Medicaid Industry Who’s Who Series: Shannon McMahon

Medicaid Who’s Who: Shannon M. McMahonDeputy Secretary, Health Care Financing with Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Shannon M. McMahon, MPA, was appointed the Deputy Secretary of Health Care Financing at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in February, 2015. In this role, she is responsible for the operation of the state’s Medicaid program, which serves over 1.2 million Marylanders.

Previously, Ms. McMahon was the Director of Coverage and Access at the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) where she lead Medicaid eligibility, benefit design and purchasing implementation efforts and learning collaboratives for states and the federal government. Prior to CHCS, she worked in executive and management-level roles in Minnesota Medicaid, most recently as the Chief Administrative Officer, where she oversaw finance and operations for Minnesota’s three public health care programs.

Ms. McMahon also spent several years working on health policy issues as a non-partisan analyst at the Department of Legislative Services in Annapolis and also held the position of senior budget and policy adviser to the Secretary and Principal Deputy Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Ms. McMahon has a bachelor’s degree in justice from American University, Washington, D.C. and a master’s degree in public administration from Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts where she was a recipient of a full tuition public policy fellowship. She is a member of the board of directors of the National Association of Medicaid Directors.

Shannon McMahon is the featured panelist in the upcoming State Spotlight Webinar on Feb. 6th at 2pm EST. Learn more and register for free here.

  1.  What is your current position and with what organization?

Deputy Secretary, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene/Medicaid Director   

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

 I’ve been working in health care policy/operations and consulting for 19 years; my focus has always been on the public sector, and Medicaid in particular.

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

My passion is making the government side of health care (enrollment, access) more person-centric.  I love Lean and business process re-design.

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

Snuba the great barrier reef

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

International travel with my family; I think that foreign travel is the greatest gift you can give kids, as it imparts two key business and life skills: organization and resilience.

  6.  Who is your favorite historical figure and why?

Eleanor Roosevelt; I’ve always admired her commitment to public service and her ability to problem solve in the most politically charged environments.

  7.  What is your favorite junk food?


8.  Of what accomplishment are you most proud?

The recent Section 1115 waiver that we secured for Maryland Medicaid is a very big step to begin addressing the social determinants of health at the local level while also expanding access to substance use disorder services in the State.  The partnership forged between the State and local governments, as well as the support from the provider and advocacy community made it possible.  The amazing team in Maryland Medicaid worked hand and glove with our federal CMS counterparts to get ‘er done.

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

I have a knack for calling people by the wrong name, and have done so with some pretty senior people in both government and the provider community. 

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

In Maryland, we are coming off the recognition of the 50th anniversary of Medicaid in 2016.  Our  two big focuses for the next six months are

(1) Implementing the SUD expansion under the 1115 waiver which includes a physical health-behavioral health integration component;

(2)  Developing a new payment and delivery system for individuals dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.

(3) Potential changes to the ACA will be of particular interest to Maryland as well, and as a member of the NAMD board, I have had the opportunity to engage with the key executive and legislative branch leaders on potential changes.