FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 27, 2012) — Lawrence Kissner has been named Commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services, announced Audrey Tayse Haynes, secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Service.
Kissner brings an extensive background in the health care field to the post, and will officially begin his duties July 1.
“I’m pleased to welcome Lawrence Kissner as Kentucky Medicaid commissioner,” said Gov. 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.”
A graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor’s in business administration, Kissner has nearly 30 years of experience in the private insurance industry, including more than 17 years specifically in managed care. Most recently he served as the president and CEO of Magnolia Health Plan in Jackson, Miss., one of two managed care companies that provide insurance for Medicaid beneficiaries served by that state’s coordinated access network program. Kissner also has strong ties to Kentucky, having served as president and CEO of UnitedHealthcare of Kentucky from 2004 to 2006, and he has maintained a home in Lexington since that time.
Kissner will oversee the day-to-day management of the state’s Medicaid program, which serves more than 800,000 vulnerable Kentuckians and has an annual budget of approximately $6 billion.
“This is an exciting and challenging time for the Kentucky Medicaid program,” he said. “The transition to managed care presents us with many opportunities to move the health needle in the right direction, while also helping to manage costs in a way that will preserve this vital health safety net for the long-term.”
Acting commissioner Neville Wise, a career state employee who has spent more than 22 years in various positions within the Medicaid program, will remain with the Department for Medicaid Services.