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New Medicaid Commissioner Named

After two years of interim leadership, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services has a permanent Medicaid Commissioner. Lawrence Kissner is the current CEO of Magnolia Health Plan, a managed care operator in Mississippi. He will start as Kentucky's new Medicaid commissioner July 1. The move continues the overhaul Secretary Audrey Haynes began when she took her job in April. Kissner has more than 17 years experience with managed care in Medicaid, according to the cabinet. Kentucky moved to privatized managed care statewide last November, signing contracts with three operators to run the system statewide. Kissner also ran United Healthcare in Kentucky from 2004-2006. United is considered highly likely to apply for a contract to manage Medicaid in the Louisville region when bids open next year. In a statement, Governor Steve Beshear praised the hire. “I’m pleased to welcome Lawrence Kissner as Kentucky Medicaid commissioner,” said Governor Steve Beshear. “He brings the knowledge and experience of both Medicaid and managed care that the Commonwealth needs at this critical time for the program. I believe he will help ensure that the Medicaid program is more cost efficient and, most importantly, more effective in providing high quality care to the Kentuckians we serve.”