Friday Health shakes up its management team
IN a management shakeup, Friday Health Plans replaced CEO Sal Gentile as the company said it was working through “a number of changes as a result of exiting the Texas market.”
Beth Bierbower, who is chair of the Friday Health Board of Directors and a former Humana executive, stepped into the CEO role.
“As Friday enters its next phase of maturity, the company requires leadership with the capabilities that can help steer its future success. Beth has more than 30 years of proven executive-level leadership experience in the health insurance industry, making her a great fit to drive scale and spearhead growth at Friday,” said Norm Alpert, Friday Board member and founding partner, president and co-head of investments at Vestar Capital Partners.
“I look forward to building on Friday’s efforts to improve our performance and success over the long term,” said Bierbower. “I believe we can build on our industry-leading customer service to deliver our promise of providing our members simple, affordable care with a great customer experience.”
Why it matters
Friday Health has added around 200 employees in Alamosa since it purchased Colorado Choice Health plans in 2017. Now with around 400 employees, its downtown workforce has helped reposition Alamosa and its Main Street endeavors.
“Friday Health is committed to keeping our operations in Alamosa,” Tracy Faigin, chief marketing and experience officer for Friday Health told Alamosa Citizen in an email exchange on Saturday. “We employ about 400 employees at the Main Street building and a few other locations. We are still moving forward with construction on the new parking garage but the new building is on hold for a year.”
Friday had purchased the old Tim’s Auto, tore it down and had been planning to build a new office along San Juan at Sixth Street. That project is now on hold. It also purchased nearly two acres of railroad property for a new parking lot with 200 spaces. According to both Faigin and Alamosa Development Services Director Rachel Baird, the parking lot will be developed in 2023.
Bierbower notified employees of the leadership changes in an email Friday: “Over the last few months, Friday Health has undergone a number of changes as a result of exiting the Texas market,” Bierbower wrote. “In the near-term, we will focus our efforts on five states: Colorado, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Georgia and Nevada.”
Gentile and his business partner, Dave Pinkert, started Friday Health Plans in 2015 following passage of the Affordable Care Act. “Our entire business model is about servicing the Affordable Care Act customer under the assumption that the direction of U.S. healthcare is a lot like Medicare, which went to a subsidized population of individuals with a choice, and now well-tested and well-established,” Gentile told us in July 2021. “We think the same is going to happen to consumer healthcare, that ultimately groups will become groups of individuals subsidized by their employer as opposed to their employer making decisions for them.”
Under Gentile, Friday made quick investments in Alamosa following its purchase of Colorado Choice Health, including installing a minimum wage of $15 for its employee base and thus forcing others to compete; and leasing office space beyond its main office on Main Street and San Juan.
When a company like Friday enters a small market like Alamosa and makes an investment in human capital and real estate, it creates a ripple for the community. With around 400 employees and life breathed back into Downtown Alamosa, it’s hard not to root for Friday’s success because its success is also good for the city. If it struggles and ultimately has to abandon strategies, that then has an opposite ripple effect on Alamosa.
Better for Friday to thrive than to struggle if you’re Alamosa.