Seven months after South Carolina’s former Medicaid director resigned his Cabinet post for a job in the private sector, Gov. Henry McMaster announced a new hire.
Joshua Baker has been promoted to director of the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services from his previous position as the agency’s director of operations.
“Mr. Baker’s top-level policy expertise, combined with his medical experience, makes him uniquely qualified for this post,” McMaster said in a press release. “I have complete confidence in his ability to lead the agency towards achieving its core mission of providing healthcare for South Carolinians in need in the most efficient way possible.”
DHHS oversees the Medicaid program in this state. More than 1 million South Carolinians receive health benefits through the agency, which costs more than $7 billion a year to administer and is largely financed with federal funds. Most Medicaid beneficiaries in this state are children.
Baker previously worked in former Gov. Nikki Haley’s office as deputy chief of staff for budget and policy. According to the press release, he “began his career in the medical field through service in the United States Army, where he filled several technical and leadership roles in clinical laboratories.”
McMaster assembled a committee of lawmakers and health care experts to vet candidates for the Medicaid vacancy when former director Christian Soura resigned in the spring. Soura now works for the S.C. Hospital Association as vice president of policy and finance.
Deputy Medicaid Director Deirdra Singleton served as the agency’s interim director during the search.
Baker will become South Carolina’s third Medicaid director since 2011. His promotion requires legislative approval.