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KanCare Architect Moser Stepping Down From KDHE Post

KHI News Service

Dr. Robert Moser has resigned as secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

His resignation will be effective at the end of the month.

Moser broke the news to the agency’s staff late Monday afternoon in an email.

“I am stepping down from my current position as KDHE secretary and state health officer effective the end of November,” Moser said.

Moser said “it was a hard decision” to leave the state’s public health and Medicaid agency.

“However, it is the right time for me and my family to look at other opportunities,” he said.

Moser was not immediately available for additional comment.

It’s not unusual to have turnover on a governor’s Cabinet prior to the start of a second term.

Moser took the reins of KDHE in January of 2011 at the age of 52. Prior to that, he practiced medicine for 22 years in his southwest Kansas hometown of Tribune.

Moser earned pharmacy and medical degrees from the University of Kansas.

As secretary, Moser helped to oversee the dismantling of the Kansas Health Policy Authority and the relocation of the Medicaid program to KDHE. He also was instrumental in the creation of KanCare, the Brownback administration’s privatization of Medicaid.

Since January of 2013, the $3.2 billion program has been administered by three for-profit managed care companies.

Moser said putting all Medicaid enrollees into managed care would allow the state to provide better, more coordinated care.

“There will be an intense focus on data as we hold ourselves accountable through the performance of our care organizations,” he said at a November 2011 news conference.

Moser and other Brownback administration officials have said that despite some persistent administrative problems, KanCare is on track to achieve its twin goals of reducing costs and improving care. But nearly two years after its launch, providers from across the state continue to complain about late payments and difficulties getting the managed care organizations to authorize needed services.

Moser was criticized last spring for approving what appeared to be a political appointment to a high-level job overseeing the financial performance of KanCare. Former Republican Rep. Phil Hermanson landed the inspector general’s job despite not having any relevant education or training. He resigned a few weeks into the job after questions also were raised about his previous legal and financial problems.

Jim McLean is a political correspondent for the Kansas News Service, a collaboration based at KCUR with other public media stations across Kansas. You can email him at jim@kcur.org.
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