TOPEKA — Gov. Sam Brownback on Wednesday appointed an interim secretary for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to replace Susan Mosier, who announced in November she would step down from the embattled agency that partially oversees the state’s Medicaid program.
Darian Dernovish, an attorney for KDHE, will step into the role temporarily until a permanent replacement is found, Brownback spokesman Bob Murray said.
“Darian Dernovish has been very dedicated to KDHE and brings a great deal of leadership and experience to this position as secretary,” Brownback said in a release.“We are grateful for his willingness to step into this role and serve the people of Kansas.”
Brownback also appointed Rep. Greg Lakin, a Wichita Republican and physician, to be KDHE’s chief medical officer. Murray said Lakin wouldn’t necessarily have to step down to take the position. Lakin, who has championed legislation related to the national opioid epidemic, said he hadn’t yet decided whether he would resign from his Kansas House seat.
KDHE oversees the state’s privatized Medicaid program, KanCare, with the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services. The two agencies have drawn criticism for what health advocates see as limited oversight of the private insurance companies administering managed care coverage. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid corroborated some of those claims last year when they initially denied KanCare a one-year extension. KanCare got that one-year extension.
KDHE and KDADS are working to renew KanCare for another five years under new contracts with the managed care organizations. The new program includes work requirements for some recipients and has created concern among beneficiaries.