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Meet the Staff

Richard M. Tuten

President & CEO

Richard M. Tuten is HFNI’s President & Chief Executive Officer. He is responsible for not only the day to day operations of the company but also working with the Board of Directors and other physician leaders to set the strategic course for the coming years. He has over 30 years’ experience in health care leadership including managed care, hospital, and physician practice management.

Mr. Tuten has a Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy, a Master of Science in Administration (Health Services Administration), and a Juris Doctor degree. He is licensed to practice law in the state of Georgia.


E.L. Roché, Jr.

Chief Financial Officer

E.L. Roché, Jr. is HFNI’s Chief Financial Officer. He is responsible for the financial management of day to day operations of the company. He is a Certified Public Accountant and has broad financial experience in healthcare and public accounting.

Mr. Roche proudly holds Bachelor and Master Degrees in Accounting from the University of West Florida. A life-long Pensacola native, he is an avid community supporter and volunteer.


Dr. William Whibbs

Medical Director

Committed to providing quality health care that is truly local, Dr. Whibbs serves as HFNI’s Medical Director. In this role, he is surrounded by a team of professional clinicians all dedicated to assuring health plan members receive first rate care. Working together, they coordinate with network physicians and their staffs to facilitate patient access to the most appropriate resources, identify high risk patients, and implement disease management programs where appropriate.

He is a Board Certified Family Practice physician with over 30 years of practice experience and is also a founding member of the company.


Deborah M. Gant, RN, BSN, MSN

Director of Health Services

Deborah Gant is HFNI’s Director of Health Services. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Florida in Health Science/Biology, a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Florida State University and a Master degree in Nursing Administration from the University of South Alabama.

Ms. Gant is a seasoned nurse with 24 years of Clinical experience. Her clinical background consists of Pediatrics, Medical/Surgical, Orthopedics, and Operating Room Nursing.

Her responsibilities consist of directing the daily activities of the Health Services/Medical Management Department, including review, concurrent review, discharge planning, care coordination, quality improvement, case management, population management, and disease management.

She’s excited about her role as Director and working with a team that is committed to providing quality services to the community.


Jackie Murph

Director, Network Development/ Provider Relations/Credentialing

Jackie Murph is HFNI’s Director of Network Development, Provider Relations and Credentialing. Jackie has twenty five years’ experience in our local health care community. Jackie’s knowledge of the Healthcare field starts at the early age of eighteen, where she grew to become a leader in all areas including insurance billing, provider office management and the introduction of EMR technology.

Jackie is responsible for recruiting healthcare providers to participate in a health insurance organization’s network of preferred providers. She provides resources, support and direction to committee members and provider office staff. She ensures optimal provider recruitment, education, and service, completion of plan initiatives, and the establishment of an adequate panel of providers for medical care that meets member geographic needs with cost effective contracts.


Stephanie Allen

Provider Relations Representative

Stephanie Allen joined the Health First Network, Inc. team in June 2013. She brings 25 years of outpatient billing, claims and supervisory experience with her. Stephanie’s knowledge of medical office procedures, billing and claims processing enhances the benefit she adds as she works with our Provider Offices under all contracted lines of business in her role as a Provider Relations Representative.


Sharon George

Operations Project Coordinator/Human Resources

Sharon George joined the Health First Network, Inc. team in June 2014. She brings 30 years of experience in business including accounting, operations management and human resources.

Sharon's responsibilites as the Operations Project Coordinator consist of directing and organizing special projects; serving as the main point of contact for guest and vendors and coordinating building maintenance activites. In her Human Resources role, she administers payroll, processes new employees and maintains employee files.


Shelby Villar

Credentialing Coordinator

Shelby joined Health First Network, Inc. in early 2007 via way of MED3OOO, where she worked for nearly eight years.

Shelby works day in and day out to ensure all Health First Network physicians are up to date on their credentials, insurances, Florida licenses, DEA's, and so forth.

Her dedication and attention to detail stand to benefit not only Health First Network, Inc. but also its physicians and the community at large.


Jennifer Sullivan

Credentialing Coordinator

Jennifer joined the Health First Network, Inc. team via Landrum before becoming a full time employee in October 2013. She has been a great asset to the HFNI team by being very organized and detailed oriented.

She joins Shelby Villar to ensure Health First Network's physicians are up to date on their credentials, insurance, Florida licenses and DEA’s.

Jennifer enjoys learning new things and looks forward to contributing her knowledge and ideas to the growth of the organization.


Michelle Hamilton

Online Data Specialist

Michelle has been with Health First Network, Inc. since July 1999.

Her primary responsibilities consist of managing the company’s online presence - from marketing, website content management, social media publications, monthly email newsletter creation and distribution to web and data analytics. She also provides administrative support to the President & CEO as well as serving as the primary contact for HFNI Shareholders, The Board of Directors and committee members.