New Guy 

Lapps takes over as TennCare head

Lapps takes over as TennCare head

TennCare finally has a new head. After 11 months of interim directors, the embattled agency announced Tuesday that it had tapped managed care consultant Brian Lapps Sr., 54, of Franklin, as its permanent director.

”I am looking forward to this challenging position,“ Lapps said in a statement from TennCare.

Lapps was most recently an independent consultant with Community Health Partnerships, a firm specializing in managed care in rural communities. He has also served as senior vice president of corporate development for Baptist Hospital and was executive director of Health Net PPO.

TennCare, the state’s massive public/private replacement for Medicaid, and TennCare Partners, its mental health and substance abuse arm, have been in turmoil for some time now. The leadership gap was compounded recently by the departure of three key state officials who work with TennCare, including the head of the agency’s operations division.

Another blow came recently when the Memphis Commercial-Appeal reported that the state comptroller’s office is studying charges that the firm monitoring TennCare for the state had been pressured by the agency into doctoring reports to make TennCare look better. TennCare has denied its actions were outside the law.

Then, House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh kicked off the current legislative session by saying he planned to scrutinize the Republican Sundquist administration at its weakest points. Along with prisons and highways, TennCare is sure to get top billing.

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