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Patricia Darnley ’81

  • Patricia DarnleyPresident and Chief Executive Officer

    Gateway Health Plan


    Patricia “Patti” Darnley is the president and chief executive officer of Gateway Health Plan, a $1.6-billion managed care organization headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that provides healthcare plans to Medicare- and Medicaid-eligible individuals. As a well-versed insurance professional with over 30 years of experience, Patti took the helm at Gateway during a time when the company was poised for growth and expansion. As a leading provider of Medicare and Medicaid health plans in Pennsylvania for the past 20 years, Gateway is now a multistate provider with a unique focus on the overall health and wellness of not only plan members, but the community as a whole. 

    Prior to joining Gateway in 2014, Patti spent the past nine years with Centene Corporation; most recently in St. Louis, Missouri, as senior vice president of New Market Operations. In this capacity, she was responsible for developing all the operational components for new health plans. Her recent focus was development of Centene’s new health plan in California, California Health and Wellness, which went into full operation in November 2013. Prior to that assignment, she was senior vice president of Network Development and Operations. In that role she was responsible for creating a new business unit that focused on network development for new and existing markets. Under Patti’s direction, Centene developed provider networks in 11 new states that enabled them to expand their footprint and grow membership by 66 percent and revenue by 92 percent, adding 2.5 million new members and over $8.2 billion in revenue. In addition, she reduced expenses and saved $11.9 million in 2011 and $13.5 million in 2012 by negotiating new vendor contracts across 19 health plans.    

    Other positions that Patti held after joining Centene in 2004 included senior vice president of Operations, vice president of Health Plan Operations, and chief executive officer of Centene’s University Health Plan. She consistently identified best practices to serve members and providers, governed expansion in new and existing markets, and represented the organization in its relationships with customers, suppliers, providers, competitors, and government agencies throughout her tenure at Centene.

    Before joining Centene, Patti was the chief financial officer and chief operating officer of UPMC Health Plan in Pittsburgh from 1998–2004, when it was a tri-state start-up organization that grew into UPMC Health Plan. She was directly responsible for all financial management of the Plan’s annual budget, and she achieved profitability for all product lines and grew membership from zero to over 400,000 members within a five-year window. Patti also held several key management and leadership roles at Highmark from 1990–97. Among her achievements at Highmark were managing a book of business for large local and national employers with over 500 employees, delivering Highmark’s first national managed care programs involving multiple Blue Cross and Blue Shield programs, and reorganizing plan and network management into one operating department that coordinated all national business involving other Blue Cross Blue Shield plans.

    Patti holds an MBA with a concentration in finance from Duquesne University. She was an accounting major at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1981. While in St. Louis, Patti was a board and finance committee member of both the Repertory Theater of St. Louis and SSM St. Joseph Foundation. She recently relocated back to Pittsburgh upon becoming the president and CEO of Gateway Health.

    Inducted Spring 2014