Staff Directory

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Bobby Peterson

  • Executive Director
  • (608) 261-6939 ext. 201

Bobby is the founder and Executive Director of ABC for Health, Inc. and My Coverage Plan, Inc. A 1987 graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School, Bobby began his law career at the Center for Public Representation. In 1994, Bobby founded ABC, which continues to connect children and families with health care benefits through advocacy and benefits counseling. Bobby has extensive experience representing clients with access to health care and coverage issues, particularly health insurance claim denials. From 1993 to 2001, Bobby co-chaired the American Public Health Association Maternal and Child Health Section committee on Children with Special Health Care Needs, and in 1998 he helped found the Public Interest Law Section of the State Bar of Wisconsin. Bobby was recognized as one of the top lawyers in Dane County in 2001 and 2003. In 2005 he helped initiate HealthWatch Wisconsin, a statewide membership organization to promote better access to health care and coverage, and in 2010 he founded a new subsidiary organization, My Coverage Plan Inc, an innovative new technology firm to help providers and consumers connect to and maximize all available health care coverage. Bobby is also the project director and principal investigator on numerous state, federal, and private foundation grants.

Rich Lavigne

richManaging Attorney

Rich Lavigne is the Managing Attorney for ABC for Health. He is a graduate of Northland College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and earned his law degree at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. His background includes environmental chemistry, land surveying, and wetland restorations, as well as five years in private law practice. Rich has served on several municipal government boards and committees and currently chairs the Board of Directors for the Public Interest Law Section of the State Bar of Wisconsin.

Ryan S. Co

ryanAgency Operations Manager
  • (608) 261-6939 ext. 215

Ryan is the Agency Operations Manager at ABC for Health, Inc. Ryan earned a Bachelor of Arts in Interactive & Convergent Media from North Central College. At ABC for Health, Ryan provides data and information management, select grant and program management, and serves as the firm's in-house videographer, multimedia designer, and social media specialist. He also helps administer HealthWatch Wisconsin membership, training activities, and facilitates Dane County HealthWatch Coalition meetings. Ryan considers himself "a jack of all trades, master of some." He’s always exploring ways to merge the intricate nuances of healthcare and coverage with the opportunities available within new media. Outside of office hours, Ryan spends his time as a writer, gamer, & proud parent of his shiba inu Natsu.

Sarah Brandt

Part-Time Health Benefits Advocate
  • (608) 261-6939 ext. 213

Sarah is a Health Benefits Advocate at ABC for Health. She obtained her BS from UW-Madison in Rehabilitation Psychology and also received a minor in 3D Studio art. She is now back at UW in pursuit of her Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling. She has extensive experience working with people with disabilities across multiple settings. At ABC, Sarah assists WI residents navigate state, federal, and private benefits to optimize their health care coverage. Through this work, she aims to remove some of her clients’ worry and burden regarding financing their health care so they can focus on improving their health. With the knowledge she gains at ABC and her current Master’s work, she hopes to incorporate benefits counseling into her future work with individuals with disabilities who are seeking employment. In her free time, Sarah enjoys wood working and refurbishing furniture.

Samantha "Mana" Kleiser

Health Benefits Assistant
  • (608) 261-6939 ext. 226

Samantha is a Health Benefits Assistant at ABC for Health. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in African Cultural Studies from UW-Madison in December of 2018. During her time there, she had the opportunity to study abroad in Fes, Morocco where she was able to focus on speaking Arabic and researched public health systems (and their problems) of Morocco. Samantha is excited to use this position to help low income individuals with their access to affordable health care. In her free time, Samantha enjoys camping, rock climbing, spending time with family and friends, and of course, the occasional Netflix binge.

Felipe Mesa-Morales

Bilingual Health Benefits Assistant
  • (608) 261-6939 ext. 204

Felipe is a Bilingual Health Benefits Assistant with ABC for Health. He is a graduate of the College of William and Mary with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Public Health. After graduating, Felipe worked in Washington D.C where he gained experience in health policy, advocacy, and research and was able to use these skills to co-author a policy paper that was published in 2018. Felipe hopes to use his background in advocacy and policy to help individuals of all backgrounds and economic status obtain affordable healthcare coverage. Outside of office hours Felipe spends his time playing games, hanging out with friends, and listening to music.

My Coverage Plan, Inc.

Taylor Smith

  • Web Developer
  • (608) 261-6939 ext. 219

Taylor Smith is a web developer for ABC for Health, Inc. and My Coverage Plan, Inc., where he specializes in interface design and user experience. Taylor received a B.A. in Mathematics from Arizona State University and completed post-bacc work in both linguistics and computer science. His professional background ranges from documentation of endangered languages to choral music arrangement to tech consulting for arts-centric startups. When not building the face of MCP’s applications, Taylor enjoys a number of creative hobbies including music, writing, and photography, and harbors a minor obsession with board games.

Brynne McBride  

  • COO
  • (608) 261-6939 ext. 210

Brynne is the Chief Operating Officer of ABC for Health, Inc. She engages in direct legal advocacy and litigation on behalf of clients, drafts and manages contracts, and negotiates with federal, state, and private benefits and insurance institutions. She oversees ABC for Health’s growing HealthWatch Wisconsin project and is a frequent commentator on the HealthWatch WatchDog. She serves as the agency’s representative on community boards, including Community Shares of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, and the State Bar of Wisconsin's Public Interest Law Section. She was recently recognized by the State Bar of Wisconsin as "Lawyer Demonstrating Exemplary Commitment to Community." Brynne received her J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law and her undergraduate degrees from Bryn Mawr College.

Kenton Zink

Health Benefits Counselor Manager
  • (608) 261-6939 ext. 220

Kenton is a Bilingual Health Benefits Counselor Manager with ABC for Health, Inc. Kenton conducts interviews and provides counseling services to patients under provider contracts, engages in direct patient advocacy on behalf of clients, and negotiates with federal, state and private benefits and insurance institutions. Kenton contributes strong experience in working with families on health care and other issues, robust knowledge of program and policies, and technical skills in case management and training. Before joining ABC, Kenton worked for Physicians Plus Insurance Corporation and for a Community Health Center and Migrant health facility as a medical assistant and interpreter. Kenton has a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Polly Shoemaker

Staff Attorney
  • (608) 261-6939 ext. 209

Polly is a Staff Attorney at ABC for Health. In addition to providing direct patient advocacy and legal representation to clients in matters ranging from insurance denials to birth cost recovery, Polly also provides subject matter expertise to My Coverage Plan, Inc. Polly received her J.D. in 2015 from the University of Wisconsin Law School, where she received the V. Russell Whitesel Award for Excellence for her work in the Government & Legislative Clinic. Prior to law school, Polly worked in local government education and health IT. Polly has undergraduate degrees in Music and Classics from Lawrence University and is an active musician with the Middleton Community Orchestra and Four Seasons Theatre in Madison. She also serves on the State Bar’s Local Bar Relations Committee and on the board of the Madison Knitters Guild.

Maddie Bridge

Health Benefits Advocate
  • (608) 261-6939 ext. 216

Maddie is a Health Benefits Advocate at ABC for Health. She graduated from UW Madison in May 2018 with degrees in History and Environmental Studies. During her time there, she worked on the student government’s Sustainability Committee advocating to make the campus more environmentally friendly. She also volunteered at Lake View Elementary as an Environmental Education Facilitator and at Middleton Outreach Ministry in the food pantry. She spent one semester in Washington DC where she interned at an international environmental law firm. During her free time, she enjoys being outside, going to the farmer’s market, and baking. Maddie is excited to help people gain access to healthcare through this position.

Juan Aguirre

Bilingual Health Benefits Advocate
  • (608) 261-6939 ext. 217

Juan is a Bilingual Health Benefits Advocate at ABC for Health. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology and obtained a Certificate in Chican@/Latin@ Studies. As an undergraduate student, Juan served as a mentor/tutor for the PEOPLE program and Physics Learning Center, intern at St. Mary’s Cardiac Rehab Program, and executive board member for PALMA (a pre-health student organization focused on providing resources to aspiring physicians of underrepresented backgrounds). Additionally, he had the privilege of studying abroad in Chile where he was able to discuss healthcare systems and learn about some of the practices and spiritual beliefs used by traditional healers. Apart from spending time with his family, Juan loves to go on bike rides with his partner, play soccer with friends and enjoy picnics by the lake.

Arian Hashemi

Legal Intern
  • (608) 261-6939 ext. 203

Arian is a Legal Intern at ABC for Health. He is a J.D. 2021 candidate at University of Wisconsin Law School. He earned his Bachelor degree in Exercise and Sport Science at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2017. He is primarily involved with projects relating to the review of Wisconsin’s practice of Birth Cost Recovery. Arian is originally from Iran, but has lived in North Carolina for the last 14 years until 2018 when he moved to Wisconsin to attend Law School. In his spare time, he likes to travel and work out.

Nick Tanner

Legal Intern
  • (608) 261-6939 ext. 218

Nick is a legal intern at ABC for Health. He is a rising second year law student at the University of Wisconsin Law School and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Creighton University in Omaha. Prior to law school, Nick worked with affiliate contracts for Yahoo, Inc. for 6 years. At ABC, he leads the Healthcheck Task Force and is a healthcare coverage advocate. In his free time, he enjoys backpacking, hiking, and fishing with his wonderful dog, Judy.

ABC for Rural Health, Inc.

Mike Rust   

MikeChief Operating Officer (715)485-8525

Mike is the Chief Operating Officer of ABC for Rural Health in Balsam Lake, WI. Mike is a Health Benefits Counselor and a pioneer in developing the concept and practice of health benefits counseling. Through his investigative efforts, he uncovered widespread misapplication of the Medicaid Deductible Feature, the Family Fiscal Unit determination process, and birth cost recovery systems. He has written a health care competency model and curriculum for Wisconsin's public health workforce, and he continues to work with health care providers and public health offices across Wisconsin to promote clinic, hospital, and agency-based health benefits counseling. Over the past two years, Mike has focused his advocacy efforts on access to mental health and substance use treatment services; while also continuing to work on issues related to HealthCheck (EPSDT), Birth Cost Recovery, and the development of training and technology to support benefits counseling work at clinics, hospitals, and health departments.

Patty Turner

photo of patty turnerHealth Benefits Advocate
  • (715) 485-8562

Patty is a Health Benefits Advocate at ABC for Rural Health, working closely with the Polk County Health Department and Health and Human Services. Patty joined ABC after working for five years as the Supervisor of Patient Advocates for a local community hospital where she assisted with patient support, express enrollment of pregnant women and children, presumptive disability, and charity care. She was a Certified Application Counselor for the Federal Marketplace Open Enrollment and partners on the ABC for Health portion of the CHIPRA grant—a project to connect children to health coverage in northern and western Wisconsin.