The Louisiana Department of Health is announcing leadership changes effective October 1, 2020.

Cindy Rives, Undersecretary for the Louisiana Department of Health has accepted a position with Louisiana State University Health Shreveport and is leaving the Department at the end of September. Rives was appointed Undersecretary of the Louisiana Department of Health in 2018. She is a career public servant and has worked in public finance for more than 25 years. Rives has served within the Department of Health for nearly 15 years. During this time, she has worked closely with various leaders throughout the agency to ensure that the Department of Health was able to complete critical work while being good stewards of resources.

“I am thankful to Cindy for her commitment to the Department throughout the years. She has dedicated her career to public service and I congratulate her as she advances to this next step in her career, knowing she will continue to serve our state well,” said Dr. Courtney N. Phillips, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health.

Ruth Johnson, Medicaid Executive Director, will fill the role of Undersecretary. Johnson joined the Department of Health in April of 2020. Johnson has more than 30 years of experience serving the public in various agencies of state government in Louisiana, South Carolina and most recently Texas. She has served in several roles in state government including secretary of the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services; deputy director of finance and administration for the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services; chief information officer for the Louisiana Division of Administration; deputy commissioner for the Louisiana Division of Administration and various other positions in state government and nonprofits. Before joining the Department of Health, Johnson was the chief operating officer for Texas Health and Human Services.

“Ruth stepped into the Medicaid position at the height of the COVID-19 public health emergency and in her time with the Department she has demonstrated great leadership. She has played a critical role in helping the Department navigate the current impacts of the pandemic, particularly on the delivery of healthcare for our most vulnerable Louisianans,” said Dr. Phillips.

Tara LeBlanc, Deputy Director of Eligibility for Medicaid, will serve as the interim Medicaid Executive Director. LeBlanc joined the Department of Health in 2010 following more than 10 years of public service with the Louisiana State University Health Care Services Division, Louisiana Technical College, River Parishes Community College, and the State's Uniform Payroll System. During her tenure within the Department of Health, LeBlanc has served as the assistant secretary for the Office of Aging and Adult Services; the Department’s budget director; and deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Aging and Adult Services.