair
  • Trauma System Fund Authority member and chair
  • New Mexico Center for Nursing Excellence board
  • Health Insight New Mexico board
  • LCF Research board
  • Nurse Advice NM advisory committee
  • N.M. Donor Services advisory committee

Mr. Dye was honored as a "Friend of Nursing" at the Nursing Excellence Awards in 2007


brandon fryerBrandon Fryar

Brandon Fryar is the president of Presbyterian Health Plan.

With 20 years of experience, Fryar leads New Mexico’s largest locally owned health plan that provides healthcare coverage to 466,000 members statewide. The health plan serves members in commercial, Medicare and managed Medicaid plans throughout the state.

Fryar joined Presbyterian as vice president of Finance and Chief Financial Officer of Presbyterian Health Plan in February 2014. Prior to joining Presbyterian, he was a partner at Moss Adams LLP, where he led the healthcare industry practice for the southwest.

Born and raised in Reserve, N.M., he earned his bachelor’s degree in Accounting from New Mexico State University. He is a Certified Public Accountant and member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Fryar is actively involved in a variety of organizations including: the New Mexico Medical Insurance Pool Transition Advisory Committee; New Mexico State University Accounting Advisory Council; Health Plan Alliance Finance Committee and the Healthcare Financial Management Association.


romero hart maryMary Romero Hart

Mary Romero Hart is the senior manager of Total Rewards for Sandia National Laboratories.  She has approximately 30 years of progressive HR management including talent acquisition, talent management, labor bargaining, employee benefits, HR policy, performance management, compensation, training and development, wellness programs, occupational medicine, on-site clinical services, procurement, budget/financial management, and HRIS project management.

As HBE senior manager at Sandia National Laboratories, she was responsible for five departments and accountable for an approximately $125M budget. Her areas of responsibility included providing a multitude of programs and services supporting Sandia’s strategic objectives.  Areas include: employee and retiree health care benefits, on-site clinical and wellness/prevention programs for employees, absence management, time off policies, retirement savings, and cafeteria service, other required benefits programs, and serves as center communications manager.

Prior to joining Sandia 10 years ago, she worked in various HR management roles for large employers in the Albuquerque community such as BDM, University of New Mexico Hospital, MCI, and Albuquerque Public Schools. 

She has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Organizational Psychology.  She also holds a master’s degree in Organizational Development.

Neil Kueffer

Neil Kueffer is the director of Product Development and Healthcare Reform with New Mexico Retiree Health Care Authority (NMRHCA). NMRHCA is a self-insured group that provides health insurance to more than 60,000 retired educators and public employees. Kueffer is responsible for plan-design recommendations, implementation of benefit programs, review and research of best practices, wellness programs, and serves as the chief procurement officer for the agency.

Kueffer was chief procurement officer for the Interagency Benefits Advisory Committee (IBAC) an organization that consists of NMRHCA, New Mexico Public School Insurance Authority, Albuquerque Public Schools, and State of New Mexico. IBAC collectively insures some 200,000 New Mexicans.

Previously, Kueffer has worked with the benefit programs administered by the City of Albuquerque, University of New Mexico, Central New Mexico Community College and the State of New Mexico. In these roles, he assisted in decision-making processes involving budgets that exceeded $300 million.

A native of Las Vegas, N.M., Kueffer attended New Mexico Highlands University, where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.


saiz markMark A. Saiz, CGBA

Mark Saiz is the insurance and benefits manager for the City of Albuquerque group health plan.

He is responsible for the procurement, implementation and administration of a group health plan covering more than 19,000 people. Saiz has worked in the insurance industry since 1990, working in various private sector insurance organizations and with the State of New Mexico in charge of its group health plan.

Saiz is the president of the national board of directors for the State and Local Government Benefits Association (SALGBA). He is the chair of the New Mexico Coalition for Healthcare Value, is a representative on the Presbyterian Health Plan Consumer Advisory Board and was previously on the Presbyterian Board Quality Committee and the New Mexico Medical Insurance Pool.


torres kikoF. Kiko Torres, MD

F. Kiko Torres, MD, is the medical director of Primary Care for New Mexico Health Connections.  

Dr. Torres practiced Family Medicine in various settings over the last 15 years including with Presbyterian Medical Group, as assistant professor at the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of New Mexico, and most recently as medical director of First Nations Community Health Center.  

He attended Williams College in Massachusetts and then returned to New Mexico to attend the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. He is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and completed his residency training at the Northern New Mexico Family Medicine Program in Santa Fe.  Dr. Torres has been with New Mexico Health Connections, a non-profit, CO-OP health plan for the last two years.


Vavruska Gail 120Gail Vavruska-Marcum

Gail Vavruska-Marcum, CPA, CIDA, is the director for Executive Compensation, Benefits and Staffing at PNM Resources. She has been with them for 14 years.

Vavruska-Marcum has a business degree from Baldwin-Wallace College. She is a certified public accountant and a certified investments derivative auditor.

Her background includes work with several companies in the areas of corporate financial management, training, auditing, public accounting and human resources, including Avila Retail Development &Management, Lange-Wilcox & Associates and Rick Johnson & Company.

Vavruska-Marcum is affiliated with the UNM STEM Council. She is a 2002 graduate of Leadership Albuquerque.


weinbar margyMargy Wienbar

Margy Wienbar is the executive director of HealthInsight New Mexico.

Wienbar has spent nearly 30 years to improving health and healthcare in New Mexico. Her background in health education led her to investigating the underlying causes of poor health and fostered a desire to mitigate these causes through systematic approaches including effective data utilization, policy development and a focus on the social determinants of health.  She has led and collaborated on complex quality improvement projects for various parts of the health care system including health plans and public health. 

From 2005- 2012,  Wienbar  was the director for a six-county region and oversaw the administration for 17 local public health offices and the related programs that served more than 50 percent of the state's population.  She was a founding member and co-chair of the New Mexico Immunization Coalition and she was on the board and was president of the New Mexico Public Health Association.  She is currently on the Board of the Regional Institute for Health and Environmental Leadership, an organization dedicated to developing emerging leaders. 

Wienbar holds a master's degree in Community Health and a bachelor's degree in Education with a double major in English and Health from the University of Minnesota.

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