Tuesday, March 23rd, 2004


* Cohn Chairs Smaller Assembly Health Committee

* Dymally Heads New Budget Subcommittee on Health

* Shewry Returns as DHS Director

* Ehnes Named DMHC Director


Chair Rebecca Cohn and Vice-Chair Todd Spitzer head the new list of the

Assembly Health Committee, with seven less Assemblymembers serving on the

policy committee that reviews many of the bills of interest to health care

advocates. As promised by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, the committee is

smaller, with 18, rather than 25, members. Cohn replaces Assemblyman Dario

Frommer, who now serves as Majority Leader, and is maintaining his seat on

the committee.

Assembly Health Committee

Regular meetings normally Tuesdays, 1:30pm, Room 4202, Capitol

Rebecca Cohn (D-24: Saratoga, Campbell), Chair

Wilma Chan (D-16: Oakland)

Edward Chavez (D-57: La Puente, Industry)

Mervyn Dymally (D-52: Compton)

Dario Frommer (D-43: Los Angeles, Glendale)

Paul Koretz (D-42: West Hollywood)

Sally Lieber (D-22: Mountain View, San Jose)

Cindy Montanez (D-39: San Fernando, Mission Hills)

George Nakano (D-53: Torrance)

Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-61: Chino, Montclair)

Mark Ridley-Thomas (D-48: Los Angeles)

Simon Salinas (D-28: Salinas, Hollister)

Lois Wolk (D-8: Davis, Vacaville)

Todd Spitzer (R-71: Orange), Vice-Chair

Robert Dutton (R-63: Rancho Cucamonga)

Alan Nakanishi (R-10: Lodi)

George Plescia (R-75: San Diego)

Keith Richman (R-38: Northridge, Granada Hills)


Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally now chairs the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on

Health and Human Services, which will review all of the proposed budget cuts

on health care. He replaces Assemblywoman Judy Chu, who now is Chair of the

Assembly Appropriations Committee, and will be a leader in budget

negotiations for the Democratic Caucus along with Assemblyman Darrell

Steinberg, the Chair of the full Assembly Budget Committee. Taking Chu’s

place on the committee is Assemblyman John Laird.

Assembly Budget Subcommittee #1 on Health and Human Services

Regular meetings normally Mondays, 4:00pm, Room 127, Capitol

Mervyn Dymally (D-52: Compton), Chair

Loni Hancock (D-14: Berkeley, El Cerrito)

John Laird (D-27: Santa Cruz, Monterey)

Ray Haynes (R-66: Murrieta, Temecula)

Robert Pacheco (R-60: Walnut, City of Industry)


Darrell Steinberg (D-9: Sacramento), Chair, Budget Committee

Rick Keene (R-3: Chico), Vice-Chair, Budget Committee


Last week, after months of speculation, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

announced the appointment of two directors of critical departments

responsible for health policy. Below are biographies of the two directors,

from the Governor’s press releases announcing the appointment, from his web

site at

Sandra Shewry will start soon as director of the California Department of

Health Services, which among other reponsibilities oversees the Medi-Cal

program that serves over 6.7 million children, families, seniors, and people

with disabilities.

Lucinda “Cindy” Ann Ehnes will return to the Department of Managed Health

Care as the Director. The department is the main regulator of HMOs, PPOs,

and other managed care plans, with a specific mission to protect the

interest of the millions of Californians enrolled in such health coverage.

SANDRA SHEWRY, Director, Department of Health Services (DHS)

For over 20 years, Sandra Shewry has worked in the health care field, a

majority of which was in California state government. She most recently

served as the director of the Health Division for the National Governor’s

Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices in Washington, D.C. Before

joining the NGA, she held several senior health-related positions within

state government. Shewry was a deputy director and then executive director

of the California Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board, which runs the

Healthy Families Program. From 1985 to 1990, she served as an assistant

secretary at the California Health and Welfare Agency (now the California

Health and Human Services Agency). Shewry was a health planning and policy

analyst for the Department of Health Services from 1982 to 1984.

Shewry, 48, earned a Master’s degree in Public Health and a Master’s degree

in Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley and her

Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is a

native of Ferndale, CA, and registered as decline-to-state. This position

requires Senate confirmation and the statutory salary is $123,255.

Shewry will oversee the over 5,000 employees working in its Sacramento

headquarters and the over 60 field offices throughout the state. As part of

its mandate to protect and improve the health of all Californians, the

Department administers a broad range of public and clinical health programs

that provide health care services, including the Medi-Cal Program. The

Department operates under the aegis of the California Health and Human

Services Agency.

CINDY EHNES, Director, Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC)

Since December 2003, Ehnes has served as the division manager of Self-Funded

Health Plans at the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS).

Prior to that, she was the deputy director of plan and provider relations at

the Department of Managed Health Care and the interim executive officer for

the California Board of Optometry. Ehnes also served as the legislative

affairs director for the Commission on Family Medicine in Colorado for two

years and from 1997 to 2000 as the director of enforcement for the Colorado

Division of Insurance. From 1978 to 1984 and again from 1988 to 1996, she

was an attorney in private practice. She served as the vice president of

development for the National Sports Center for the Disabled from 1984 to

1988 and was the chairwoman of the board and consumer representative for

CoverColorado Health Plan from 1990 to 1997.

Ehnes, 53, of Fair Oaks, CA, has a Juris Doctorate from Catholic University

Law School and a Bachelor of Arts degree from George Washington University.

She is a registered Democrat. The statutory salary for this position is

$123,255 and it requires Senate confirmation.

The California Department of Managed Health Care was launched on July 1,

2000 to ensure high quality prevention and health care for Californians

enrolled in managed health care plans. The Department is responsible for the

licensing and accountability of managed care plans through the enforcement

of prevention and care laws, providing an annual report card on quality care

under managed care, developing a public education campaign so consumers know

their rights under managed care plans, and for the development of a

third-party grievance system for consumers. The Department is under the

jurisdiction of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.

Anthony E. Wright

Executive Director

Health Access

1127 11th St., #234, Sacramento, CA 95814

Ph: 916-442-2308, Fx: 916-497-0921

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.
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