FOUNDER AND CEO

SCOTT LESHIN

Scott Leshin is the President and CEO of SJ Health Insurance Advocates.  Scott founded SJHIA after discovering firsthand how broken the health insurance industry is while trying to seek reimbursement for his son, Sam, who has cerebral palsy. 

Scott received his Bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and Master’s degree from NYU Stern School of Business. Prior to founding SJHIA, Scott worked on Wall Street for both Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. While working an intense full-time job, Scott was also managing the challenges and frustrations that came from navigating the health insurance bureaucracy. Through consistent and determined advocacy for his son, Scott continued to cultivate his knowledge and expertise of the health insurance industry. After achieving success for his son (who he still fights for daily) Scott decided to take his experience and build a company that would go on to help others.


Personally and professionally, Scott has made it his goal to help as many patients and providers as possible faced with similar needs and difficulties. Scott prides himself on managing a company comprised of competent, compassionate individuals who believe in the same.

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT

JANICE COLMAR

Janice Colmar serves as Executive Vice President of SJ Health Insurance Advocates.  Janice brings 35 years of experience in school administration to this role, providing her with the necessary skills to manage a wide variety of responsibilities.

In Janice’s role, she is often the initial contact person for new clients seeking SJHIA’s services. She guides and supports our clients and/or their families through the complexities and confusion of the insurance industry as it relates to mental health and substance abuse services and reimbursement. Janice’s compassion, listening ear and steadfast commitment to our business allows our clients to always feel important and supported as they navigate their options.
In addition, Janice maintains all office services via organizing office policies and procedures.


Janice notes that it is a balance between her steadfastness and “never take no for an answer” attitude that enables her to be a successful liaison between our clients and their insurance carrier. Janice enjoys building these relationships with our clients as well as seeing the positive end results that come from her advocacy work.

MANAGER, RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT DEPARTMENT

MICHELLE FORRESTER

Michelle Forrester serves as the Manager of SJ Health Insurance Advocates Relationship Management Department which fosters and maintains the relationships with all of our clients. SJHIA values and prioritizes the connections with our clients and knows that this differentiates us from our competitors.

Michelle is highly experienced in all facets of client relations, with a background in customer service and health care administration. Her education and experience lend to a solid understanding of billing, accounts receivable and invoicing procedures. Michelle has expertise in report generation as it relates to client activities and makes it her mission to understand and provide support around the nuances of each of our clients’ billing profiles.


In this role, Michelle notes that she loves the balance of working behind the scenes, as well as directly with our facilities and their patients. She takes pride in her job of assisting and establishing relationships with others in order to achieve the goal of providing the best care and support to our clients.

MANAGER, VERIFICATION OF BENEFITS DEPARTMENT

STEWART ASHENBERG

Stewart Ashenberg is the Manager of the Verification of Benefits (VOB) Department at SJ Health Insurance Advocates. SJHIA understands the value and importance of assisting our clients in the process of acquiring and understanding their clients’ benefits as it related to the specific treatment being rendered. SJHIA’s thorough and timely approach to verifying benefits often results in increased admissions and higher client satisfaction.

In addition to holding a Bachelor of Science in Information Studies from Syracuse University, Stewart brings over 20 years of experience in IT Recruiting, Accounting and HR Services to his role at SJHIA. He manages a dedicated team of professionals who will verify benefits by completing a thorough inquiry with the insurance company and detailing this information in an individualized template. SJHIA will also walk clients through understanding their benefits, their expected reimbursement and the specifications of their policy.


In this role, Stewart enjoys working with our clients to ensure a seamless and informed Verification of Benefits process. He values the importance of this initial point of contact, both with and for our clients.

MSW, LCSW, MANAGER, UTILIZATION REVIEW

GINA MANCUSO

Gina Mancuso serves as the Manager of the Utilization Management Department at SJ Health Insurance Advocates. The Utilization Management Department is comprised of licensed behavioral health professionals who communicate directly with insurance carriers to secure authorizations for treatment.

Gina Mancuso received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Kean University and holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Rutgers University. Gina spent most of her twenty year social work career working in a community hospital in direct care with those of all ages experiencing mental health and substance abuse issues. Gina acquired extensive knowledge of Utilization Management while working as the Utilization Manager of IOP and PHP programs. Following hospital based treatment, Gina went on to assist a team of clinical professionals with opening a substance abuse IOP program in Hudson County NJ.


Before joining SJ Health Insurance Advocates, Gina worked for a global third party behavioral health insurance company providing clinical reviews and authorizations for treatment. This unique experience has given Gina the expertise required to help our clients navigate the nuances of Utilization Management. Not only does Gina possess the foundation of knowledge and compassion to provide advocacy for SJHIA’s clients and partners, but she also has the administrative and supervisory experience required to manage her team of licensed behavioral health professionals.

MANAGER, BILLING DEPARTMENT

CAROLINE JIGA

Caroline Jiga serves as the Manger of the Billing Department at SJ Health Insurance Advocates. In this role, Caroline manages a team of dedicated billing professionals who work diligently to generate and submit claims as well as track them throughout the entire claim adjudication process.

Caroline is highly experienced in medical billing and coding and brings her expertise into her everyday work. Caroline and her team work to resolve issues immediately in order to have claims processed and paid as quickly as possible. Caroline is also an expert in SJHIA’s state of the art software and provides training and support to all members of the team. She works with and for our facilities, understanding the nuances of their claims, customizing specifically designed reports and succeeding in maximizing revenue.


Caroline works both on the front line and behind the scenes to consistently and aggressively pursue all billing related challenges in order to ensure our clients’ satisfaction. She enjoys being an integral part of the team and takes pride in advocating for our clients.

MSW, LSW, MANAGER, APPEALS DEPARTMENT

JENNIFER SKLAR

Jennifer Sklar is the Manager of the Appeals Department at SJ Health Insurance Advocates. Jennifer is responsible for all written appeals submitted to insurance companies, regulatory agencies and Independent Utilization Review Organizations. Jennifer has extensive knowledge and expertise in medical records review, medical necessity criteria and cutting edge research and literature regarding mental health and substance abuse treatment.

In addition to being a Licensed Social Worker, Jennifer brings over 15 years’ experience in the social work field. Her previous experience includes providing counseling and concrete services to chronically mentally ill homeless adults; working as admissions coordinator in an IOP; and facilitating coordination of care and discharge planning services in nursing homes and sub-acute treatment facilities. Jennifer’s wide array of experience and expertise in the substance abuse and mental health field lend to a strong knowledge and understanding of mental health and substance abuse disorders including symptoms, behaviors and treatments.


Jennifer began at SJHIA working in our Utilization Management Department and in her current role as Appeals Manager, she has been able to marry her knowledge of clinical data with insurance companies’ criteria and expectations. These skill sets allow for Jennifer to advocate on behalf of our clients to receive the treatment and reimbursement they deserve.