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May 21, 2019

18 months, 4 Medicaid directors: Traylor becomes the latest Medicaid director to resign

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    Chris Traylor, CMS' deputy administrator and director of the agency's Center for Medicaid and CHIP, on Friday announced he is stepping down from his role at the end of May, making him the fourth individual to leave the position in the past 18 months.

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    Brian Neale in February 2018 resigned from the role after approving the first state Medicaid waiver to implement work requirements. After Neale's resignation, Tim Hill, who has held many senior roles at CMS, served as acting director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP.

    Mary Mayhew, the former commissioner of Maine's Department of Health and Human Services, in October 2018 took over as CMS' deputy administrator and director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP. But Traylor in January 2019 replaced Mayhew after she resigned from the post to run Florida's health care agency.

    Traylor resigns from post

    Traylor in an email to CMS staff wrote that he is leaving the agency due to personal family matters, according to Inside Health Policy. He expects to depart from CMS and return home to Texas on May 31.

    Traylor in the email wrote, "The opportunity to work with the caliber of professional at CMS and specifically at [the Center for Medicaid and CHIP] is privilege which few are able to experience. I am grateful for the counsel, education, and friendship extended to me by all of you."

    CMS Administrator Seema Verma in a statement said Traylor has had a lasting impact on CMS.

    A CMS official said Calder Lynch, Verma's senior counselor, will serve as the acting director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP when Traylor departs.

    Expert says longtime officials' departures 'is concerning'

    Joan Alker, a research professor at Georgetown University who specializes in Medicaid, said the departure of longtime CMS officials is troubling, Inside Health Policy reports.

    Alker said, "The clear loss of institutional knowledge from the department is concerning. These are troubling developments. Medicaid has only become more important and the [Trump] administration is losing much of its experience level. Some of these major programs are life or death" (Cirruzzo, Inside Health Policy, 5/17 [subscription required]; Raman, CQ News, 5/7 [subscription required]).

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