- Associated Press - Friday, September 12, 2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - The administrator who oversaw California’s expansion of Medi-Cal under the Affordable Care Act is stepping down, Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Diana Dooley announced Friday.

Toby Douglas will end his four-year term as director of the Department of Health Care Services by the end of the year. He has held leadership positions in the department since 2005.

“I feel that I’ve had such an amazing opportunity in California over the last several years to implement health care reform and … most importantly, just expanding coverage to so many people who before didn’t have access to coverage,” he said in an interview.

Under his tenure, the state’s Medicaid program for the poor grew from 7.5 million enrollees in 2011 to more than 11 million this year. He also oversaw the state’s effort to contain costs by placing most Medi-Cal recipients into managed care health plans.

Douglas said it was time for new challenges and doesn’t know what he will do next. He wanted to give Dooley and Gov. Jerry Brown time to find a new director.

Douglas acknowledged that the department can still improve. A backlog of pending applications for Medi-Cal had reached a high of 900,000 and now stands at 350,000.

“We have challenges,” he said. “Consumers are still waiting for their final determination, and I will be working to the last day I’m here to continue to work through those pending cases.”

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