North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Rick Brajer told the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) Board of Directors at their meeting on Jan. 9, that he is committed to thoughtful and inclusive Medicaid reform for the state.
“We’re going to take our time on this,” he said. He shared that he has been meeting with hundreds of representatives from health care stakeholder organizations since he took office in August 2015, to gather their thoughts and insights on implementation of the Medicaid reform legislation passed last fall. The waiver to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is due on June 1, and Brajer described his process thus far as “crowd-sourcing the waiver.” Once the waiver is approved, Brajer estimated it will take two and a half years to complete the implementation of the new Medicaid program.
NCMS staff has met several times with the Secretary – once at 6 a.m. at the NCMS Center for Leadership in Medicine — to discuss aspects of the reform.
Another important focus for Brajer is mental health, and he has pushed training programs to help identify and help those with mental illness through a mental health first aid program – it’s like CPR training for mental health, he said.
Before his appointment to Secretary by Governor Pat McCrory, Brajer served as CEO of ProNerve, LLC, in Denver, Colo., an intraoperative neurophysiologic monitoring company providing services to health care facilities and professionals throughout the US. Much of his career he served as the CEO and director of LipoScience in Raleigh, a personalized diagnostics company that established a new clinical standard of care in cardiovascular management. He has held various leadership roles at the medical technology and manufacturing company Becton Dickinson in Europe and in the US, ultimately serving as Executive Officer and President of the company’s diagnostics sector.
Sec. Brajer earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.