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Connector Gains New COO, Corner Office Adviser

The Baker administration continues to put its stamp on the state's Health Connector Authority with the hiring of two top officials.

Vicki Coates, a former vice president of dental management at DentaQuest, starts on Monday as chief operating officer, according to Louis Gutierrez, the authority's executive director.

Coates has also worked at Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, and Metro West Medical Center.

Gutierrez also announced Patricia Wada, who has worked on state information technology projects, will take the job of special assistant to the governor for project delivery.

Wada, a Cambridge resident, recently worked on the Registry of Motor Vehicles' modernization project.

Wada is the "new Maydad Cohen," Gutierrez told members of the authority's board, referring to the person tapped by former Gov. Deval Patrick as a special adviser in the wake of the failure of the state's health insurance exchange website.

Wada will be a "central point of accountability," Gutierrez said.

The announcement of the appointments came as Gov. Charlie Baker filled two of the four open seats on the authority's board: Mark Gaunya, co-owner and chief information officer at Borislow Insurance, and Rina Vertes, president of Marjos Business Consulting.

The two remaining open seats on the 11-member board will be filled "April-ish," said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, who chairs the board. - Gintautas Dumcius/SHNS

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