Medicaid Industry Who’s Who Series: Stacy Mays

Medicaid Who’s Who: Stacy Mays – Chief Operating Officer, UNC Health Alliance and the UNC Senior Alliance


Q: In which segment of the industry are you currently involved?    

A: I am leading the transition to Alternative Payment Models (APMs), Value Based Care and Clinical Integration for all payer segments, including Medicaid for a $5 billion academic health care system.


Q:  What is your current position and with what organization?

A: My current position is Chief Operating Officer for the UNC Health Alliance and the UNC Senior Alliance, the clinically integrated network and Medicare Next Generation ACO of the University of North Carolina Health Care System.


Q: How many years have you been in the Medicaid industry?

A: Although it has not been my exclusive focus, I have been in the Medicaid industry for more than 30 years. My work began with one of the original Robert Wood Johnson grantees responsible for initiating managed care in the Medicaid segment.  There was no roadmap.  In many ways, we were trailblazing!


Q: What is your focus/passion?  (industry related or not):

A: From an industry perspective, my passion is creating a care delivery enterprise that promotes clinical excellence and seamless care integration along with financial structures that align incentives for providers and put the patient first. I’ve been an industry innovator my entire career.  With evolving technology and payment models, we have an opportunity to achieve changes that have been discussed for many years but not widely delivered upon.  Behavioral health integration and a focus on social determinants of health are two that are top of mind.

From a personal perspective, my family is my focus.  Supporting my young adult children as they navigate through college to what comes next is extremely important.  If I can help them avoid some bumps along the road, I’ll consider that a success.


Q: What is the top item on your bucket list?

A: I’m fortunate that most of the things I have wanted to do in life I’ve been able to do.  My bucket list is simple, spending more time with family and traveling a bit more.


Q: What do you enjoy doing most with your personal time?

A: In my personal time, I enjoy working out, volunteering and serving on Boards for causes I care about and spending time with my vast menagerie, especially my two rescue dogs, Petey and Willy, and my cat, Kitten.  The menagerie currently includes four goats and a horse in addition to the domestic animals. It has included many other critters over the years.  

My favorite workout is boxing.  I train several times a week and even get in the ring occasionally to spar with my coach.  Boxing is a great workout, both physically and mentally.  It forces you to let go of all distractions and focus completely on the task at hand.  

I also make volunteering and Board service a priority. Two organizations that I work with currently are a canine rescue that has re-homed over 1000 dogs in the past 10 years and an amazing organization that truly changes lives by providing housing, counseling, job training, child care and other support services to substance addicted pregnant women.


Q: Who is your favorite historical figure and why?

A: My favorite historical figure is Albert Einstein.  It’s amazing to me that one individual could challenge so many long held beliefs and change the future course of science in so many profound ways.


Q: What is your favorite junk food?

A: Chocolate drizzled popcorn.


Q: Of what accomplishment are you most proud?

A: From a career perspective, I’m pretty proud of what we have accomplished here at UNC over the past 2 years.  We created a clinically integrated network partnering with 2,000 independent providers throughout the State and implemented value based contracts serving almost 100,000 individuals; built a Medicare Next Generation ACO with global risk for 22,000 Medicare beneficiaries; and executed a joint venture to own a Medicaid Managed Care plan with 10 other North Carolina health systems.


Q: For what one thing do you wish you could get a mulligan? 

A: As a college student, I wished I had studied abroad.


Q: What are the top 1-3 issues that you think will be important in Medicaid during the next 6 months?


  1. Potential impact of changes in federal legislation.
  2. In North Carolina, our planned transition to Medicaid managed care.
  3. Continued innovation, particularly in long term care.