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The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services named an interim leader for the state’s $14-billion Medicaid system, after the massive state program’s leader announced she was stepping down.

Sandy Terrell, a registered nurse who has been with the agency since December 2010, will step in to lead the Medicaid system’s Division of Medical Assistance following the resignation of Carol Steckel, an experienced Medicaid administrator who announced her resignation last week, according to a news release from the agency.

Steckel had been recruited less than nine months earlier by DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos to help with one of Gov. Pat McCrory’s top priorities of pushing the state into a new Medicaid model open to contracting out services to private health care plans.

Terrell had been the agency’s interim chief operating officer, and before that had served as the agency’s assistant director of clinical policy and programs.

Steckel is leaving to take a job in Florida with Wellcare Health Plans, a managed care company.

In light of the potential for a conflict of interest, Steckel has bowed out of any work related to the Medicaid reform effort until she leaves, on Oct. 11.

 

The state’s Medicaid director is out, after only eight months on the job.

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Carol Steckel

Carol Steckel submitted her resignation later Monday, saying she would stay on the North Carolina job no longer than Oct 11. The state agency issues a press release Monday saying Steckel was leaving to take a job with WellCare Health Plans in Florida.

She was hired to help usher the state into a new way of running the multi-billion Medicaid program which provides care for some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens, including low income children and the severely disabled.

Steckel was one of Wos’ most significant hires at DHHS, and came to North Carolina after having administered Medicaid programs in both Alabama and Louisiana. Her departure comes as Wos and Gov. Pat McCrory have promised overhauling the state’s Medicaid system, though details of the plans haven’t been made public.

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