Our leadership team combines experience across the health care spectrum and a track record of building disruptive companies.
Gene has a 30+ year career building health care businesses, focusing on health services companies, health plans, provider organizations and most recently payment reform and value-based care initiatives. Gene managed home health care and home IV therapy businesses, was chief operating officer of OptiCare Eye Health and was president and chief development officer of a multi-state physician home visit company that was sold to CIGNA.
In the health plan sector, he built the Medicare Advantage business from startup to an $850 million unit of Oxford Health Plans in the CT/NY/NJ market, was CEO of Citrus HealthCare in Tampa in a turnaround/ownership transition, ran the Medicare Advantage plan for HealthNet of the Northeast, built Chronic Special Needs Plans for Aveta and ran the nationwide 24-hour nurse line for IntraCorp/CIGNA HealthCare. From 2013 to 2018, Gene led the post-acute business for Remedy Partners, the largest player in the CMS Bundled Payment for Care Improvement program, generating substantial savings for Medicare, surpluses for SNF partners and returns for investors.
Gene has been on the ReferWell Board since 2015 and in his role as executive chairman, works on behalf of the Board with the CEO and his team to develop significant payer relationships and key strategic partnerships to maximize enterprise value. Gene holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Cornell University and Masters in the Management of Technology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Chief Executive Officer
Prior to joining ReferWell, Vytas was CEO and co-founder of CMC. He built that business to include top utilities, credit card, real estate and student lender clients in North America, Europe and Australia.
Vytas started his career with IBM in various sales and product development management roles, was president and chief operating officer of health information technology, was senior vice president at Sky Alland Marketing and president/CEO at The Data Group and was vice president/general manager of Americas operations for Frontec AMT. Vytas co-founded Adeptra, Inc. (purchased by FairIsaac Corp in 2012) as well as CMC. Vytas holds an Bachelor of Arts in Economics with high honors from Princeton University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
Jeff Bander, MD
Chief Medical Officer & Founder
Dr. Jeff Bander is an innovative and successful chief of cardiology at Mount Sinai West. Dr. Bander is acutely attuned to his patients’ needs and has built several successful offices in three New York City boroughs as a result of the growing demand for his medical care. He has brought cutting edge and cloud-based technology to his offices, which has enabled him to improve patient care and drive efficiencies for his staff. Jeff holds a BS from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MD from Harvard University.
Chief Revenue Officer
As ReferWell’s Chief Revenue Officer, Chad Baugh oversees all revenue-generating activities for the company, including sales, marketing, product pricing and customer strategy. His more than 20-year career in health care includes, most recently, revenue management at Teladoc Health, where he delivered triple digit revenue growth within the large and midsize health plan market segment.
Chad served as general manager, complex case management, for Best Doctors prior to Teladoc Health’s acquisition of the company in 2017. At Best Doctors, he had P&L responsibility including product design, sales, account management, finance, legal and operations. He has served in leadership roles at Edifecs, Allscripts, dbMotion and GE Healthcare.
Chad earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Phoenix and an MBA in Strategy, Finance and Entrepreneurship from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
He is a Veteran of the United States Marine Corps.
Nir Z. Pengas
Chief Technology Officer
Prior to joining ReferWell, Nir was the co-founder and chief technology officer at OccumHealth, a micro-intervention monitoring and validation technology for the home setting with a specific focus on value-based health care in the US. Nir has an extensive background in health care technology.
He served as vice president of research and development at Remedy Partners, the largest Awardee Convener in the CMS Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Initiative, was vice president of engineering for Remedy Systems (Acquired 2013) and served as the interim chief technology officer at Tomorrow Networks (acquired by Merck Pharmaceuticals).
Nir’s robust skillset as a health care technologist have helped him win multiple product innovations awards including the EHR accessibility challenge with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and the Mobile Clinician Voice Challenge with Nuance.
Chief Financial Officer
In his role as Chief Financial Officer, David oversees all finance-related activities for ReferWell, including FP&A, accounting, treasury, forecasting and Board reporting. Working closely with the Sales, Operations and Development teams, he is creating real-time dashboards to measure and monitor performance and is deeply attentive to translating work outcomes to the P&L.
Prior to joining the company, David held a variety of finance and operations roles with increased responsibility at KPMG, Harman International Industries and Cognizant Technology Solutions. He has lived and worked in four countries and three continents through the course of his career.
David earned his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Boston College and an MBA from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and is an inactive CPA in Massachusetts.
For the past 35 years, Dan has helped insurers find new strategies for managing total cost of care, from his time as vice president of finance at Cigna and then as chief financial officer at Aetna, overseeing several key acquisitions.
He was CEO and president of Magellan Health, one of the nation’s leading providers of behavioral health and employee assistance programs. He guided Health Advocate’s growth from a startup to an industry-leading health care advocacy and assistance company serving 11,500 clients and 40 million members. After it was acquired by West Corporation, Dan stayed on as co-president of the health advocate division.
He applies his vast expertise to help ReferWell deploy a unique solution that balances payers’ and providers’ often conflicting needs through automated referral management that delivers substantial benefits to payers, providers and patients alike. Dan graduated with honors with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Notre Dame and was a licensed CPA in Florida and Connecticut.
Stephen has over 20 years of principal investing experience within both public and private equities as well as debt markets. Stephen is a Co-founder and Managing Partner of Viewside Capital Partners, a private equity platform focused on making growth equity investments within the healthcare technology and service sectors.
Prior to co-founding Viewside, Stephen was the Chief Investment Officer of a large, single-family office that focuses on private, direct equity investments in a wide variety of industries and sectors with involvement ranging from Lead and Co-Lead to passive co-investments across all life-cycle stages from Seed to Pre-IPO rounds.
Before that, he was the VP of Finance and Business Development for Caelus Energy, an Apollo Global Management portfolio company and Caelus Energy Asia, a TPG portfolio company. Prior to joining Caelus, Stephen was a Portfolio Manager for WhiteHorse Capital Partners managing CLOs and debt investments as well as a distressed debt portfolio.
Early in his career, Stephen worked at The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) where he managed mid-cap public equity portfolios totaling approximately $1.6 billion AUM and at Dain, Rauscher, Wessels in the investment banking group.
Stephen graduated from Southern Methodist University with a BBA in Finance and the University of Texas with an MBA. Stephen is a CFA Charterholder.
Stephen is currently a member of the board of directors for Resilience Lab, ReferWell, and Real Time Medical Systems.
Chief of Staff
Before joining ReferWell, she was the director of HR and finance at Setplex, an IPTV/OTT platform solutions company. There, Michelle was responsible for all behind-the-scenes operations, including HR and accounting, and helped grow the company with many successful hires.
She previously held positions as a business manager for JG Blackbook of Travel, finance director for a sports sponsorship research company and budget supervisor at the soap opera As the World Turns.
Michelle earned a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management, with a concentration in Business Management, from Boston University, and attended Pace University’s MBA program. She is a member of the Society of Human Resource Management.
Dan has 20 years of experience as a business executive, entrepreneur and investor active in tech-enabled enterprises in the health care services sector. He is currently a partner at Health Catalyst Capital (HCC), a health care-focused VC fund.
Dan joined HCC after a successful exit at ArcWell Medical, a New York-based provider of post-acute and long-term care physician services that he founded, ran and sold to IPC Healthcare (NASDAQ:IPCM) in 2015. Before founding ArcWell, Dan in 1996 co-founded Allegiance Health, a physician network providing medical claims-handling services to the insurance industry. After leading Allegiance Health for eight years, in 2004 Dan and his partners sold that organization to a New Jersey-based public company, where he served for two years as executive vice president, managing a division providing similar services nationally.
Before co-founding Allegiance Health, Dan spent 13 years in the investment banking industry, largely at Salomon Brothers (now part of Citigroup). Prior to his investment banking career, Dan practiced law with Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York City. Dan is currently chairman of the board of directors of Open Door Medical Center, a provider of primary health care and human services to underserved individuals in Westchester County, New York, and is a volunteer advisor of recent college graduates through the Harvard Alumni Association.
He has recently retired as a member of the board of directors of Summit Preparatory School in Kalispell, Montana, and is a former member of the North London Board of the Prince’s Youth Business Trust, an organization providing mentorship for young entrepreneurs in the United Kingdom. Dan graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was an editor of the Virginia Law Review, and Harvard University.
Head of Marketing
As the Head of Marketing at ReferWell, Rich is responsible for creating and accelerating the company’s overall marketing strategy and brand recognition. He is a veteran marketing leader bringing 20 years of experience in healthcare, focusing on building brands and pipeline growth for B2B healthcare tech companies.
Over the years, Rich has built and led marketing teams focusing on developing brand stories around customer journeys and engaging human-centric experiences across digital and in-person landscapes. Most recently, Rich served as the marketing leader at Diameter Health. Leading the initiative to establish a new brand identity, a competitive positioning, and a platform for growth, he introduced a proprietary, value-added process for normalizing and optimizing clinical data as “Upcycling Data.” Also implementing a high-value content strategy coupled with a hyper-targeted digital strategy, the company saw a 4x revenue growth and 3x employee growth, resulting in a successful acquisition.
Rich holds a B.A. in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Connecticut and various marketing certifications and accreditations. Additionally, Rich is an outdoors enthusiast, avid runner, hiker, biker, and musician. In turn, creating the headspace to conquer the daily challenges of leading marketing operations that fuel the sales pipeline.
Chief Customer Officer
As Chief Customer Officer, Janine Wakim is keenly focused on the success and satisfaction of ReferWell’s customers. Janine leads the team that works with some of the largest healthcare systems and payers in the United States through onboarding to growth to ongoing support.
She is an operations leader with more than 20 years of experience in strategic planning and process improvement, having led client experience and business analytics teams. At Gartner, she served as the lead to build the offshore center of excellence for Business Analysis to provide insights into the Research and Advisory business to grow footprint and retain client base. She also served in leadership roles at Datto and Potoo Solutions.
Janine earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Lehigh University, an MBA from Columbia Business School, and an MPH in Hospital Administration from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.