Six Directors Chosen for Inaugural Medicaid Leadership Institute

June 24, 2009

Hamilton, NJ - The Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) today announced that six Medicaid directors have been chosen to participate in the inaugural class of the Medicaid Leadership Institute. 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.

"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 for every taxpayer dollar invested in publicly financed health care."

Medicaid directors competitively selected to participate in the executive leadership development program are:

  • Toby Douglas, California
  • Carolyn Ingram, New Mexico
  • MaryAnne Lindeblad, Washington
  • Lynn Mitchell, Oklahoma
  • Carol Steckel, Alabama
  • Sandeep Wadhwa, Colorado

Medicaid plays a huge, often underappreciated role in the U.S. health care system. It provides care for over 65 million Americans and it is second only to Medicare as a payer for health care. Medicaid represents nearly 15 percent of all health care spending in the U.S. at approximately $360 billion annually. It is the largest portion of total spending in most states, accounting for 21 percent on average of state expenditures.

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 run by CHCS 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," said Ms. Bella. "They will 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 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.

Applications for the second class of the Medicaid Leadership Institute will be available online at in late 2009, with the second class slated to begin in July 2010.

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