CMS hires Mass. Medicaid Chief Tsai

Health

BOSTON (SHNS) – MassHealth director Dan Tsai is moving on after more than six years running the state’s Medicaid program to join the Biden administration as deputy administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The Baker administration announced Tsai’s departure, effective June 29, on Monday. In his new role, the state’s longest-serving Medicaid chief in almost 20 years will take on the role of director for the Center for Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program Services.

“It has been my utmost privilege over the past six and half years to serve the 2 million individuals and families who rely on MassHealth for critical health insurance coverage and supports,” Tsai said in a statement. Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders credited Tsai with implementing “the most significant restructuring of MassHealth in decades,” and helping to slow the rate of cost growth in the program to single digits after years of double-digit growth.

More recently, Tsai filled in for Sudders overseeing day-to-day operations of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services while the secretary led the administration’s COVID-19 Command Center and helped steer the state’s response to COVID-19.

Deputy MassHealth Director Amanda Cassel Kraft will step up to fill Tsai’s role as assistant secretary for MassHealth. She’s a graduate of both Stanford University and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. The administration credited Tsai with helping to negotiate a major Medicaid waiver with the Obama administration that resulted in $1 billion in annual funding for safety net programs and to help maintain the state’s high health insurance coverage rate, while also shifting the care delivery system away from fee-for-service toward accountable care organizations.

While at Medicaid, Tsai also helped invest $219 million over five years in substance use disorder treatment, and increased reimbursement rates for behavioral health providers and federally qualified community health centers each by $100 million a year, the administration said.

Prior to joining the Baker administration at the start of the governor’s first term in 2015, Tsai worked as a health cae consultant for McKinsey & Company. 

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