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Governor Appoints Dr. Rhonda Medows as DCH Commissioner

Friday, November 4, 2005  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Commissioner Burgess Announces Departure from DCH

ATLANTA – Governor Sonny Perdue announced today that the state has hired Dr. Rhonda Medows as the commissioner of the Department of Community Health (DCH). Commissioner Tim Burgess has accepted a position as associate vice president and budget director for the University of Georgia .  The personnel changes will be effective December 1, 2005.

“Dr. Rhonda Medows' vast experience in the healthcare industry gives her unique skills for this important position,” said Governor Sonny Perdue.  “Throughout her career, regardless of her role, she has remained focused on one primary goal: improving the health of her patients.”

Dr. Medows, 43, a family physician, served as the secretary of the agency for health care administration for the state of Florida from 2001 to 2004 during the administration of Governor Jeb Bush.  In this position, she led Florida 's Medicaid program that serves 2.3 million people, employed 1,600 staff and had a $13 billion Medicaid budget.  In addition, her agency regulated the state's health care facilities and managed care organizations . Previously, Dr. Medows practiced medicine as a family physician at the Mayo Clinic, served as a health plan corporate medical director, and as a medical consultant in the healthcare industry.  She received her bachelor's degree from Cornell University and her M.D. from the Morehouse School of Medicine.  She completed her residency in New York .

 “The Department of Community Health has seen monumental improvements under the leadership of Tim Burgess,” said Governor Sonny Perdue.  “I am grateful to him for guiding the agency through a period of many changes, and I look forward to a seamless transition into Dr. Medows' capable hands.”

Under the leadership of Commissioner Burgess, a veteran of state government for more than 27 years, DCH has reached major milestones.  Commissioner Burgess oversaw the resolution of a lingering audit problem, allowing the agency to present its financial statement more quickly and accurately.  To achieve this, he successfully managed the implementation of corrective measures to establish a properly functioning claims payment system.  Commissioner Burgess also guided the stabilization of the Medicaid budget through three of the most financially challenging fiscal years in the program's history.  Most recently, Commissioner Burgess began the complex process of transitioning the state's Medicaid system to care management.  The move to care management is expected to give Medicaid consumers higher quality healthcare choices while saving the state more than $90 million by the end of 2007. 

Commissioner Burgess took the helm of DCH in July 2003, leaving his position as commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicle Safety (DMVS).  He worked for more than 20 years at the Office of Planning and Budget (OPB), serving as both deputy director and director for Governor Zell Miller.  Once Commissioner Burgess made known his intention to move to UGA and work closer to his home in Watkinsville, Governor Perdue impaneled a nationwide search for the best candidate to lead DCH. 

The Department of Community Health manages approximately $9.3 billion in state and federal dollars to administer health care programs to more than two million citizens under the Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids programs and the State Health Benefit Plan .