Doug Porter is leaving the state Health Care Authority to take a job in the private sector.
On Thursday, Gov. Chris Gregoire named MaryAnne Lindeblad to replace him at the helm of the state agency with the second-largest budget in state government.
Porter leaves Aug. 17. He said in a letter to staff that a health care consulting firm is in the “final stages” of hiring him.
Lindeblad is an administrator at the Department of Social and Health Services, where she leads the Aging and Disability Services Administration, overseeing aid to the elderly, developmentally disabled and mentally ill, including Western State Hospital.
The Health Care Authority handles more than $5 billion a year in Medicaid, state employee health benefits and other medical spending, a close second to DSHS in terms of money.
Porter said that, during his tenure, the agency boosted enrollment in the state children’s health insurance program; made efforts to redesign health care purchasing, targeted waste and medical inflation; and began implementing federal health care reform.
Lindeblad, who has a master’s degree in public health, is taking over at a time when the Health Care Authority is leading the effort to build the state’s health insurance exchange where people will be able to comparison shop for plans and obtain federal subsidies to help pay for the policies.
“I’ve spent my career focused on improving our health care systems, and look forward to serving Washingtonians in this new role,” Lindeblad said.jordan.schrader@ thenewstribune.com