Kara Crawford

Following a successful two years of helping lead the Texas Health and Human Services system, Kara Crawford, chief of staff, is stepping down from her position on Aug. 3.

Crawford is leaving to become associate vice president of government relations for the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

"I have a profound sense of appreciation for the many hard-working, smart people at the agency," she said.

Some highlights during her tenure at HHS were helping advance women's health programs and services, improving access to health care and working day-in, day-out on hospital finance.

She recalls her role negotiating the Medicaid 1115 waiver, and how important that measure was to her.

"I was proxy to the executive commissioner in our negotiation with the federal government on the waiver's renewal, which is such critical funding for Texas. It was such a privilege for me being a part of that process," Crawford said.

The waiver is allowing innovative programs across Texas the opportunity to continue. These programs are improving health care for Texas' Medicaid clients and creating cost-savings for taxpayers. The waiver also provides incentive payments for health care improvements and directs more funding to hospitals that serve large numbers of uninsured patients.

Crawford is confident the system will continue to make strides advancing statewide health care and how it is accessed, and improving social services. She reiterated about the strong core of employees and their positive qualities, and how they are always ready to jump into action.

"I have always been amazed by the amount of dedication and kindness of the people who work at HHS," she said. "They know we're helping people, and it is really amazing and a humbling experience to see them come together and figure out real-time problems, just like they did during Hurricane Harvey."

Acting Executive Commissioner Cecile Young expresses her gratitude to Crawford.

"Kara's professionalism and experience have been vital assets to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission in her leadership role," said Commissioner Young. "We are grateful for her dedication and passion the past couple of years, and wish her the best in her future endeavors."