June 26, 2009
OHCA Contact: Jo Kilgore, Public Information Manager, (405) 522-7474.
Oklahoma Medicaid Director Selected for Inaugural Medicaid Leadership Institute
New initiative will enhance the leadership capacity of Medicaid directors to pursue innovation in
publicly financed programs to deliver higher quality, more cost-effective health care services.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma’s Dr. Lynn Mitchell is one of six state Medicaid directors chosen nationally to participate in the inaugural class of the Medicaid Leadership Institute, the Center for Health Care Strategies announced today. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is launching this new initiative to enhance the leadership capacity of Medicaid directors so their programs can serve as national models for high-quality, cost-effective care.
“Dr. Mitchell is ideally suited to participate in the institute. SoonerCare – Oklahoma’s Medicaid program – has become a national leader in a number of areas, from improving care management for complex populations to providing dental care for children and pregnant women,” said Mike Fogarty, chief executive officer of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, which is responsible for SoonerCare. “She has a lot of insights and expertise to bring to the table, and I know she also values the opportunity to share ideas and learn from other leaders in the field.”
Mitchell was competitively selected to participate in the executive leadership development program along with five additional Medicaid directors: Toby Douglas, California; Carolyn Ingram, New Mexico; MaryAnne Lindeblad, Washington State; Carol Steckel, Alabama; and Sandeep Wadhwa, Colorado.
“At a time when national health care reform decisions will greatly affect their programs and responsibilities, these six individuals form an exceptionally talented inaugural class for the Medicaid Leadership Institute,” said Tommy Thompson, former governor of Wisconsin, who chairs the program’s National Advisory Committee. “These directors will be perfectly positioned to lead their states and the nation in achieving better quality care for every taxpayer dollar invested in publicly financed health care.”
Medicaid plays a huge, often underappreciated role in the U.S. health care system. It provides care for more than 65 million Americans and it is second only to Medicare as a payer for health care. In Oklahoma, approximately $970 million in state funds is spent annually on Medicaid, accounting for about 13 percent of state expenditures. With federal matching funds, the state’s total budget is about $4 billion.
The 12-month Institute is designed to enhance the strategic thinking, substantive knowledge, individual leadership and technical skills that directors need to effectively lead and foster innovation in their state Medicaid programs. The program will be managed by the Center for Health Care Strategies and directed by Melanie Bella, senior vice president at CHCS and former Indiana Medicaid director.
“We are truly excited about this first class of leaders, all of whom are passionate about maximizing the value of their programs for millions of beneficiaries,” Bella said. “Dr. Mitchell and the other Medicaid directors chosen bring a diverse array of experiences to the Institute and will collectively spur each other to take full advantage of the opportunities for leadership that are likely to be presented by health care reform.”
The Medicaid Leadership Institute curriculum is designed to be dynamic and relevant to the participants’ interests as well as the current environment at both the federal and state levels. It will focus on broad macroeconomic and political issues, data and analytical topics, and leadership and organizational development. For more information about the program, visit www.Medicaidleaders.org.