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Monday, June 18, 2018, 6:39 a.m.

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Medical services chief at DHS resigning to go back to Florida

By Andy Davis

This article was published June 14, 2018 at 1:03 a.m.

The director of a state agency that includes Arkansas' Medicaid program will step down July 13 after about 11 months on the job, the state Department of Human Services announced Monday.

Rose Murray Naff said in a phone interview that when she took the job as director of the department's Medical Services Division last year, she committed to stay in the job at least a year.

Since then, she said, she's "accomplished the things I was brought here to do" and wants to move back to Florida, in part to be closer to family.

She said she moved to Arkansas to be closer to Tulsa, where her daughter and two grandchildren live.

Now, she said, "I've got another grandbaby coming, and this one will be in Tallahassee."

She said she's weighing different projects to pursue in Florida but that it's premature to discuss them.

In her resignation letter, submitted to department Director Cindy Gillespie on Friday, Naff said the "great majority" of initiatives that had been assigned to her division had been completed.

Among those she listed were implementing a managed-care program for Medicaid dental benefits, deploying a new claims processing system and restructuring the division "to effectively manage new payment models."

"I appreciate all of those that have supported me during my time here in Arkansas," Naff said in the letter. "However, in keeping with our original plan, I hereby give notice of my resignation effective July 13, 2018, so that I may return to Florida."

Medical Services Deputy Director Tami Harlan will take over as interim director of the division, according to the news release.

Naff, 60, started work as director of the division on Aug. 14, taking over duties that had been handled on an interim basis by Dawn Stehle, the department's deputy director for health and Medicaid.

As the Medicaid director, Stehle is responsible for program policy, while Naff is in charge of operations.

The state's transparency website lists Naff's annual salary as $115,000.

Before taking over the Medical Services Division, Naff was chief executive of Florida Health Choices, a health insurance exchange established by the Florida Legislature in 2008.

The Florida Times-Union reported in August that the exchange was shutting down after Gov. Rick Scott vetoed $250,000 that state lawmakers had allocated to keep the exchange in business for another year.

Naff also spent 18 years as director of Florida Healthy Kids, which provided coverage to 1 million children and became a model for the national Children's Health Insurance Program, known in Arkansas as ARKids First.

NW News on 06/14/2018

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