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Posted at 12:53 PM ET, 01/ 6/2011

Former top Kaine aide to head D.C. agency

By Anita Kumar and Mike DeBonis

Wayne Turnage, former chief of staff to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), will be named head of the D.C. Health Care Finance Agency, according to sources close to Kaine and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray.

A news conference to announce his appointment and other posts is scheduled for Friday.

Turnage has served as chief of staff to VCU President Michael Rao since January 2010, when Kaine left the governor's mansion to become full-time chairman of the Democratic National Committee. In November, Rao announced that Turnage's job would be eliminated Jan. 31.

Health Care Finance is a little-known agency but one that is responsible for a massive chunk of the city budget -- more than a half-billion local dollars plus an additional $1.6 billion in federal transfers.

The proportion of D.C. residents with health insurance outpaces every state but Massachusetts because of the city's recent success in getting more residents onto 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.

Turnage replaces Julie Hudman, who announced her departure last month after more than two years as the department's first director. Several of Hudman's senior deputies have also left, leading to wide concerns about the management of the agency in the face of a city budget shortfall.

By Anita Kumar and Mike DeBonis  | January 6, 2011; 12:53 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar, Timothy M. Kaine  
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