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CalOptima names Michael Schrader as new CEO

The appointment marks the end of a seven-month search to fill the vacancy at the agency

by Gabriel CortésPublished: November 08, 2012 10:45 AM

CalOptima, Orange County’s public health care system, has named Michael Schrader to be its new chief executive officer. The appointment comes after a long and tumultuous year for the $1.4 billion health organization, during which it has seen a domino-style series of resignations from high-level executives.

Schrader’s appointment marks the end of an extensive seven-month search to fill the vacancy left by former CEO Richard Chambers when he resigned in March. After Chambers’ departure, Michael Engelhard, CalOptima’s chief financial officer, was promoted to acting CEO. He resigned in July to lead Ventura County’s Gold Coast Health Plan. The executive position remained unfilled for the remainder of the search.

Chambers and Engelhard are just two of the many executives who have left CalOptima since Aug. 2011. Last month, Dr. Gertrude Carter became the 16th official to depart from the organization in the last 15 months when she resigned her post as chief medical officer.

When Schrader takes the reigns of the agency at the beginning of next year, he will be charged with the task of rebuilding CalOptima’s management team. He has an extensive background in the healthcare industry, having most recently served as chief operating officer of for Boston Medical Center HealthNet Plan. Prior to his work in Massachusetts, Schrader spent 15 years at CenCal Health, the county organized health system in Santa Barbara.

“The Board was committed to bringing in the right person for this important role,” states Mark Refowitz, chair of CalOptima’s board of directors. “It was important to us that the person selected [have] health care experience and [be] familiar with our model. Michael brings all those qualities to CalOptima, and we are confident he will be a great leader.”

CalOptima is the county’s largest public agency and its second-largest health insurer. The federally and state funded agency provides health care to about 430,000 low-income, disabled and elderly residents.

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