Longtime Blue Cross Employee Dawn Cantrell Joins Senior Management Team
Other Health Services division promotions round out leadership positions

Oct. 11, 2021

Dawn Cantrell

BATON ROUGE, La. – Dawn Cantrell, a 35-year employee with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, has been promoted to senior vice president, Health Services Operations. This makes Cantrell the newest member of the insurer’s Senior Management Team. 

In this role, Cantrell leads strategies toward market-leading, cost-effective health services operations. This includes overseeing provider-supporting programs in Blue Cross’ transition to greater value-based care and transformation activities to improve health service quality, efficiency and value. She reports to Dr. Stephanie Mills, executive vice president, Health Services and chief medical officer. 

During her three decades with the insurer, Cantrell has worked on and led many provider-facing initiatives. Most recently, she served in an interim role as vice president, Network Operations. Prior to that, she led Blue Cross’ Care Management program, providing oversight and program development for all related operations. As vice president, Clinical Partnerships, Cantrell led the implementation team for the insurer’s first value-based care program, Quality Blue Primary Care, in 2013. Quality Blue has resulted in improved health outcomes and medical cost savings. Cantrell also was VP, Network Administration.  

Cantrell earned her Bachelor of Arts in Marketing from Southeastern Louisiana University. She serves on the board of Keep Louisiana Beautiful, an organization for which she is a long-time volunteer and has led pro-bono volunteer efforts through Blue Cross over the years, and is a member of the Southeastern Louisiana University Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Mills, who joined Blue Cross in late 2020, has recently promoted other employees to key leadership positions in the Health Services division. These include: 

Dr. Deirdre Barfield promoted to vice president, Medical Management

Angela Gauthier promoted to vice president, Provider Networks and Contracting

Natalic McCall promoted to vice president, Health Care Value

Michelle Stevens promoted to vice president, Health Services Systems & Support

Dr. Jeremy Wigginton promoted to vice president, Health Quality and Innovation

All of these positions report to Mills. 

Dr. Barfield has been serving as interim VP, Medical Management and is now in this role permanently. She is responsible for leading Blue Cross’ utilization review activities as well as Care Management and clinical programs directed toward improving health and keeping costs in line. She also coordinates population health clinical strategies toward new payment models, provider engagement programs and relevant quality improvement programs. These responsibilities are in addition to her role of senior medical director, which she has held since 2015. Dr. Barfield joined Blue Cross in 2014, having served as chief medical officer of Health Plans and Population Health at CHRISTUS Health in Texas. Prior to that, she was CMO and VP, Medical Affairs and Director of Women’s Services at CHRISTUS Schumpert Health System in Shreveport. Dr. Barfield earned her Bachelor of Science degree at Louisiana State University in Shreveport. She earned her Doctor of Medicine degree and held residencies in Internal Medicine and Anatomic and Clinical Pathology at LSU Medical Center Shreveport.

Gauthier, who has been with Blue Cross since 1999, leads, establishes and enhances Blue Cross’ provider networks, provider contracting, provider negotiation and contract execution activities. She and her team have a pivotal role in overseeing business relationships with network providers. During her time at Blue Cross, she previously held several legal positions of increasing responsibility, including interim deputy counsel and VP. Before she joined Blue Cross, Gauthier was a financial and compliance consultant for the City of Baton Rouge Employees Retirement System and practiced law at her own firm. She earned her law degree at Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University and her Bachelor of Science degree in accounting at University of Southwestern Louisiana in Lafayette. She is a certified public accountant, certified financial services auditor and certified employee benefit specialist.

McCall, a seven-year employee, previously served as interim VP of Health Care Value. In her permanent role, she is responsible for developing strategies that create and maintain cost-effective provider networks, engage providers in healthcare delivery transformation to improve quality and efficiency, and transition reimbursement toward value-based models. McCall also has been interim vice president, Provider Network and Contracting and vice president, Provider Performance and Analytics. Prior to Blue Cross, McCall was with the Baton Rouge General Health System in Performance Improvement and Financial Operations and worked as a healthcare consultant in Chicago. McCall earned her Bachelor of Science degree in science-business from the University of Notre Dame.

Stevens will lead the efforts to implement, maintain and support the Health Services electronic systems and software that enable the operations to function effectively and efficiently. She oversees Blue Cross’ credentialing and provider data management operations. Stevens previously served as director, Value Based Operations. She has managed that area since 2011 and was promoted to director in 2016. Previously, she worked for five years as director, Cash & Treasury Management. Before coming to Blue Cross, she worked for the Baton Rouge General Health System for 11 years. Stevens earned both her Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees from LSU.

Dr. Wigginton is responsible for executing health plan accreditation activities, population-based quality improvement programs, Health Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) measures, clinical analytics, clinical innovation initiatives, and other clinical quality improvement activities. He also serves as principal delegation physician for Blue Cross when Mills is unavailable. Previously, Dr. Wigginton was interim vice president, Population Health and Quality transformation. He joined Blue Cross in 2016 as a regional medical director for New Orleans, then moved to medical director, Population Health Analytics and Network Innovation. Prior to that, he worked with Ochsner Health System both as a physician and clinical instructor. Dr. Wigginton earned his Doctor of Medicine degree and completed his residency in Family Medicine at the University of Mississippi. He also holds a Bachelor of Science in biological engineering from Mississippi State University and a Master of Business Administration from Quantic School of Business and Tech in Washington State.

A complete list of Blue Cross’ leadership team is on the company’s website, www.bcbsla.com.  

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians. Founded in New Orleans in 1934, we are a tax-paying nonprofit health insurer with offices in every major region to serve our customers. We have been recognized for the past three years as an honoree of The Civic 50, named by Points of Light as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in the United States.  

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. We invite all Louisianians to visit our website at www.bcbsla.com or talk to us on social media.