UPA Tennessee

UPA's Governing Leadership

Physician Established. Physician Led. Physician-Owned.

UPA is supported by governing physicians and highly-trained staff. We have over 1,000 clinicians and 900 team members. Our office is based in Knoxville, and we serve physician practices throughout Eastern Tennessee.

Our governance system at University Physicians’ Association, Inc. (UPA) is as follows:

Board of Directors - The Board consists of 18 elected physicians serving 3-year terms and are responsible for overseeing and managing the entire organization. They ensure that our overall mission, goals, and objectives of the corporation and the interest of shareholders are met.

Contract Committee - The Contract Committee is a board-appointed committee that identifies and oversees the managed care contract negotiations and opportunities.

Membership & Credentialing Committee - The Membership & Credentialing Committee is appointed by Board members, and is responsible for preparing recommendations for membership criteria and identifying membership needs.

Planning & Marketing Committee - An appointed committee tasked with promoting the image and capabilities of the corporation and its shareholders.

Nominating Committee - The Nominating Committee consists of 3 primary care shareholders, 2 specialty care shareholders, 1 hospital-based shareholder who are responsible for nominating from shareholders individuals to be considered for the board of directors.

Call University Physicians’ Association, Inc. at (865) 670-6700
to learn more about our healthcare solutions.

President

Amy B. Stevens, MD

President, UPA


Amy B. Stevens, MD is board certified in family medicine and practices at University Family Physicians in Knoxville, Tennessee. She has an Academic Appointment with the UT Graduate School of Medicine as Professor, Residency Program Director. She attended medical school at The University of Tennessee, College of Medicine in Memphis, Tennessee, and completed a Teaching Appointment in Family Medicine at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis.

She has served on the UPA Board of Directors since 2007.

Extending beyond her role as President of UPA, she is a champion physician leader between The University of Tennessee Medical Center (UTMC), University Health System, Inc. (UHS), University Health Network (UHN), and The Graduate School of Medicine (GSM). Her participation between these major institutions includes being a founding board member for UHN, a combined clinically integrated network of UHS leadership, UTMC, UPA, and UHS-employed physicians. She currently serves as Chair for the UHN Board of Directors.

She and her husband enjoy traveling together and spending time with their family.

Chief Executive Officer

Kim Friar

Chief Executive Officer


Kim Friar is a reputable leader known in the Knoxville community for her strategic vision to achieve healthcare business goals. Kim has worked alongside hospital executives and leadership with UPA since its beginning days in 1995. Her strong qualities are an attribute to the organization's unique culture-driven environment.

Alongside the 18 physician-led Board of Directors and its president, Kim oversees all aspects of the various business lines within the UPA. She previously served on the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Childhelp in Tennessee.

Kim is devoted to her family and enjoys spending as much time as possible together with them. She and her husband enjoy travel, hiking, and the natural surroundings in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Vice President Operations & Chief Operations Officer

Jerry B. Willis, MBA

VP, Operations & Chief Operations Officer


Jerry began his career in healthcare as an Emergency Medical Technician in Georgia. He has worked with patient care in both inpatient and emergency departments. His practice management experience includes Urgent Care, Internal Medicine, Family Practice, Surgical Oncology and Rheumatology. He has overseen the operations of a physician office laboratory (POL), dealing with CLIA and COLA.

Since joining the UPA, Jerry has been involved in negotiating managed care contracts, membership, credentialing, and with clinical integration.

Jerry and his wife, Darlene live in Knoxville, TN. Jerry and Darlene enjoy traveling and always looking for an adventure everywhere they go. Jerry enjoys hiking, biking, and hunting.

Jerry Willis can be reached via email at jwillis@utmck.edu or by telephone at 865-670-6165.

Vice President Human Resources & Chief Financial Officer

Scott A. Stucky, SHRM-CP, PHR

VP Human Resources & Chief Financial Officer


Scott Stucky’s responsibilities as the CFO of University Physicians’ Association, Inc. include the overall financial management of UPA. His responsibilities also include the oversight of client accounting services. Scott has 23 years of experience in healthcare accounting, including 18 years in Administrative finance roles.

Scott’s responsibilities as the Vice President of Human Resources include the oversight of team member benefits and ensuring that all HR policies and procedures are maintained in accordance with current legislation. He is also responsible for payroll processing.

Scott is a graduate of The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and remains a true Volunteer. He joined the UPA leadership team in 2005. He has served UPA as the HR leader since 2010.

Scott and his wife enjoy time together with their family.

Vice President Regulatory Affairs & Chief Compliance Officer

Betzaida Shands, MBA, CHC, CHCO

VP Regulatory Affairs & Chief Compliance Officer


Betzaida Shands oversees regulatory compliance requirements of the organization and affirms the need for a strong educational training of compliance matters for all team members. She is strategic to the organization’s overall success by providing management, skills, and a working knowledge of current federal and state regulatory mandates and laws that pertain specifically to the organization’s needs. She serves as the organization’s legislative representative and is instrumental in the development of departmental control measures. Through the continual evaluation and assessment of the organization’s policies and procedures, the Chief Compliance Officer ensures the currency and accuracy of protocol used within departments and the organization, as a whole.

Betzaida is active in many events but especially enjoys spending time with her family. She enjoys hiking, snow-skiing, snorkeling, traveling and is quick to conquer adventures together with them.

Vice President Client Strategy & Chief Revenue Operations

Christy Bailey, RHIT, CPB

VP Client Strategy & Revenue Operations


Christy Bailey provides business insight on all aspects of revenue cycle services. Her strategic leadership and performance expectations are met in collaboration with client operations. She ensures projects and initiatives are financially profitable and meet or exceed margin thresholds.

Christy has grown with UPA since its existence and her devotion is magnified through quality and compassion. She is quick to nurture training opportunities for her revenue cycle management team.

Christy is a native of West Virginia but her family are true Ohio State Buckeyes. She is driven with passion serving others but her true passion surrounds her family. She is non-stop active in their sporting events but equally thrives with all responsibilities in her UPA family.


Vice President Credentialing & Physician Services

Katie Friar, CPCS, CPMSM

VP, Credentialing & Physician Services


Katie Friar oversees the full credentialing process for the hospital's medical staff that are contracted by University Health System, Inc. for medical staff services, and all clinicians that hold and apply for privileges at The University of Tennessee Medical Center. Katie manages the coordination and levels of support for those activities between UPA and the hospital as they relate to its Bylaws and Rules and Regulations, The Joint Commission, NCQA, and the physician committee structures.

Katie's organizational skills are proven solid during multiple audits throughout the calendar year. She maintains consistent workflow during the fast-paced and high-volume profession of medical staff services. Katie is certified by the National Association of Medical Staff Services as a Certified Provider Credentialing Specialist (CPCS) and as a Certified Professional of Medical Staff Services Management (CPMSM).

Katie is a native of Knoxville and enjoys time with her husband Andy and their two girls. If she’s not working, she’s probably chauffeuring her girls to their sporting events.

Vice President Contracting

Mitzi Vaughn

VP Contracting


Mitzi Vaughn began her healthcare career at the early age of 16 as a Certified Nursing Assistant. Throughout a variety of healthcare organizations and divisions, she gained knowledge with hands-on involvement that only excels through seasoned experience. Her proficient roles comprised of direct patient care, liaison with network contracts, and a variety of practice management were the specialty positions that cultivated her expertise.

Mitzi’s professional leadership roles consist of 36 years of enriched knowledge that include her advancement within UPA since 2011.

Mitzi operates on the high-level demands of major healthcare organizations. Her awareness of sudden changes is imperative to UPA's membership that can impact revenues on multiple levels. Her strong relationships and contractual knowledge are key to UPA's organization.

Mitzi is a native of East Tennessee and enjoys priority time with her family.


Vice President Information Systems & Chief Information Officer

Eric Duncan

VP Information Systems and Chief Information Officer


Eric Duncan, VP of Information Systems and CIO at the University Physicians’ Association (UPA) Inc. has over 25 years of IT experience working in many industries such as Education, Banking/Finance, Retail, and Healthcare. He holds a baccalaureate degree in Information Technology Management and carries multiple professional IT certifications as well as an ISC2 CISSP certification.

At UPA, his responsibilities include the design and implementation of UPA’s technology and support strategy. He and his team oversee daily Business Technology needs and Cybersecurity operations including support for applications, infrastructure, training, and auditing for UPA and its Members. While in his current role, he has helped implement new technology, streamlined processes, expand security awareness, and build strategic partnerships to help UPA, its partners, and the local community.

Chief Physician Executive

Robert F. Elder, MD

Chief Physician Executive


Robert F. Elder, MD served as UPA President from 2005-2020. He has been in an active leadership role with UPA since 1995 alongside his clinical commitments to his patients, The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tennessee Medical Center, and University Health System, Inc.

His commitments reflect genuine trust among the physicians that developed UPA into the strongest clinical association in East Tennessee. As Chief Physician Executive, he continues to work with the UPA Executive Leadership Team and interacts with these major entities.

Dr. Elder attended Medical School at East Tennessee State University; with an Internship and Residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Tennessee at Memphis, Regional Medical Center.

He enjoys spending time with his wife, family, and grandchildren but apart from his family dedication, he enjoys a good game of golf.