HHSC Announces Key Hire For New Post

June 13, 2016
Charles Smith, Executive Commissioner
Bryan Black, 512-424-6951

AUSTIN – Gary Jessee will lead the newly created Medical and Social Services division of the Health and Human Services system, HHS Executive Commissioner Charles Smith announced today.

Jessee, who is currently the state Medicaid director, will become deputy executive commissioner of a division that combines Medicaid/CHIP, eligibility services and community access under a single umbrella. It begins operations Sept. 1.

"Gary has wide-ranging expertise delivering services through Medicaid and the Department of Aging and Disability Services," Commissioner Smith said. "He combines a strong vision for the future of health and human services in Texas with an exhaustive knowledge of programs and people."

Jessee was named state Medicaid director last year, after a three-year stint as Medicaid's chief deputy director for program operations. He has overseen the launch of the STAR Kids managed care program, which will serve 180,000 Texans 20 and younger who have disabilities.

The new Medical and Social Services division will combine the Office of Social Services, which includes SNAP food benefits, TANF cash assistance and community partners programs with Medicaid and the newly created Community Services department. The new structure comes from recommendations made during the system's Sunset review process.

Commissioner Smith said the new division will be the centerpiece of the system improvements coming from the transformation process.

"The new Medical and Social Services division and the broader HHS transformation puts us on the path to being even more successful in making a meaningful difference in the lives of the people we serve," Commissioner Smith said.

Before coming to Medicaid he was the assistant commissioner for the Access and Intake Division at the Department of Aging and Disability Services where his duties included working closely with community groups, stakeholders, clients and their families.

"I'm very excited about the opportunity to lead this division," Jessee said. "Combining Medicaid, eligibility services and community services will break down silos. It will also provide easier and more efficient access to programs for Texans who rely on these essential services to improve their lives.”