The California Department of Managed Health Care Director Cindy Ehnes talked about DMHC’s record of accomplishments and milestones on their 10-year anniversary to a crowd of well-wishers last week. My colleagues Anthony Wright, Health Access Executive Director, and Beth Capell, Legislative Advocate, both spoke of the creation of the agency, its unique role nationally and in the state, and the long list of hard-fought achievements brought to reality by the DMHC leadership and staff. There were many luminaries in attendance to mark the event, and some distinguished guests with whom we were at swords’ points only a matter of months ago over the consumer perspective on a particular policy. However, all in all, it was a convivial occasion.
I also attended the 10-year anniversary event and I especially enjoyed it. In the five years since I have worked for Health Access I have had the role of Director of Administrative Advocacy. This means I work with state agencies, including DMHC, to give testimony at public hearings and in written documents on their proposed regulations representing the consumer perspective. To be sure, we have not always agreed. However, I have had the privilege of having working directly with the fine managers and staff at DMHC who make all of this a reality. They include current and former managers and staff (in alphabetical order, to show no preference): Emilie Alvarez, Ellen Badley (recently returned!), Warren Barnes, Susan Burger, Suzanne Chammout, Ed Heidig, Christina Hooke, Tim LeBas, Sherri Lowenstein, Rick Martin, Maureen McKennan, Braulio Montesino, Lynne Randolph, Bobbie Reagan and many others. It is truly a distinguished crew!
So, at the occasion where all were commemorating the accomplishments of the DMHC in its first decade, I think Anthony hit the right note: There are many things for them to be proud of, but with many key features of health care reform soon to be effective with the six-month anniversary of the health care reform law being signed, DMHC is facing many new challenges and responsibilities. We are confident that they are undertaking their enhanced role with intelligence and enthusiasm and the “The Best is Yet to Come!”
Congratulations from all of us at Health Access!