Gov. Stitt removes Oklahoma Health Care Authority Governing Board’s only 2 physicians, replaces them with 2 non-physicians

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Gov. Kevin Stitt removed the only two physicians from the Oklahoma Health Care Authority Governing Board, Monday, and one of the doctors who was removed said they were not told why.

Both Dr. Jean Hausheer and Dr. Laura Shamblin both got the call Saturday. Hausheer said when she asked why, she said they had no comment.

“I wasn’t really surprised,” Hausheer said as a now former member of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority Governing Board after being appointed by the governor in 2019. “He didn’t have any comment, he said he’s just the messenger.”

Two new members will take their place. Susan Dell’Osso, a former chief innovation officer for INTEGRIS Health, and Gino Demarco, a former senior executive for a Medicaid consulting and software company, will replace the only two physicians on the board.

“As physicians, I think uniquely we have a better understanding of much of what they do at the healthcare authority,” Hausheer said.

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Oklahoma Health Care Authority

The move comes after Hausheer and Shamblin, among seven other members of the board, voted last week to delay implementing rules on Stitt’s plan to privatize some Medicaid services. Hausheer is also a chair of the administrative rules committee. She made a motion at a meeting to table two administrative rules dealing with managed care organizations.

“The board listened contemplatively, and they voted unanimously, except for one, in favor of my motion,” Hausheer said. “I thought, given that the board uniformly felt that way that perhaps this wouldn’t happen.”

However, it did happen.

“I think it’s always a good idea as a leader to look at both sides of an argument and listen,” Hausheer said. “That’s all I did.”

Gov. Kevin Stitt’s office released a statement to KFOR Tuesday afternoon that can be read in full below:

“Governor Stitt welcomes Susan Dell’Osso and Gino DeMarco to the board to help make Oklahoma a top ten state for health outcomes. Susan brings a wealth of experience in leadership as the former Chief Innovation Officer for Integris Health, numerous experiences across the state’s different health systems, and a passion for serving Oklahoma communities. Gino Demarco has voluntarily left retirement to once again serve the state, bringing a unique entrepreneurial talent for innovation, growth, and development including his years as a senior executive at a Medicaid consulting and software company. The Governor is grateful for Dr. Hausheer and Dr. Shamblin’s service to the state of Oklahoma.”

GOV. KEVIN STITT’S OFFICE

“I don’t have any regrets; I have served this board very faithfully. I worked very hard,” Hausheer said. “The governor would be good to have people alongside him who offer multiple different opinions.”

If the name Gino DeMarco sounds familiar, that’s because at the start of the pandemic, Stitt referred to him as Oklahoma’s “PPE Czar.” DeMarco was in charge of purchasing $2 million worth of personal protective equipment (PPE), the majority of which the state never received. The situation led to a lawsuit.

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