Health and Human Services Commission Announces New Medicaid Director

Health and Human Services Commission Announces New Medicaid Director

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Health and Human Services CommissionAUSTIN – Gary Jessee, a 20-year veteran of state service, will be Texas’ new state Medicaid director, Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Chris Traylor announced today.

Jessee, who has served three years as the Medicaid/CHIP Division’s chief deputy director for program operations, replaces Kay Ghahremani who is retiring after 20 years with the state.

Ghahremani took the top Medicaid job in 2012 after five years as Medicaid/CHIP policy director. She oversaw a large managed care expansion, implementation of a $29 billion 1115 waiver, and various quality and cost containment initiatives.

“We’re going to miss Kay and her commitment to improving health care for Medicaid clients while finding ways to make the program more efficient,” HHS Executive Commissioner Chris Traylor said. “I thank Kay for her decades of dedication and service to the State of Texas.”

Jessee served as assistant commissioner for the Access and Intake Division at the Department of Aging and Disability Services before coming to HHSC. In his current job he oversees acute, dental and long-term services and supports delivered across the state through managed care and dental maintenance organizations. These programs provide services and support for nearly four million people across the state.

“Gary will hit the ground running with his experience and expertise,” Traylor said. “I can’t think of anyone with a greater depth of knowledge about what we do and where Medicaid needs to go in the future.”

Jessee will lead a division with 555 employees and a $600 million operating budget that oversees the $31 billion of state and federal Medicaid funds Texas spends annually.

“I’m excited to have this opportunity. Texas has long been recognized as a leader in developing innovative strategies to deliver needed services, improve care and contain costs,” Jessee said. “We have seen great changes in the delivery of healthcare and services and supports and with this change comes opportunity. We hope to lead the charge to improve the system of care for everyone we have the privilege to serve.”