A timely salute to a public servant…

As part of the transition to the new Brown Administration, Cindy Ehnes is stepping down as the head of the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC). I was pleased to speak last night at Cindy’s farewell party, alongside the head of the HMO Association.

Cindy had previously served as a consumer representative in Colorado, and we have appreciated her accessibility and availability for consumer and constituency groups over her tenure. We’ve often supported the DMHC’s work, but when we haven’t, she’s been always willing to talk and meet. On one contentious issue, I recalled one conference call with her on the awkward date of December 23rd. It was good of her to have the meeting–and yes, she remembered it was two-and-a-half hours. Even when we disagreed, we knew she cared about the patients.

While Daniel Zingale did major lifting in getting the new Department of Managed Health Care up and running ten years ago, he left a full portfolio of issues for Cindy. For seven years, she has worked through these tough issues, clearing the slate for the work of a new director to implement the new federal health law. Her work includes overseeing the implementation of many landmark, in some cases first-in-the-nation, consumer protections, from ensuring language access to preventing rescissions to cracking down on fradulent “discount” health plans.

Most recently, new rules on waiting times for getting an appointment have started to come online. This video features her explaining the importance of the new regulations:

Most of all, Cindy and her colleagues at the DMHC and in state government deserve to be saluted for their public service–in my mind the highest calling. Despite the recent rash of some folks who happen to have large megaphones have saying uncharitable things about public servants and government in general, the truth is the vast majority of people appreciate the work done not for profit but on behalf of the people. The DMHC, its director, and its staff helps people get the care they need, when they need it–and that is greatly appreciated, and should be honored.

We thank Cindy for her service, and continue to look forward working with the DMHC.

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