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Tuesday, October 8, 2013 - 8:00am

State Worker Health Plan Gets New Boss

The state agency in charge of health care for more than 2 million Georgians continued its administrative shake-up with the announcement Monday of a new head of the state employee health plan.

Lurline Craig-Burke has been named chief of the State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP), which covers more than 650,000 state employees, teachers, other school personnel, retirees and dependents.

The employee plan has been at the center of controversy in recent months. Last month, the Department of Community Health’s board rejected a proposal to offer an HMO option to state employees in seven metro Atlanta counties, because it would not have been offered elsewhere in the state.

The agency had already chosen a single insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, to provide statewide PPO-type plans for members of the SHBP. That award, though, is under appeal by UnitedHealthcare, which has called the contracting process “state-sponsored bid-rigging.’’ Community Health has denied there was anything improper about the process.

Craig-Burke will preside over open enrollment for the employee health plan, which begins later this month.

Craig-Burke most recently worked for Mercer, a consulting division of Marsh & McLennan Cos. She was responsible for leading the Atlanta office for Mercer’s Government Human Services Consulting Group.

She served on the initial leadership team that formed the Department of Community Health in 1999. She subsequently served as chief of the SHBP until 2003.

Trudie Nacin, currently head of the SHBP, now becomes deputy chief, the agency said Monday.

Craig-Burke’s appointment was announced by Clyde Reese, who became commissioner of the Department of Community Health in July. That month, Reese named Marsha Hopkins as chief operating officer and Sharon King as chief of staff, a new position.

Reese also named Marial Ellis as the department’s general counsel, and Lisa Marie Shekell as director of the office of communications and legislative affairs.

This month, Reese elevated Hopkins to deputy commissioner.

Among its other responsibilities, Community Health operates the Medicaid and PeachCare programs in Georgia, whose combined enrollment has increased to 1.8 million, a new record.

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