Gov. Scott reappoints Elizabeth Dudek as secretary of AHCA

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Today, Gov. Rick Scott announced the reappointment of Elizabeth Dudek as secretary of the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA).

Dudek was appointed secretary of AHCA by Gov. Scott in March 2011. Prior to her appointment, Dudek served as AHCA’s deputy secretary for the Division of Health Quality Assurance.

“Secretary Dudek has been part of my team since the very beginning and I am confident she will continue to do an outstanding job as secretary,” said Scott in a statement. “Under her leadership, Florida has accomplished historic Medicaid reform and we have taken steps to provide our veterans with access to the best care possible. She has also done an outstanding job making sure our hospitals are prepared to respond to any potential case of Ebola. I know she will continue to be committed to improving health care for all Florida families.”

Dudek, of course, is excited about continuing her work.

“It is an honor to have the opportunity to continue my service at AHCA,” said Dudek. “We work tirelessly each day so all Floridians have the opportunity to lead a healthy and safe life, and we will focus on accomplishing this goal each day.”

During her more than 20 years with the agency, Dudek has also held the positions of bureau chief of Certificate of Need Budget Review; bureau chief of Health Facility Compliance; and assistant deputy secretary of Managed Care and Health Quality.

In addition to transitioning Medicaid into a managed-care program, Dudek helped revamp how Florida hopsitals are paid for treating Medicaid patients.

Hospitals that treated Medicaid patients traditionally had been reimbursed on a cost-based per diem system, meaning facilities received payments based on how much it cost them to treat the patient while in the hospital. Scott–a former hospital executive–in 2013 changed the reimbursements so facilities were paid on a DRG–or diagnositc related group–method. Under DRGs, hospitals are paid a fixed amount based on a patient’s diagnosis. If a hopsital can treat a patient for less than the DRG, then it makes money. If treatment exceeds the DRG, the facilitiy loses money.

There had been several unsuccessful attempts to use DRGs, which were favored by for-profit hospitals, in the Florida Medicaid program before Scott. After it was passed by the Legislature, the agency —  under Dudek’s leadership — made the transition.

Dudek is known in Tallahassee circles to be a hard worker and she has a good reputation for getting things accomplished. She  has a regulatory background, which appeals to legislators, and is considered pleasant and non-confrontational.

Dudek is from Illinois and graduated from Elmhurst College.