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Medicaid Who’s Who Interview: Jon Hamdorf, Kansas Medicaid Director

1. Which segment of the industry are you currently involved?

A: Public Insurance – Medicaid

2. How many years have you been in the Medicaid industry?

A: 1 year

3. What is your focus/passion? (Industry related or not)

A: I have a passion for serving others. Throughout my life I have always gravitated toward service orientated positions. In my college years, I was a deputy sheriff. Post-college, I worked in healthcare IT for multiple companies in leadership roles that either supported a sales organization or customer organizations and now I am serving as Kansas Medicaid director and Director of the Division of Health Care Finance serving the individuals on our Medicaid program and in our State Employee Health Plan.

4. What is the top item on your “bucket list?”

A: To finish my PhD. I am currently a PhD candidate at University of Kansas Medical School in the Health Policy and Management Department.

5. What do you enjoy doing most with your personal time?

A: With serving as a Medicaid Director and trying to finish a dissertation, personal time is rare. When I do have it, I enjoy riding in my Jeep Wrangler with the top down, driving across the Kansas countryside with my wife Angela and my dog Samantha.

6. Who is your favorite historical figure and why?

A: Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower was a leader and a hero, but also a down-to-earth personable man who united the nation. I love that when he decided to run for president, he was courted by both the Republican and Democratic party. I often walk over to the Kansas capitol building and look up at the statue of Eisenhower and imagine what it would be like to have a conversation with him and learn from his experiences.

7. What is your favorite junk food?

A: Giordano’s Pizza. If anyone from Giordano’s corporate office sees my answer, please strongly consider opening a restaurant in Kansas City. It would make me very happy.

8. Of what accomplishment are you most proud?

A: I am most proud of the culture changes we have been able to make in Kansas Medicaid. My staff is amazing and they have done a fantastic job engaging with stakeholders, legislators and individuals in our program to develop solutions and better serve the individuals in the Kansas Medicaid program.

9. For what one thing do you wish you could get a mulligan?

A: My mother made my older brother, my younger sister and I play the piano when we were young. We all were able to stop when we went to junior high and started participating in athletics. If I had a mulligan, I wouldn’t have stopped playing the piano. I have a keyboard that I still play on when I have time, but I would love to be proficient at it.

10. What are the top 1-3 issues that you think will be important in Medicaid during the next 6 months

A:

1) Integrating social determinants of health to provide whole person care
2) Establishing individualized plans of service to understand members life goals and develop tailored solutions
3) Figuring out early, targeted interventions to change the life trajectory of young people in Medicaid to give them the skills to live independent, fulfilling lives. This will provide financial solvency to the Medicaid program and help end the cycle of poverty.