Denise Valder
Denise Valder

Denise Valder, MBA, PMP


Health Management Associates

Phoenix, AZ

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Denise Valder is a performance-driven executive with demonstrated success leading expansion and process improvement initiatives in the healthcare space. Denise has over 25 years of experience working with health plans and payers and more than a decade driving Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Star Ratings improvements.

Before joining HMA, Denise held a number of executive positions with United Healthcare (UHC). Most recently, she was director of strategic partnerships, developing and managing relationships with OptumHealth, accountable care organizations and vendors. In this role, Denise supported over twenty UHC priority contracts. She identified opportunities for Star rating improvements, created strategies and drove program execution. Denise focused on improved Medicare and Medicaid measures by leveraging these partnerships to maximize operational efficiencies and implement innovative strategies including an incentive program she created which motivated small providers to close Medicare Star quality gaps in care and build out provider markets. 

Denise developed her expertise in CMS Star quality improvements throughout her tenure with UHC. As West region’s director of Star performance, Denise focused solely on supporting Dual Special Needs Plan (DSNP) contracts.  She developed a track record of successfully moving contracts to a 4 Star rating.  As the director of Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers & Systems (CAHPS)/Health Outcomes Surveys (HOS), Strategy and Programs, she defined and drove strategies to improve quality performance in member experience, provider experience and network performance. In this role, she created a DSNP CAHPS strategy that integrated marketing, pharmacy, networks and customer service teams to cross-collaborate on member experience improvement initiatives.  With these focused efforts on CAHPS improvement, she achieved a 36 percent year over year increase of D-SNP members in a 4 Star contract or 1 million members. 

Denise has proven successful at leading large-scale improvements and expansions. For UHC, Denise designed and implemented several campaigns, including a national CAHPS/HOS Star improvement campaign reaching over 3 million members. This comprehensive campaign earned her the 2017 STARS Innovation and Distinction Award. As vice president of Network Contracting and Billing at Mollen Immunization Clinics, her direction and leadership helped a startup mass flu immunizer, grow from a local to a national level, expanding the network by 250 percent.

In addition to her expertise in Star improvements, Denise has operational management experience and a strong financial background. Denise has been a cross-departmental finance team lead and has had responsibility for executive level reporting, profit and loss (P&L) management, returns on investment (ROI) tracking, monthly closeout processes, business forecasting and annual planning. She oversaw multi-million dollar budgets and revenue targets for United Healthcare, Mollen, Nestle Waters North America and CVS Caremark. She received Nestle’s 2008 Profit Margin Improvement Award for a 22 percent profit margin improvement in the Arizona/Nevada territory with focused efforts on P&L management as the Arizona/Nevada business manager. 

Denise has a master’s degree from the University of Phoenix and a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University, both in business administration. She is also a certified project management professional. Denise is an avid runner, and she enjoys spending time outdoors and with her family.