Welcome to Arkansas
Florida’s loss is this state’s gain
NEVER MIND a new sheriff in town. That’s an easy job. At least compared to figuring out all this health-care insurance, Medicaid expansion, 138-percent-above-the-poverty-line, Internet exchanges, and the much needed cleansing of the Medicaid rolls. No wonder this thing’s a confusing mess. It might take a doctorate in bureaucracy just to understand half of it.
Now comes Rose Murray Naff into our state to help. May the road rise to meet her.
According to the news release announcing Ms. Naff’s appointment: “We recognized that our next [director of the Department of Medical Services] needed a unique résumé— Medicaid, managed care and insurance— to successfully oversee the implementation of our Arkansas Medicaid reforms that no other state is doing.” Which means she may be the right fit for this challenging job.
Or as the news release concluded: “We’re delighted Rose is joining our Medicaid leadership team at this critical time.” So should be the citizens and taxpayers of this state. Welcome! (May we suggest a tomato garden in the spring and a day trip through the Ozarks in the fall.)
Rose Naff would seem suited to bring this state’s Medicaid system into a new and better era after she left the program dubbed Florida Healthy Kids a decade ago. Then she supervised that state’s Department of Business and Regulation and some outfit called Florida Health Choices. So she’s no novice when it comes to business-like management. She seems to have been involved in big operations and small ones, and may be one more person who has experience with what works and, maybe more importantly, what does not.
Now she’s quoted as saying that she’s “truly excited to be joining the team [and] . . . Governor Hutchinson’s administration. The challenges Arkansas faces . . . are not new to me. My experience with significant implementations and ongoing operations will be a good fit.” In addition, she already speaks the corporate lingo fluently.
What’s more, Ms. Naff adds, her mother, grandfather and great-grandmother were all Arkansans. So she’s family. Doesn’t everybody have an Arkansas connection?
The redesign of the department that lies ahead won’t be easy. Some 60,000 people now in the Medicaid program, aka Arkansas Works, will have to be moved off the books. transferring some responsibilities to managed care companies, at least for dental work, etc. etc. It’ll be a new world as well as a new lingo for many Arkansans, but Ms. Naff will surely be another helping hand to guide the rest of us through this maze. And a lot of us need all the help we can get.