SACRAMENTO: Gov. Gray Davis Announces New Director
California Gov. Gray Davis (D) "puzzled many in the managed-care industry" when he announced AIDS activist Daniel Zingale will be the state's first director of the new Department of Managed Care. Most had expected Davis to appoint someone "already familiar" with California's health industry troubles. But the governor's spokesperson Michael Bustamante said Zingale was selected because of his understanding of both health-care advocacy and the needs of business, saying, "The governor is interested not only in delivering good quality health care, but in doing so in a way that makes good business sense for the HMOs. Mr. Zingale knows how to merge the two together." Activists familiar with Zingale's track record are pleased with Davis' decision. Los Angeles' Center for Health Care Rights Executive Director Peter Lee said, "It's a fantastic appointment for consumers. It's all that Californians could hope for." Noting Zingale's previous work with Davis in the state controller's office, Lee added, "And with this appointment we have someone who has a direct connection to the governor." Although the new department will not legally exist until July 2000, the work is already beginning to build. Zingale, relocating from Washington, D.C., will have to establish an entire bureaucracy, develop a system for evaluating and overseeing HMOs' benefits and finances and create a framework outlining the financial regulations for hundreds of physician groups upon which the state's managed care system operates (Bernstein, Los Angeles Times, 12/7). Proposed by Gov. Davis, the Department of Managed Care was created by AB 78 for the purposes of licensing and regulating managed care in the state (Davis release, 12/6).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.