Senior Leadership Team
Dr. Martin Hickey, Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Hickey is Chief Executive Officer of New Mexico Health Connections. Before returning to New Mexico to lead our organization, he was Managing Director of Navigant Consulting, where his practice focused on clinical integration, physician strategy, Patient-Centered Medical Homes, ambulatory care management, and Accountable Care Organization development. Prior to joining Navigant, Dr. Hickey was the first President/CEO of Alegent Health Clinic in Omaha, Nebraska. In that role, he built a large multi-specialty group practice for a nine-hospital health system in Nebraska and Iowa. Before joining Alegent, he served as Senior Vice President of Health Care Affairs at Excellus Blue Cross in Upstate New York. But his roots are in New Mexico, where he served as President and CEO of Lovelace Health Systems in Albuquerque from 1997-2002. Dr. Hickey began his career on the Navajo reservation in the Indian Health Service. He moved on to the VA in Albuquerque and then to the University of New Mexico. During that time, he set up pilot rural health programs, was an associate professor of internal medicine, developed an office of managed care contracting, and served as Medical Director of University Physician Associates, the faculty practice. Dr. Hickey is a graduate of the Rush Medical College in Chicago. He also earned his master’s degree in administrative medicine from the University of Wisconsin, and completed a residency in primary care internal medicine at the University of Rochester.
Anne Brennan Sapon, Chief Operating Officer
Anne Brennan Sapon, New Mexico Health Connections’ Chief Operating Officer, has more than 20 years of healthcare experience managing and leading a variety of strategic initiatives. Prior to joining NMHC, Ms. Sapon was an independent healthcare consultant providing support in business planning, strategic planning, and operations integration for healthcare companies. Before that, she was Vice President of Operations with Lovelace Health Plan, Transformation Officer with CIGNA Healthcare, and Director of Member Services with Lovelace Health Plan. Ms. Sapon holds a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of New Mexico and is active in the community as a board member with the South Central National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Sandia Preparatory School.
Dr. Mark Epstein, Chief Medical Officer
Prior to joining New Mexico Health Connections as Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Epstein served at Presbyterian Healthcare Services as Medical Director of the Adult Medical Specialty Service Line and as Associate Medical Director for Specialty Care for Presbyterian Medical Group. In these roles, Dr. Epstein focused on the development of systematic approaches to clinical integration, the implementation of team-based care models in the hospital and ambulatory care settings, and physician engagement and compensation strategies – all to improve quality and service while reducing costs. Dr. Epstein also served as Medical Director for Presbyterian’s Urgent Care Clinics from 2006-2008 and as Medical Director of Lovelace Health Systems’ Emergency Services, overseeing emergency care delivery at four emergency departments in the Albuquerque area from 2000-2004. Dr. Epstein has served on the Board of Directors for Albuquerque Ambulance Services from 2000-2012 and currently serves on the Advisory Board for Envision New Mexico, a child-health quality improvement organization. Dr. Epstein is an emergency physician, having earned an undergraduate degree in human biology from Stanford University and a medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine. He completed his residency in emergency medicine at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center in 1995. Dr. Epstein also earned his MBA from the University of Tennessee’s Physician Executive MBA program in 2007, where he was honored as “Outstanding Physician Leader.”
Angela Vigil, Chief Compliance and Administrative Officer
Angela Vigil is a Certified Compliance Officer who brings more than 25 years of experience in the health care/insurance industry at both the regulatory and private-industry levels. Ms. Vigil oversees all aspects of New Mexico Health Connections’ regulatory and compliance initiatives. She began her career at an independent insurance agency in northern New Mexico and later went to work for the New Mexico Department of Insurance. Ms. Vigil was Compliance Officer for Presbyterian Healthcare System in Albuquerque and later worked as Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Corporate Compliance Officer for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico. During her career, she has also provided regulatory consulting services to the New Mexico Department of Health, Lovelace Health System, and the New Mexico Legislative Council Service. Prior to joining New Mexico Health Connections, Ms. Vigil was the President and Chief Executive Officer for RCI, Inc., now known as LifeROOTS, a company serving the needs of people with disabilities. She holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in business administration from the University of Phoenix.
Richard (Ric) Hilliard, Chief Information Officer
Richard (Ric) Hilliard serves as New Mexico Health Connections’ Chief Information Officer, overseeing IT and web operations. Prior to joining NMHC, Mr. Hilliard was Manager of Internal Automation at Presbyterian Health Plan, where he was responsible for the direction and management of the Application Software Development department in support of Health Plan administration operations. Before joining Presbyterian, he was Vice President and Chief Information Officer at National Health Insurance Company, a health/life insurance company located in Dallas/Fort Worth, where he was responsible for managing all information technology operations in support of an individual health insurance plan base of up to 50,000 members and a $900 million block of annuity policies. Mr. Hilliard has more than 25 years of IT management experience with a proven track record of developing innovative and cost-effective technical solutions aligned with business objectives.
Nathan Johns, Chief Financial Officer
New Mexico Health Connections Chief Financial Officer Nathan Johns has an extensive background in finance and leadership that spans close to two decades. Prior to joining NMHC, he served as the President and Chief Financial Officer for Arches Health Plan, a non-profit, consumer-operated and oriented health plan in Utah, where he built the accounting, finance, human resources, and office management teams. In addition to being fully conversant with the Affordable Care Act and all of its regulations and requirements, Johns also has past experience working with physicians and physician organizations to improve operational metrics and profitability, as well as with large corporations in areas of capital spending and financial analysis. Johns received his bachelor of science degree in accounting from Brigham Young University in Hawaii.