OLYMPIA – After a nationwide search, Health Care Authority (HCA) Director Sue Birch has selected Dr. Charissa Fotinos as the new state Medicaid director. Dr. Fotinos will also continue to serve as HCA behavioral health medical director, the position she held previously.
State Medicaid directors oversee Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which are programs governed by federal rules but administered by and tailored to the needs of each state.
Dr. Fotinos has been the interim state Medicaid director since August 2021.
“Charissa is uniquely positioned for this new position, with her years of clinical, public health, and leadership experience,” Birch said. “Over the past year in the interim role, Charissa has demonstrated how much she cares about offering high-quality, accessible health care coverage to the more than 2 million Apple Health (Medicaid) clients in Washington. Combining the state Medicaid director role with the behavioral health medical director will help our ongoing efforts to ensure integrated, whole-person health care coverage that treats both body and mind.”
Dr. Fotinos is a family doctor specializing in addiction medicine. She previously served as chief medical officer for Public Health-Seattle & King County and served as a physician faculty member at the Providence Family Medicine Residency Program.
HCA and partners have many major Medicaid-related initiatives under way that Dr. Fotinos will help lead, including:
- Redetermining Medicaid eligibility after the public health emergency ends and supporting individuals in a seamless transition to other coverage as needed.
- Two health care procurement efforts: our Medicaid managed care contracts and standing up a new health care product for those who are uninsured.
- Renewing and enhancing our Medicaid Transformation Project.