CDCAN: DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH CARE SERVICES DIRECTOR TOBY DOUGLAS TO LEAVE POST IN JANUARY

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH CARE SERVICES DIRECTOR TOBY DOUGLAS TO LEAVE POST IN JANUARY – CALIFORNIA HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES AGENCY SECRETARY DIANA DOOLEY PRAISES DOUGLAS FOR HIS WORK IN REFORMING AND IMPROVING MEDI-CAL PROGRAM
 
SACRAMENTO, CA [CDCAN LAST UPDATED 09/12/2014 – 11:44 AM] – Toby Douglas, director of the Department of Health Care Services – the key state agency that oversees California’s enormous Medi-Cal program – announced today that he will be leaving his post and state service in January, after 9 years serving in the department, including the past 4 years as director. While making no mention of any specific future plans, Douglas said in his announcement that he plans to leave state service and find “…a new leadership role in health care that allows me to continue contributing to and improving health care quality and outcomes” while “…giving me more time to devote to the joys of family life.”
    Douglas, who was appointed to head the department on January 7, 2011 by Governor Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown, Jr., in his announcement said that “…the time is right for me to move on and hand the reins to a new director and our talented [Department of Health Care Services] leadership team.” 
    California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Diana Dooley, who heads the agency that oversees the department and other health and human services related departments, will soon begin a search process to identify candidates for the Governor to consider who have “…proven leadership capacity to guide the department responsible for the nation’s largest Medicaid program”.
    Secretary Dooley praised Douglas in a statement released today, saying she had “immense respect” and “deep appreciation” for his service to the people of California and “more than a small measure of sadness” in his departure in January.
    Dooley said that Douglas led the Medi-Cal program through “unprecedented change and growth” as California embraced federal health care reform and  “…leaves a very large footprint on the landscape of California health care.”
    She said that “…we will all miss his intelligence, passion, leadership and energy” at the Department of Health Care Services. and for his success in reforming and improving the Medi-Cal program that now numbers 11 million children and adults, including millions who were previously uninsured.
    Douglas has been generally widely praised by policymakers and health, disability and senior rights advocates for his work at the department, though also had his share of critics, as many department directors did, during the years when the State faced billions of dollars in budget shortfalls and the greatest recession since the 1930’s, that resulted in implementation of enormous sweeping budget reductions to Medi-Cal and other health programs. 
    The implementation, under Douglas’ leadership,  of the “Coordinated Care Initiative” in 8 counties that is meant to coordinate health care and long term services and supports for hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities and seniors, and the general shift of over 75% of the Medi-Cal population into Medi-Cal managed health care plans that the Legislature approved as part of the Governor’s budgets over the past several years, also has drawn praise from many policymakers and advocates – but also generated major concerns and criticisms from many other advocates and policymakers.
    Secretary Dooley said however, that the implementation guided by Douglas in the reforms to the Medi-Cal program and the expansion of Medi-Cal managed care health care to all 58 California counties means Medi-Cal recipients “…enjoy a more coordinated, integrated system of care provided…” and noted a recent Field Poll that showed public appreciation of the Medi-Cal program “…on the rise.”
    Dooley’s reference was to Field Poll, released August 19, 2014, that included among other positive ratings of the State’s implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act, and showed 63% of Californians who believed that the State was successful in its efforts to expand Medi-Cal to extend health insurance to more low-income Californians. The survey showed 21% who felt the State was not successful. 
 
DOUGLAS BEGAN SERVICE IN THE DEPARMTNET IN 2005
   The Department of Health Care Services employs 3,683 people and manages a budget of more than $70 billion in federal and state and other public funds.  It is by far the single largest department of the 12 departments under the California Health and Human Services Agency, and administers statewide the nation’s largest Medicaid program.   
    Before being named director in January 2011, Douglas was chief deputy director since 2009 and held leadership positions in the department since 2005.
    From 2001 to 2005, Douglas was a senior manager of activities related to health access, policy, and planning at the San Mateo County Health Department.  Prior to that, he was a research associate at the Urban Institute, a non-partisan, social policy research organization in Washington, D.C., and an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer.
    Douglas graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a bachelor’s degree in economics.  He also earned master’s degrees in public health and public policy from UC Berkeley.
   
TEXT OF MESSAGE FROM DIRECTOR DOUGLAS:
The following is the complete text of the announcement released by Director Toby Douglas regarding his stepping down as director in January:
 
    For the past nine years at DHCS [Department of Health Care Services], with the past four as Director, I’ve enjoyed the unique relationship between our department and you, our stakeholders.  It is a rewarding and fruitful relationship, one that challenges us to gain new understandings and to sometimes change as we work together in pursuit of better ways to meet the health care needs of Californians.  I recognize and appreciate this relationship as an absolutely essential element of our collective success.
    So, it is with mixed emotions that I announce to you today that I will leave DHCS in January and begin a new phase in my life and career.  I enjoy my current role immensely, and I’m grateful to the Governor, Secretary Diana Dooley, and to all of the dedicated DHCS employees who do the real work of making quality health care accessible.  But, I also recognize the time is right for me to move on and hand the reins to a new Director and our talented DHCS leadership team.
    I plan to focus on finding a new leadership role in health care that allows me to continue contributing to and improving health care quality and outcomes.  As I depart, I do so knowing that DHCS is in a strong position to continue succeeding, largely because of the knowledge we gain from you – our committed stakeholders.
    I have a deep respect for all of you as you tirelessly work to help make us better,  pushing us to do more on behalf of those in need.  A highlight of this would be the collaboration between you and DHCS during the implementation of federal health care reform.  Your input was invaluable to the effort, and it helped California stand out as a leader in this nationwide effort.
    Secretary Dooley will soon begin her process to find candidates for the next DHCS Director.  She’ll seek leaders with extensive experience in health care policy and with the proven leadership skills to guide a department with such great responsibility.  That person will be very fortunate to work with such a dedicated group of stakeholders.
    I’m certain that when I begin the next step of my career, our paths will cross again.  I’m also very sure that, once again, I’ll look to many of you for guidance and support in our mutual endeavors.  Thank you for caring about health care in California, and for making sure that we uphold our obligations to those who depend upon Medi-Cal and all of our DHCS programs.
    Sincerely,
    Toby Douglas
 
TEXT OF STATEMENT RELEASED TODAY BY SECRETARY DOOLEY
The following is the complete text of a 2 page statement released today regarding the announcement of Toby Douglas’ departure in January as head of the Department of Health Care Services:
 
September 12, 2014
 
Dear Colleagues,
    It is with immense respect, deep appreciation and more than a small measure of sadness that I share the news that Toby Douglas will step down as Director of the Department of Health Care Services by the end of the year, ending a four-year term during which he led the state’s Medi-Cal program through unprecedented change and growth as California embraced the Affordable Care Act and expanded coverage for millions of uninsured residents.
    As you know, Toby was one of the Governor’s earliest appointments on January 7, 2011 and had served in various leadership positions at the Department since 2005.  The dynamic growth during his time as Director saw the addition of 3.5 million new Medi-Cal members, bringing the total current enrollment to more than 11 million.  He also guided the expansion of Medi-Cal managed care into every California county.  Today, 76 percent of Medi-Cal members enjoy a more coordinated, integrated system of care provided through a managed care health plan.  And as you may have noticed in last week’s Field Poll, the public appreciation of Medi-Cal is on the rise.
    In advising me of his decision, Toby said, “Serving as Director of this Department has been exciting, rewarding and an incredible honor.  I truly have mixed emotions about leaving a place where thousands of dedicated public servants work so cooperatively with committed, passionate stakeholders to improve California’s health care safety net.  But I feel it’s time for new challenges.  I will begin my search for a new professional opportunity that will allow me to continue to work for improvement in the quality of health care and health outcomes, while giving me more time to devote to the joys of family life.”
    In addition to the success Toby has had in reforming and improving the Medi-Cal program, he has fostered a strong leadership team that will ensure a smooth transition, as well as continue our momentum toward achieving our ambitious policy initiatives.  I will soon begin a process to identify candidates for the Governor’s consideration who have essential experience in health care policy at high levels, as well as the proven leadership capacity to guide a department responsible for the nation’s largest Medicaid program.
    Toby leaves a very large footprint on the landscape of California health care and we will all miss his intelligence, passion, leadership and energy at the Department, but we are very fortunate that Toby will take his considerable talents into the private sector and continue as a partner in the work of transforming health and health care in California.
    Sincerely
    [signed]
    Diana Dooley
    Secretary [California Health and Human Services Agency]
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