Darin Gordon stepping down as TennCare director

News release from the governor’s office
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced TennCare Director and Deputy Commissioner of Health Care Finance and Administration Darin Gordon will enter the private sector at the end of June, leaving a nationally respected legacy of stability and innovation for a program serving some of Tennessee’s most vulnerable populations.

Started in 1994, TennCare is the state’s Medicaid program, a $10.5 billion health care enterprise that provides services to nearly 1.5 million Tennesseans and has earned customer satisfaction ratings above 90 percent for the past seven years.

Having taken on his role in 2006, Gordon is not only the longest serving TennCare director in state history but also is currently the longest serving director in the country. During the 12 years prior to his appointment, the position changed hands 10 times.

Under Gordon’s leadership TennCare has maintained the lowest cost trend in its history, made significant improvements in a substantial number of quality measures, and has been nationally recognized for innovations in managed care and payment and delivery system reform.

“Across the country states face the same challenge: a Medicaid program that takes up more and more of the state’s budget, pulling money away from other service areas,” Haslam said. “The impact of Darin’s steady leadership extends well beyond TennCare. Darin has quite literally saved Tennessee taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars by keeping the program’s costs low, allowing Tennessee to invest in K-12 education and other critical service areas. He has managed to achieve that while still running a program with a 95 percent customer satisfaction rating.

“Darin brought much needed stability to the program, guiding it through difficult times, and all of Tennessee is indebted to his incredible service,” Haslam added.

TennCare gained national recognition as a model of an innovative, well-run Medicaid managed care program during Gordon’s tenure. His contributions extend beyond Tennessee, having been elected by his peers to serve as president of the National Association of Medicaid Directors.

“I will always be grateful to Gov. Haslam and former Gov. Bredesen for giving me the rewarding opportunity to serve the people of Tennessee in such a meaningful way as the director of TennCare,” Gordon said. “It has been an absolute honor to be granted this once in a lifetime experience. During my public service, I have been incredibly fortunate to have worked with such an exceptional team of hard working and dedicated people. Through the efforts of so many, we have successfully transformed TennCare to one of the most highly regarded programs in the country.”

Gordon started his career in state government as an intern for the Senate Finance Committee in 1996, and he has more than 18 years of experience in public health care finance and management. Prior to 2006, Gordon held key executive management positions within TennCare as the director of Managed Care Programs and chief financial officer.

He and his wife, Shawn, have three children: Matthew, Libby and Abby, and they attend Christ Church in Nashville.

Gordon’s last day will be June 30 as he continues work on TennCare’s waiver extension and aids in the transition to new leadership with the program.