Press release

Alliance CEO Stephanie Sonnenshine steps down after 17 years of service; New CEO Appointed

Scotts Valley, Calif., Dec. 21, 2022 — Local health care leader and Central California Alliance for Health (the Alliance) CEO Stephanie Sonnenshine will resign on May 1, 2023 after 17 years of service at the Alliance. The Alliance is an award winning regional nonprofit health plan serving Merced, Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.

“Stephanie’s leadership of our regional health care plan for local Medi-Cal recipients has resulted in a respected and valued County Organized Health System across the state of California,” said Elsa Jimenez, director of health at the Monterey County Health Department and Alliance Board chairperson. “Her integrity and commitment to the Alliance mission guided her as she successfully led the Alliance in the delivery of member-focused and quality-based preventative services for over 410,000 residents in our communities.” 

Sonnenshine began her career at the Alliance as a temporary employee and was selected for promotion numerous times, serving in staff and director-level roles. Prior to her appointment as CEO in 2017, she served as the chief operating officer for the plan. Sonnenshine’s tenure and broad experience at the organization added both tactical and strategic strengths to her leadership. Key achievements under Sonnenshine’s leadership at the Alliance include:

  • The 2021 DHCS Consumer Satisfaction Award for going above and beyond in children’s care for medium-sized health plans.
  • The DHCS award for Outstanding Performance for a Medium-sized Plan in 2019.
  • The 2018 DHCS Innovation Award for Academic Detailing.
  • Awarding 215 grants totaling $67 million through the Medi-Cal Capacity Grant Program to increase the availability, quality and access of health care services.
  • Implementation of the CalAIM initiative.
  • Preparation for expansion of Medi-Cal delivery services into San Benito and Mariposa counties in 2024.

In addition, the Alliance has been recognized for achievements in customer service and workplace health, and for supporting United Way and food banks in its tri-county service area. 

“My seventeen years with the Alliance have been deeply fulfilling. The COHS model gives members a voice in their health care, and I am honored to have been a part of this innovative health plan,” said Sonnenshine. “Leading the Alliance through growth and transformation from a small grassroots organization to a well-regarded, high-quality and cost-effective regional health plan for over 410,000 people in our community is a privilege for which I will always be grateful.”

New CEO Takes the Alliance Reins

Following a nationwide recruitment, the Alliance Board of Commissioners has selected Mr. Michael Schrader to be the new CEO, effective April17, 2023.

About the Alliance

The Alliance was established in 1996 and serves over 410,000 members in Merced, Monterey and Santa Cruz counties. Using the state’s County Organized Health System (COHS) model, the Alliance delivers innovative community-based health care services with the goal to improve medical outcomes and cost savings. It employs nearly 560 employees in the three counties and manages a budget of $1.15 billion. The Alliance prides itself on its close partnership with contracted providers to promote prevention, early detection and effective treatment, with a mission to provide accessible, quality health care for its members. Since its inception, the Alliance’s preventative health care programs and cost-effective care have saved taxpayers more than $414 million as compared to the State’s Medi-Cal program. For more information, view the Alliance Fact Sheet.

Linda Gorman