Kentucky Political News Headlines

Friday, January 9, 2015

CHFS News: Kissner to Resign, Lee Appointed New Medicaid Commissioner

Commonwealth of Kentucky
Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Jill Midkiff,

Kissner to Resign, Lee Appointed New Medicaid Commissioner

FRANKFORT, Ky. (January 9, 2015) – Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes today announced that Lawrence Kissner has tendered his resignation as Commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services to accept an out-of-state private sector position. Secretary Haynes has appointed Deputy Commissioner Lisa Lee to succeed Kissner as the new Medicaid Commissioner. Both Kissner’s resignation and Lee’s appointment are effective Feb. 1, 2015.

During his 29-month tenure as Commissioner, Kissner oversaw the Medicaid program during a time of historic transformation.

“Commissioner Kissner’s knowledge of and experience in managed care brought a great level of stability to the Medicaid program during a time of significant change,” said Secretary Haynes. “He freely shared his wisdom and experience with those who interacted with him, the greatest beneficiaries of which were the staff in Medicaid, to whom he was a tremendous teacher. The staff will continue to benefit from their time with Commissioner Kissner long after his departure.  He will be truly missed.”

A graduate of Kentucky State University, newly appointed Commissioner Lee is a 23-year veteran of state government, including 15 years of service in various capacities within the Department for Medicaid Services. In addition to her tenure as Deputy Commissioner, she served as director of the Division of Provider Operations, overseeing a variety of Medicaid programs specifically aimed at improving the health of Kentucky children including the Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program (KCHIP), Early and Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment Program (EPSDT), Health Access Nurturing and Development Services (HANDS), First Steps and school-based health services. For seven years she worked as the program director for KCHIP, where she received national recognition for her role in streamlining the enrollment process for children in KCHIP and Medicaid, leading to an additional 60,000 children receiving healthcare coverage.

“With more than 15 years of institutional knowledge about the Medicaid program, Deputy Commissioner Lee has been an important partner and adviser to both Commissioner Kissner and me as we have implemented managed care and expanded Medicaid,” said Secretary Haynes. “She has worked hand-in-glove with Commissioner Kissner every step of the way to achieve the tremendous improvements and efficiencies the
department is experiencing today. With her experience and leadership abilities, I have every confidence that she will not only continue, but expand upon the progress that has been made over the last few years. I am extremely grateful for her willingness to continue her public service to serve the Commonwealth in this leadership and management capacity.”  


The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is home to most of the state's human services and health care programs, including Medicaid, the Department for Community Based Services and the Department for Public Health. CHFS is one of the largest agencies in state government, with nearly 8,000 full and part-time employees throughout the Commonwealth focused on improving the lives and health of Kentuckians.