Douglas Resigns as DHCS Director

Toby Douglas announced his resignation today as director of California’s embattled Department of Health Care Services.

Appointed director by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) in 2011, Douglas oversaw tumultuous change in the growing department as the state expanded its Medicaid program and launched several initiatives as part of California’s response to the Affordable Care Act.

Douglas, in an email Friday announcing his resignation to stakeholders, said he plans to leave the post in January.

“It is with mixed emotions that I announce to you today that I will leave DHCS in January and begin a new phase in my life and career,” Douglas wrote. “I plan to focus on finding a new leadership role in health care that allows me to continue contributing to and improving health care quality and outcomes. As I depart, I do so knowing that DHCS is in a strong position to continue succeeding, largely because of the knowledge we gain from you — our committed stakeholders.”

California HHS Secretary Diana Dooley in a statement to state officials wrote, “It is with immense respect, deep appreciation and more than a small measure of sadness that I share the news that Toby Douglas will step down as director of the Department of Health Care Services by the end of the year.”

Douglas’ tenure as director was marked by criticism and controversy from legislators, stakeholders and consumer advocates reacting to rapid, profound changes in Medi-Cal, Medicare, adult day health programs and computer and technological changes associated with them. Medi-Cal is California’s Medicaid program. Last week, DHCS launched a comprehensive initiative to reinvent itself, seeking input from stakeholders and consumers about how the department could improve.  

Dooley ended her letter: “Toby leaves a very large footprint on the landscape of California health care and we will all miss his intelligence, passion, leadership and energy at the department, but we are very fortunate that Toby will take his considerable talents into the private sector and continue as a partner in the work of transforming health and health care in California.”

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