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axialHealthcare Expands Leadership Team with Addition of CMO and COO

New hires bring depth of healthcare and leadership experience to propel clinical strategy and drive growth

NASHVILLE, Tenn. axialHealthcare, a care optimization company focused on managing substance use and social determinants of health issues for patients, providers, and health plan partners, today announced the C-suite hires of Dr. Dirk Wales as Chief Medical Officer and Frazer Buntin as Chief Operating Officer. Following the arrival of Carter Paine as CEO in 2019, these new positions will round out an experienced healthcare team to lead the company’s continued expansion into the substance use disorder management space announced in February of this year.

“We’re thrilled to have Dirk and Frazer onboard – both of them have made an immediate impact,” said Carter Paine, Chief Executive Officer. “They are incredibly strong and experienced executives, and their interest in joining axialHealthcare is indicative of the significant opportunity in front of us, the strength of the team we have in place, and the worthiness of our mission as we work to ensure better outcomes for patients and families struggling with substance use.”

Wales is a strategic clinical leader with deep experience developing and executing programs that positively impact patient outcomes and reduce costs. He helped lead a top-performing physician risk-based model in California as a practicing physician and then as CMO of HealthSpring. Following HealthSpring’s acquisition by Cigna in 2012, Wales served as CMO of Cigna HealthSpring. He holds a doctorate in psychology and medicine and previously worked as a staff physician treating chemically dependent patients in both private practice and a California county mental health division. As axialHealthcare’s CMO, Wales will drive clinical strategy and innovation and support the development of product and clinical services.

“Joining the axialHealthcare team is an opportunity to work with a passionate group of people addressing an area of critical concern to the country,” said Dirk Wales, CMO of axialHealthcare. “I look forward to leading the push to address substance use in a real and constructive way and create material change for this vulnerable population.”

Buntin brings nearly 20 years of experience creating and scaling organizations focused on transforming patient experience and improving healthcare outcomes. Most recently, Buntin was COO of Episode Solutions following a five-year stint at Evolent Health, where he served as president of value-based services. At axialHealthcare, Buntin will lead all operations, account management, and information technology.

“I am excited to join axialHealthcare as we help solve a national problem with significant quality of life, community, and financial implications,” said Frazer Buntin, COO of axialHealthcare. “The passion of the employees for engaging providers and patients in a meaningful way is energizing, and I look forward to building a great company together.”


About axialHealthcare

axialHealthcare connects patients, providers, and health plans with an end-to-end platform that covers the entire substance use spectrum. Leveraging services grounded in analytics, our risk to recovery platform identifies patients at risk, prevents escalation in their condition, and supports appropriate treatment enrollment and adherence. This analytically driven community-based approach delivers measurable clinical and financial outcomes by effectively managing cost of care while supporting sustained recovery for patients with substance use disorder. For more information, visit

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