New division chief at DHS -- UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New division chief at DHS -- UPDATE

Posted By on Tue, Dec 22, 2009 at 1:09 PM

The former head of Iowa's Medicaid program has been hired to head Arkansas's Division of Medical Services in DHS. Long-time head Roy Jeffus, a 31-year veteran of the deparment, is departing the job, a big one.

This has not been cast as a retirement.

I asked DHS spokesperson Julie Munsell if Jeffus was forced out. Her response:

"It’s my understanding that there has been an ongoing conversation on the strategic direction of the program for quite some time, but the conversation and decision to move in this direction happened late yesterday."

He apparently was given four weeks' notice.

And what is the new strategic direction, I asked Munsell:

"Direction was not the most accurate description- it’s really more of a development of the strategic plan to build on what has been done already. As you know and have written extensively, healthcare is at a precarious crossroads and not just in Arkansas.  The department needs to construct a clear path to help navigate through this discussion and Mr. Jeffus has led this effort for the last six years and now he will pass the baton, if you will, on to Mr. Gessow."

UPDATE: A friend notes that the new man in charge of Ark. Medicaid ran into confirmation problems in Iowa, thanks to the Iowa Republican senatorial caucus. Depending on your view, that could be a compliment. A quick scan indicates he may have been a collateral casualty.

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