Committed to innovation, quality and efficiency, HealthFirst’s team has
a strong combination of executive experience and industry knowledge.


Paula has served as HealthFirst’s CEO since 2011, and she has also been a vice president with ETMC Regional Healthcare System for nearly 20 years. Paula is a fellow with the American College of Healthcare Executives and frequently speaks on healthcare technology, workforce development, and legislative topics.

She holds a PhD in organizational development and change from the College of Business and Technology at The University of Texas at Tyler and a master’s in business administration from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio.


Cindy is responsible for the overall operation of HealthFirst, including strategy, business development, customer success and product development. She joined HealthFirst in 2017 and has extensive experience in marketing, operations, sales, HR and IT, and held executive roles at Mentoring Minds and Leadership Tyler.

Cindy earned an Executive MBA from Texas A&M University and holds her Group 1 license.



Director, Networks & Managed Care

Kym oversees our relationships with all of our provider networks and manages the operations of AccessDirect Platinum, our proprietary network in East Texas.

She has 25 years of progressive experience in the healthcare industry and has a deep understanding of managed care and the self-funded insurance industry. Kym has been with HealthFirst since 1996, in a variety of roles, with responsibilities including HMO, marketing, Medicare HMO and systems.


Director of Account Management

Denise leads our team of account managers and focuses on ensuring that each client receives stellar support, guidance, and customer service. She joined HealthFirst in 2008 as an account executive, managing some of our largest employer groups.

Denise has more than 16 years of progressive experience in the self-funded insurance industry, having previously held roles at PPO networks, a claims software company and a large international consulting firm. She earned her BBA in business management from Sam Houston State University.


Director, Health Management Services

Jolene joined HealthFirst in 2004 to manage services that directly affect the health of our plan participants. Her team of registered nurses works closely with members and performs case management, utilization management, disease management, and health coaching. She also oversees our population risk management program, which helps members at risk of developing a serious health problem control their conditions.

A registered nurse, Jolene has more than 30 years of experience in the healthcare industry, including hospitals and HMOs. Jolene received a BS degree from East Texas State University and an MS in healthcare administration from Texas Woman’s University.


Director of Underwriting and Analytics

Kevin oversees all RFP and RFQ responses and manages the stop loss process, including marketing, placement, and claims. As a self-professed “data junkie,” Kevin has a deep understanding of risk control, cash flow improvement, plan design, and value-based benefits and wellness programs.

He uses these skills to help clients create effective plans that use their resources wisely. Kevin joined HealthFirst in 1998. He has more than 25 years of experience in the TPA industry, and got his start in the field while attending the University of Houston.