Merrill Friedman is Senior Director, Disability Policy Engagement for Anthem, Inc. In this position, she works closely with advocates and stakeholders to ensure the diverse needs and preferences of people with disabilities, older adults, and individuals with specialized health care needs are addressed in Medicaid managed care programs. Ms. Friedman oversees the integration of the independent living philosophy, principles of self-determination, and the National Advisory Board’s six foundational principles throughout Anthem approaches, interactions and practices.
Currently, Ms. Friedman serves on the board of directors for Family Voices and the Long-Term Quality Alliance (LTQA), she was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities and is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) and the NASUAD MLTSS Institute Advisory Board . She is the former board chair for the Michigan Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) and also served on Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary’s Blueprint for Livable Communities Citizen Advisory Group.
In addition to supporting family and friends with chronic mental health and physical health conditions, Ms. Friedman works tirelessly to ensure policy, programs and services are sustainable and accessible to meet the health care and long term support needs for individuals with specialized health care and service needs. Priorities also include engaging individuals and their families to ensure meaningful benefit design, person-centeredness, self-direction, employment and economic self-sufficiency, family and caregiver supports and integrated community participation.
Before joining Amerigroup, Ms. Friedman was interim director for a nonprofit foster care agency for children and adolescents who have experienced severe neglect and abuse. She also served as president and chief executive officer of a private organization which owned and operated residential treatment facilities, group homes, family preservation and in-home services in several states for adolescents with mental health and/or intellectual disabilities.
Ms. Friedman has held a number of leadership positions in the child and adolescent services field, including intellectual and developmental disabilities, foster care, mental health and substance use and juvenile justice, and has extensive experience in the areas of program development, new business strategy, marketing, merger and acquisition opportunities, and operations management of home and community-based services and facilities.