Esther Macchione: Leading the Charge on a Trailblazing Journey in Healthcare

In a world where healthcare disparities persist, Esther Macchione, Co-founder and Principal of Prestige Health, embodies the essence of transformative leadership in the healthcare industry. Her visionary approach and unwavering commitment to equity and access have reshaped the landscape of healthcare services for the most vulnerable populations.

Her impact is not just limited to her professional endeavors but also extends to her role as a mentor and advocate for aspiring women in science and technology. Esther’s journey is a testament to the power of leadership in driving meaningful change in healthcare and beyond.

The Journey of Pioneering Healthcare Transformation

As a seasoned executive with over 20 years of experience, Esther has not only designed and implemented new healthcare products but has also spearheaded initiatives to promote integration and collaboration across all sectors of healthcare. Her career in the healthcare industry began with direct care and social services and spans over 20 years, driven by a mission to ensure the most vulnerable populations have equity and access to quality healthcare.

Previously, Esther served as the Chief Operating Officer at CountyCare Health Plan Services, leading operations, strategy, and growth from June 2018 to June 2022. Before that, she led start-up companies and developed new lines of business and provider networks at Family Health Network between 2012 and 2018, a provider-sponsored health plan. Before Family Health Network, Esther worked at Solutions for Care for 13 years, leading all areas of social services as a Director of Social Services in Cook County for older adults.

Esther reflects, “I started my career in the healthcare industry right out of college in my early 20s, providing direct care from a social service perspective and addressing areas of health-related social needs. Much has changed from 20 years ago to how healthcare is delivered today.”

Esther’s journey includes a pivotal shift to Managed Care, where she entered the payor side. Her work focuses on intersecting medical care with behavioral health and other wrap-around services like housing and nutrition, aiming to make a qualitative impact on individuals’ lives. She emphasizes, “Policy change and advocacy, coupled with knowledge and expertise in the healthcare sector, were required.”

On a Mission to Drive Healthcare Equity

Esther’s professional journey has been shaped by overcoming roadblocks, starting from her childhood. She learned early on about the importance of integrating various sectors of healthcare. She notes, “Individuals receiving government programs like Medicaid and Medicare were disadvantaged in many ways, obtaining healthcare services and wrap-around services that impact an individual’s needs such as housing, food and nutrition, transportation, and other health-related services.”

Esther’s experiences led her to Medicaid Managed Care in Illinois, where she led integration efforts for the Affordable Care Act population in nine counties. She also focused on starting new lines of business to produce quality outcomes for vulnerable populations, serving over 400,000 Medicaid members. She shares, “I leverage my deep market knowledge and insight to build strong relationships with small and large providers, health plans, and government and political leaders.”

In addition to her professional roles, Esther is actively involved in various boards, such as Mercy Housing Lakefront, LSSI, and A Safe Haven, due to her commitment to improving the healthcare experience for individuals and addressing the social influencers of health while minimizing health disparities in the most vulnerable communities. Esther’s approach intersects medical care with behavioral health and all wrap-around services such as housing, nutrition, and environmental factors. She believes this comprehensive approach is essential “to really make a qualitative impact on an individual’s life.”

Revolutionizing Healthcare: The Prestige Health Story

An experienced healthcare executive, Esther has designed and implemented new healthcare products, including managing risk-based health plan operations in government products like Medicare and Medicaid.  Her journey into founding Prestige Health was inspired by her experiences as a Chief Operating Officer at a Medicaid health plan.

Esther recognized the untapped potential for integration and collaboration among healthcare partners. This realization led her and her business partner to form Prestige Health, with a mission to disrupt the current ecosystem and integrate care among payors, providers, hospitals, community organizations, and other healthcare partners. Their goal was to impact and improve health outcomes for vulnerable populations in Medicaid and Medicare programs.

Esther shares, “As a healthcare professional and most recently serving as a Chief Operating Officer at a Medicaid health plan, I realized there was so much opportunity for integration and collaboration among the various healthcare partners. Operating from that principle, my business partner and I co-founded Prestige Health in July 2022 to take a pivotal role in creating and implementing initiatives to address barriers to health by promoting integration and collaboration across all sectors of healthcare.”

Prestige Health offers healthcare advisory services focusing on growth, strategy, and innovation. They collaborate with various healthcare entities such as clinics, primary care groups, hospital systems, government-funded community organizations, housing providers, technology firms, nutrition vendors, and legislators. Within Prestige Health, Esther brings over two decades of experience in Medicaid and Medicare payor and provider settings, Community-Based Organizations, the Public Health System, and Health Policy.

As a co-founder of Prestige Health, Esther’s focus is on consistently developing and evaluating the current healthcare ecosystem. She aims to pivot and evolve to best enhance the quality of life for individuals participating in government programs such as Medicaid and Medicare. Currently, Prestige Health has two Co-founders, several contractors, and a strategic partner. The company’s vision includes building multiple product lines, starting with advisory services and expanding into nutrition and prevention foods, technology, and health plan services.

Building Relationships with Integrity and Driving Innovation in Healthcare

As a leader in healthcare and co-founder of Prestige Health, Esther stands by two key pillars: integrity and innovation. Alongside her business partner, she believes that these values are fundamental to their work. Esther explains, “The main driver behind Prestige Health, a healthcare advisory firm, is to intersect different aspects of the healthcare sector while driving innovation. Integrity is key, along with other values, to drive new ideas and concepts to impact the overall healthcare industry.”

Esther’s role as a Co-founder involves overseeing all aspects of the business. To stay competitive in the industry, she emphasizes the importance of building relationships and staying informed about market trends. Esther is involved in “building relationships with clients, business development, delivering on the scope of the projects from a strategic standpoint, and interfacing with different leaders in healthcare.” She says, “Consistently building relationships and keeping a pulse on what is occurring in the healthcare market is critical.” Esther also stays updated on legislative changes in healthcare.

A Vision of Empowering Future Leaders

Esther’s definition of success is deeply personal, rooted in the feeling of accomplishment and confidence that comes from achieving both personal and professional goals. She shares, “I would define success as feeling accomplished and confident with oneself, albeit personal goals or professional objectives set and met, which impacts your priorities and passion.”

Reflecting on her journey as a woman in leadership in the healthcare industry, Esther acknowledges the challenges she faced, especially earlier in her career when executive positions were predominantly held by men. She notes, “It certainly has been difficult to thrive in this industry as a woman, especially earlier in my career when CEO, COOs, and other C-suite positions were dominated by men in the healthcare industry.”

However, Esther also sees a positive shift, stating, “I do see a pivot to seeing more women as leaders.” Drawing from her experiences with strong women leaders, she has learned valuable traits to enhance her own leadership skills. Esther shares, “I have learned from many strong women leaders, whether the experiences were positive or negative, and how to take the best traits to become the best leader I can be.”

Esther strongly believes in supporting and elevating others, especially the next generation. She finds personal and professional satisfaction in working with talented individuals and leaders in the healthcare industry. Esther shares, “I strongly believe in supporting others, including the next generation, and elevating them professionally as much as possible and allowing them to strive and lead.”

Regarding her greatest achievement as a transformational leader, Esther highlights co-founding her advisory firm, Prestige Health, which focuses on making an impact by integrating and intersecting care across provider groups, hospital systems, behavioral health centers, and other community providers. Their goal is to improve the overall quality of life for recipients of Medicaid and Medicare services, showcasing their commitment to transformative change in healthcare.

Inspiring Women in Science and Technology

Esther’s workday is a dynamic blend of offering strategic advisory services to clients, meeting with healthcare leaders and legislators, and participating in healthcare events. She defines herself as a “collaborator” or “integrator,” highlighting her role in bringing together diverse stakeholders to drive impactful change in healthcare.

To maintain a balance between her personal and professional life, Esther finds that these two areas often intersect, as she works closely with friends and colleagues. She prioritizes starting her day with at least an hour for running, working out, or meditating, regardless of how busy her schedule gets. Esther also values spending quality time with her husband, friends, and family, dedicating at least two days a week to these relationships.

Esther’s personal goals align with her professional aspirations, aiming to build an enterprise of product lines that address and close the gap in healthcare disparities. She is committed to ensuring that the most vulnerable populations receive the best quality care they deserve.

For aspiring women in science and technology, Esther’s message is clear: “Don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot do it, or you shouldn’t enter these areas.” She encourages women to persevere through setbacks, support each other, and build networks to gain leadership roles in these sectors. Esther advises aspiring women to learn from mentors and mentor others, emphasizing that there are endless opportunities in these fields for those who are determined and resilient.


Esther Macchione’s journey in healthcare exemplifies the power of determination and collaboration. As she continues to pave the way for change, her story serves as an inspiration to women in science and technology everywhere, reminding them that the sky is the limit in their pursuit of excellence and innovation.

Esther’s personal and professional goals intertwine seamlessly. She envisions building an enterprise of product lines that not only address but also close the gap in healthcare disparities, ensuring that the most vulnerable populations receive the quality care they deserve. Her message to aspiring women in science and technology is one of empowerment and resilience. She urges them to defy stereotypes, persevere through setbacks, and build networks that propel them into leadership roles in these dynamic sectors.