Overseer hired for Medicaid
Floridian tapped to lead DHS unit
The chief of a Florida health insurance exchange that has sought to provide an alternative to healthcare. gov has been hired to direct the agency in charge of Arkansas’ Medicaid program, state officials announced Thursday.
Rose Murray Naff, 59, will take over Aug. 14 as director of the Department of Human Services’ Medical Services Division.
She will earn an annual salary of $115,000, department spokesman Brandi Hinkle said.
Naff will take over duties that have been handled on an interim basis by Dawn Stehle, the Department of Human Services’ deputy director for health and Medicaid.
Since 2010, Naff has been executive director of Florida Health Choices, which “was established by Republican leadership in the Florida Legislature prior to the Affordable Care Act to develop innovative insurance products and affordable, quality health care for individuals and small businesses,” according to the news release announcing her appointment.
She also spent 18 years as director of Florida Healthy Kids, which provided coverage to 1 million children and became a model for the national Children’s Health Insurance Program, known
in Arkansas as ARKids First.
“We recognized that our next DMS Director needed a unique resume — Medicaid, managed care and insurance — to successfully oversee the implementation of our Arkansas Medicaid reforms that no other state is doing,” Stehle said in a news release.
“We’re delighted Rose is joining our Medicaid leadership team at this critical time.”
Unlike healthcare.gov and other exchanges established under the 2010 federal health care law, Florida Health Choices does not offer subsidies to low-income consumers.
As of June, it was serving about 700 customers, according to a report by the Florida Times-Union.
By comparison, more than 1.7 million Floridians were enrolled in coverage through healthcare.gov as Jan. 31, according to the Menlo Park, Calif.,-based Kaiser Family Foundation.
The Times-Union reported that the Florida
exchange’s board was considering closing the organization after Gov. Rick Scott vetoed $250,000 in annual funding that state lawmakers had allocated to keep the exchange afloat.
After stepping down from Florida Healthy Kids in 2007, Naff served as chief performance officer in the Florida Department of Business and Regulation, according to the Human Services Department news release.
In the news release, she said she’s “truly excited to be joining the team at DHS and Governor [Asa] Hutchinson’s administration.”
“The challenges Arkansas faces in DMS are not new to me,” Naff said. “My experience with significant implementations and ongoing operations will be a good fit.”
She added that her “mother, grandfather and great grandmother were all Arkansans.”
Hinkle said Human Services Department Director Cindy Gillespie wasn’t concerned about Naff’s experience with the Florida exchange.
“This is a very different thing we have here in Arkansas,” Hinkle said.
Arkansas’ Medicaid program provides coverage to almost 1 million low-income residents — about a third of the state’s population.
The program’s budget for the fiscal year that began July 1 is about $7.6 billion, with $5.9 billion coming from the federal government and the rest coming from the state.
Naff will “redesign” the Medical Services Division in preparation for several planned changes, according to the news release.
Those include moving about 60,000 people off the expanded part of the state’s Medicaid program, known as Arkansas Works; transferring responsibility to managed-care companies to provide dental benefits for Medicaid recipients; and hiring provider-owned companies to provide services for the developmentally disabled and mentally ill.
Stehle, director of the Medical Services Division since 2014, was promoted to the deputy director job in August of last year.
Since then she has continued to serve as interim Medical Services Division director while also supervising department divisions responsible for accepting applications for government assistance and for serving the elderly, developmentally disabled and mentally ill.