By Marc Kovac
Gov. John Kasich signed an executive order Thursday establishing a statewide office to oversee the consolidation of Medicaid and health-related programs at the state level.
The new Office of Health Transformation will be headed by Greg Moody, a former executive assistant to Republican Gov. Bob Taft and now consultant for a health management firm. He also worked on the U.S. House’s budget committee under Kasich.
Moody will oversee restructuring efforts in the departments of health, aging, alcohol and drug addiction services, mental health, developmental disabilities and Job and Family Services, with an eye toward cutting costs — particularly Medicaid.
That program, which provides services for the needy, accounts for about one-third of total state spending.
According to the executive order signed by Kasich, “Medicaid is the largest health payer in Ohio, with 60 million claims paid to 89,000 health-care providers who served 2.4 million Ohioans in 2010. Medicaid spending is growing at an unsustainable rate, four times faster than the Ohio economy over the past four years.”
“We have the Medicaid program being run in five or six different entities of the government,” Kasich said. “That doesn’t work. That is not going to happen anymore.”
Kasich said the new office will oversee all Medicaid programming and will work to increase reimbursements for preventive and primary care services.
“We do know that people can have more effective treatment and at the same time can yield us significant savings,” he said. “But you have to think differently.”
Kasich also named several other agency directors Thursday:
Ted Wymyslo, former director of the family residency program at Miami Valley Hospital in the Dayton area, will head the Ohio Department of Health.
Bonnie Kantor-Burman, former director of the Office of Geriatrics and Gerontology at the Ohio State University Health Sciences Center and current executive director of the national Pioneer Network, will head the Department of Aging.
John McCarthy, Medicaid director in the District of Columbia, will head the Office of Ohio Health Plans (Medicaid).