New Head of Department of Managed Health Care To Focus on Speeding HMO Payments to Medical Groups
In a recent interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Cindy Ehnes, the new director of the Department of Managed Health Care, said she plans to focus on maintaining the financial health of doctors' groups, assuring that HMOs pay physicians promptly and streamlining some health plans' paperwork and licensing requirements (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/6). Ehnes, who was appointed to her position in March by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), previously served as division manager of self-funded health plans for CalPERS. She also has worked as legislative affairs director for the Colorado Commission on Family Medicine and director of enforcement for the Colorado Division of Insurance (California Healthline, 3/17). Ehnes, who as director of DMHC will oversee 90 HMOs with an operating budget of $36 million, is responsible for keeping medical groups solvent and HMOs operating within the law. Ehnes called herself a "strong believer in managed care," but she added that the current responses by health plans to rising costs -- higher "cost-sharing and skinnying benefits" -- are "not really good long-term solution[s]." She said, "I will be spending much of my time as an overseer of the health of this health care system in trying to move toward solutions" (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.