by Rachad Davis
September 6, 2016
Senior Director, Disability Policy Engagement,
Merrill Friedman leads the Disability Policy Engagement team and advocacy strategy for Anthem, a leading health benefits company serving nearly 71 million people nationwide through its affiliates. She works collaboratively with consumers, advocates and stakeholders to ensure the diverse interests and preferences of older adults, individuals with disabilities, and children, adolescents and young adults involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice programs inform Anthem’s health benefits approaches and health care programs. Ms. Friedman also advances the integration of the independent living philosophy, principles of self-determination and the National Advisory Board (NAB) on Improving Health Care Services for Older Adults and People with Disabilities’ six foundational principles throughout these programs, as well as Anthem’s member interactions and business practices. In addition, she leads strategic partnerships with national and local organizations to advance the development of inclusive public policy. Previously, Ms. Friedman was interim director at a nonprofit foster care agency serving at-risk children and adolescents who experienced severe neglect and physical abuse. She also served as president and chief executive officer of a private organization that owned and operated residential treatment facilities, group homes and home and community based services in several states for adolescents with mental health, substance use disorders and/or intellectual disabilities.
Ms. Friedman is a nationally recognized leader in Medicaid, LTSS and health services that reflect the needs and interests of older adults, people with disabilities and children and adolescents. Health program expertise includes foster care, mental health and substance use, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and justice involvement. Her extensive experience in program development, strategy, new business growth and operations management informs the innovation and development of home and community-based services and programs.
Ms. Friedman has served on numerous national boards and commissions. She was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. Currently, Ms. Friedman serves on the board of directors for the Long-Term Quality Alliance (LTQA) and Family Voices and is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI). She is a council member for the Americans with Disabilities Act Legacy Project and serves on the Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary’s Blueprint for Livable Communities Citizen Advisory Group.