BATON ROUGE— Louisiana Department of Health Secretary Alan Levine announced today the appointment of Louisiana Medicaid Director Jerry Phillips to succeed Charles Castille as undersecretary of the Department. Phillips will assume his new responsibilities following Castille’s retirement from the state after 12 years as undersecretary and nearly 35 years of stellar public service.
Phillips, a retired Marine, continues a more than 20-year career with LDH, having joined the Department in 1989 as a staff attorney. He has served as deputy general counsel, and since 2000, has led the state’s Medicaid program, first as a Medicaid deputy director and then in his current role as Medicaid director.
“Jerry is uniquely qualified to serve in this important role,” said LDH Secretary Alan Levine. “He is respected by the Legislature and the Governor, and has an admirable understanding of the complex issues surrounding the health care budget and the administrative functions of the Department. I think he will be well received in the Capitol.”
The undersecretary for the Department is responsible for planning, directing and coordinating all activities for the Office of Management and Finance, including Medicaid, planning and budget, human resources training and development, fiscal information, information technology, engineering and architectural services, contracts and procurement support, materials management, Health Education Authority of Louisiana, and safety and security. In his new role, Phillips will work closely with the secretary, secretary’s staff and the deputy secretary to plan and execute all major departmental efforts and initiatives. The undersecretary is also charged with coordinating efforts with various other state agencies including the Division of Administration, for conferring with the Legislature, and for coordinating efforts with federal agencies and programs.
“Charles Castille is impossible to replace, and he will be missed,” added Levine. “I think Jerry will find his own way, develop his own team and will bring an entirely new set of strengths to the job. He will have our support and I know he will be effective.”
“I am extremely pleased Jerry has been appointed undersecretary upon my retirement,” said Castille. “I have worked with him for 20 years, and find him to be a trustworthy, dedicated public servant. He will be great.”
As Medicaid director, Phillips manages and administers the statewide Medicaid program, which serves more than 1.2 million beneficiaries, with an annual budget of more than $6.7 billion. In this role, Phillips has presided over numerous initiatives that have saved taxpayer dollars and improved the quality of the Medicaid program, including: implementation of a pay-for-performance initiative for child immunizations; expansion of insurance coverage for children, with Louisiana being recognized as one of the best re-enrollment programs in the nation; implementation of community-based mental health programs; and several other cumulative efficiencies worth tens of millions of dollars in savings. Recently, Louisiana Medicaid was highlighted by the United States Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as a national best practice for administrative efficiency, and was one of only nine states to be awarded a national performance bonus for improving coverage for children.
Phillips joined the Department after almost 30 years with the United States Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Reserve. By the time Phillips retired as a colonel, he was a Desert Storm veteran, had received his bachelor’s degrees in History and Economics from the University of Southern Mississippi, his master’s degree in Business Administration from Chapman College and his Juris Doctor from the University of Mississippi.
The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about LDH, visit http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov.