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Posted at 5:00 PM ET, 12/ 1/2010

Julie Hudman will leave D.C. Department of Health Care Finance

By Mike DeBonis

Today's city government departure announcement: Julie Hudman, director of the Department of Health Care Finance, leaves after four years with Mayor Adrian M. Fenty.

Hudman came to D.C. to serve as a health policy analyst for then-city administrator Dan Tangherlini; she leaves after two years as the first director of the Health Care Finance agency, which was separated from the health department in 2008. It boasts the largest budget line in city government -- more than a half-billion local dollars, plus another $1.6 billion in federal funding for Medicaid and other health entitlement programs.

"As requested, I submitted my resignation letter to the Mayor last night," she wrote in a brief e-mail this afternoon sent to administration officials. "But as many of you know, I am not awaiting word from Gray's team, but instead choosing to move on and work on national health care reform."

Hudman, in a short interview this afternoon, said she's evaluating job offers in academia, consulting or with the federal government. Her departure comes as the city is faced with conforming with the federal health-care overhaul.

"I came in four years ago with Mayor Fenty, and I had his total support in all the difficult decisions I had to make," she said. "That was the environment I operated under, and it was still a very difficult job."

In recent years, the proportion of District residents with health insurance has continued to grow, outpacing every state but Massachusetts, due to the city's success in getting more residents onto the government-funded Medicaid, SCHIP, and D.C. HealthCare Alliance programs.

But the city has continued to face challenges from federal auditors, who have questioned its ability to document some Medicaid expenses. Hudman found herself under fire earlier this year when D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) accused her of flouting hiring requirements.

Hudman said the new administration's success in the health-finance realm should be judged by its ability to compete with the federal government and private sector for top-level employees, and in its ability to maintain benefit and eligibility levels for D.C. health care recipients -- something Hudman did, in part, by policing the city's often politically well-connected managed-care providers.

By Mike DeBonis  | December 1, 2010; 5:00 PM ET
Categories:  The District  
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