Under the Dome

NC starts Medicaid transition

The new division that will eventually be responsible for overseeing the state’s Medicaid program has its first employee.

Dee Jones, director of operations in the existing Medicaid office, has moved to the new Division of Health Benefits, where she retains her title.

The legislature voted this year to privatize Medicaid, the government health insurance program the poor, elderly and disabled. That process is expected to take years — the state has to write up a plan, the federal government must approve it, and the state must enter into contracts with companies that will provide and oversee health care.

Once that all happens, the existing Medicaid office, called the Division of Medical Assistance, will dissolve and will be replaced with the Division of Health Benefits.

State Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Rick Brajer sent an email today about the appointment:

With recent legislation, the General Assembly established the new DHHS Division of Health Benefits to reform health care delivery in North Carolina, while moving Medicaid to an outcome-driven, capitated model. As always, it is critical to have key talent in the right roles, at the right time, to establish success from the earliest phases of this important initiative.

I am pleased to announce that Dee Jones will serve in the key leadership role of Chief Operating Officer for the Division of Health Benefits. Dee has a unique set of skills and experience, gained in both the private and public sectors, which apply directly to the operations, project management, analytical and customer service leadership required in this role. The bulk of Dee’s career has been in the private sector, where she developed a strong business and operational acumen and strong collaboration skills. For more than 11 years in the private sector, Dee worked with a broad client base of providers and diverse customers. Her variety of roles included Division Controller; Senior Director, Operations Support; and Senior Director, Real Estate and Special Projects.

In Dee’s time in North Carolina state government, she’s already made significant contributions. As the Chief Operating Officer for the NC Department of Administration, she elevated customer service delivery, directed the continuation of the Procurement Transformation and restructured divisions to ensure sustainability for the future. Additionally, Dee was instrumental in helping a tremendous number of people by leading the outreach and operations efforts of the Eugenics Compensation program. Most recently, she served as Director of Operations with the Division of Medical Assistance (DMA), where she led Provider Services, Beneficiary Services, the DMA Call Center, Regulatory Affairs, Hearings and Appeals and Procurement and Contracts.

As we embark on this transformational journey, Dee’s knowledge of process standardization, system implementation, operations, finance and project management, coupled with her prior experiences as a COO across private and public sectors, will ensure a successful beginning for Division of Health Benefits.

As Dee begins the process of establishing the Division Health Benefits, she will report directly to me. She is transitioning her existing workload and will be fully dedicated to Division of Health Benefits effective immediately.