Acting Assistant Secretary Amanda Cassel Kraft named new MassHealth Director

Boston Statehouse
Amanda Cassel Kraft

Amanda Cassel Kraft (SHNS)

BOSTON (SHNS) – Acting Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Services Amanda Cassel Kraft will take over the permanent responsibility of running the state’s $19 billion Medicaid program, named by the Baker administration Monday as its next director of MassHealth.

Cassel Kraft took over as head of MassHealth in June on a temporary basis when the program’s longtime director Dan Tsai left to join the Biden administration as deputy administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said Cassel Kraft’s permanent appointment takes effect immediately, and comes as the state is preparing to submit its next 1115 Medicaid waiver to CMS for review in November.

The waiver process governs how the state can spend billions of dollars in federal reimbursements to modernize and reform MassHealth, which provides health insurance coverage to more than 2 million Bay State residents. The waiver, according to the administration, will seek to continue to grow value-based payments for services and address health equity and behavioral health needs.

“Assistant Secretary Cassel Kraft’s combination of deep knowledge of Medicaid policy and strong management skills will ensure that we maintain our position as an innovative national leader in public health care coverage,” Sudders said in a statement.

Cassel Kraft will also be charged with overseeing the investment of $500 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds for home and community-based services. A graduate of Stanford University and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Cassel Kraft has worked at MassHealth since 2011.

Prior to be being named acting assistant secretary, she was deputy Medicaid director, overseeing areas that included pharmacy and provider networks, behavioral health, federal and eligibility policy, member experience and engagement, children, youth and families, and safety net programs. Cassel Kraft was the co-founder of TurboVote, and worked for nearly four years, ending in 2009, as program officer at The Women’s Foundation of California, according to her LinkedIn profile.

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