Piedmont Community Health Plan (Piedmont) is a provider-sponsored health insurer located in Lynchburg, Virginia.
At Piedmont, we believe that insurers and healthcare providers should be collaborators, not competitors, to ensure that our communities receive the best possible care at the lowest possible cost. Our approach is to think and behave like a not-for-profit, administer like a for-profit, and manage care as a provider-sponsored plan.
Piedmont has over 25 years of health insurance experience. We offer a variety of products, including individual health plans, employer-owned health plans and employer-sponsored health plans.
We provide health insurance coverage to members across Virginia and throughout the United States. Access to primary care physicians, specialists and hospitals is available through three network options: Centra Community (Lynchburg area), Virginia Expanded (statewide), and National Coast-to-Coast (national).
Our Leadership Team
Richard Tugman is president and chief executive officer of Piedmont, a role he's held since 2016. He is responsible for modernizing Piedmont's infrastructure, strengthening its workforce, and overseeing a multimillion-dollar investment in new technology to promote growth.
Richard also served as interim CEO of Centra Health – Piedmont's parent company – for part of 2021 while that organization completed a search for a new permanent leader.
Prior to joining Piedmont, Richard was vice president and general counsel of Fleet Laboratories. His broad range of responsibilities included legal, compliance, risk management, regulatory, product liability, and mergers and acquisitions. In addition, he oversaw contract litigation, insurance, human resources, medical affairs and Fleet's intellectual property portfolio.
During his career, Richard also has held leadership roles at insurance and financial companies in England and the United States and has practiced law in both countries. He has authored a number of articles on insurance-related legal topics.
Richard earned a law degree – with honors – from the University of Kent at Canterbury, England, and a master's degree in law from Tulane University School of Law. He is admitted to practice in Virginia, England and Wales.
Richard is a member of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers and the Lynchburg Economic Development Authority, and he serves on the Board of Trustees for the Lynchburg City Schools Education Foundation.
Ryan Ziemann is Piedmont's chief financial officer, leading the development and execution of the organization's financial strategy. He oversees finance, accounting, actuarial/underwriting, and corporate development.
In 2021, Ryan also served as Piedmont's interim chief executive officer while Richard Tugman temporarily served as interim chief executive officer of Centra Health, Piedmont's parent company.
Ryan joined Piedmont in 2018 and has more than 25 years of experience in healthcare finance and strategic transformation. Prior to Piedmont, Ryan was most recently director of payment integrity financial reporting at Change Healthcare, where he led financial strategy through acquisitions of complementary payment integrity companies, managed financial integration of legacy financial reporting systems and processes, and provided direction through financial turnaround and cost structure optimization initiatives.
Ryan holds a bachelor's degree in mathematical sciences from DePaul University. He is a graduate of L'Evate's community leadership program and has attained the ASA designation from the Society of Actuaries.
Neil Heller is chief marketing officer, responsible for integrated marketing, product development, sales strategy and management, business development, and communications, as well as government and client relations.
Neil came to Piedmont in 2016 as director of marketing with 30+ years of experience in marketing leadership roles at Fleet Laboratories and GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare. During his career, he's been responsible for P&L brand and marketing management, agency selection and management, event execution and analysis, and market research.
He has handled key aspects of the consumer healthcare marketing infrastructure, including product development, labeling, advertising, promotion, digital marketing, and compliance, and has led global, virtual, and cross-functional teams. He also has directed all aspects of the largest and most profitable business for the division of a Fortune 100 company.
Neil earned a bachelor's degree in international politics from Georgetown University and a master's degree in marketing from the University of Michigan's Stephen M. Ross School of Business.
Samuel T. George is chief operating officer, leading all clinical and non-clinical operations for Piedmont and its subsidiary, HealthWorks.
Sam came to Piedmont with more than 25 years of experience at organizations that include Anthem/AIM Specialty Health, Magellan Health, CareSource, and Nationwide Insurance. During his career, he has led large-scale business operations through technological and operational transformations to support significant membership and revenue growth.
He has launched expansions with new products, including Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Exchange products into new markets; implemented a corporate shared services model to support multi-state operations; introduced an innovative Social Determinants of Health solution to improve member outcomes; and led large teams delivering health care services on a large scale (64+ million members across 50 states and 75+ health plan clients).
Sam has a bachelor's degree in computer engineering from University of Mysore and a master's degree in computer engineering from Case Western Reserve University. He served on the Campaign Cabinet of the United Way of Greater Dayton and the Business Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
Phil Miller is director of sales, leading Piedmont's sales strategy, business development, and broker partner relations since 2017. He's responsible for both commercial and government lines of business.
Phil brought 40 years of sales and business experience to Piedmont from previous leadership positions, including general manager, vice president/general manager, senior vice president, and president of Virginia operations at Furniture Brands International. In the last of these positions, he directed a $120 million operation, leading 800 employees in sales, marketing, product design and development, sourcing, manufacturing, and supply chain.
Earlier in his career, he was national sales manager at Armstrong World Industries, where he developed a team of 30 sales professionals in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. Phil holds a bachelor's degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing and a minor in economics from Central Michigan University.
Betty O. Walters is vice president of provider network development and provider relations. Having joined Piedmont in this newly created position in 2021, Betty develops and maintains partnerships with select medical provider networks and health systems across Virginia. She works closely with the client and provider relations team, leading all aspects of network growth, including the implementation of a regional contracting strategy, innovative value-based contracts, and risk-sharing models.
Before coming to Piedmont, Betty took on positions of increasing accountability over a 30-year period with Virginia Health Network, Inc. (now MedCost Virginia). Most recently, she was vice president of provider relations and operations – a position she held for a decade – where she developed networks, negotiated contracts and reimbursement arrangements with providers and facilities, and oversaw all aspects of provider relations and credentialing.
Betty has been a member of the Virginia Association of Medical Staff Services since 2007, serving as treasurer from 2015 to 2021. She also is a member of the Agricultural and Forestal Districts (AFD) Advisory Committee and serves on the AFD Advisory Committee to the Powhatan, Virginia Board of Supervisors.
Barry Gross, MD, is chief medical officer, responsible for planning and implementing patient care management programs and directing initiatives to improve the allocation of medical resources. He provides clinical leadership for medical, behavioral health, pharmacy management, and for the quality of all product lines and health plans.
Dr. Gross joined Piedmont in 2022 with 40+ years of experience in medical leadership roles. As executive vice president and chief medical officer of Riverside Health System in Newport, News, Virginia, he was responsible for quality and safety, all business activities, risk management, provider recruitment, physician residency and education programs, relationships between system and providers, public relations, and the development and management of Riverside’s insurance captive.
During the same period, Dr. Gross also was medical director of Virginia Health Network/MedCost Virginia, responsible for leading the credentialing process, building relationships among providers and facilities, and maintaining clinical quality across the network. In addition, he served on the boards of numerous medical, financial, and insurance organizations, managing and overseeing fiduciary matters, operations, business development, marketing and sales, performance metrics, and customer service.
A medicine and surgery graduate of the University of Alabama School of Medicine, Dr. Gross also is certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He is an obstetrician/gynecologist at Riverside Health System, medical director (Virginia) of Precise Telehealth, a board member of Old Point National Bank, and vice chair of the board of directors for Bay Aging.