Gov. Ron DeSantis’ choice to run the Agency for Health Care Administration, Mary Mayhew, quickly hit the ground this week in her new job.
Mayhew’s first day on the job was Tuesday. By Thursday, she had meetings scheduled with House Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, and Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton.
Mayhew, who will earn $161,000 annually as AHCA secretary, served as commissioner of health and human services under former Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage. In that capacity, she took positions such as battling against Medicaid expansion.
Mayhew made an unsuccessful run for governor in 2018, losing in the Republican primary. President Donald Trump appointed Mayhew in October as director of Medicaid and CHIP Services at the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Three months later, DeSantis tapped her to become Florida AHCA secretary.
The post requires Senate confirmation. Mayhew has worked closely during her career with Tarren Bragdon, founder of the Naples-based Foundation for Government Accountability. Bragdon, a member of a DeSantis transition advisory committee on health and wellness, told The News Service of Florida that “Mary Mayhew will lead AHCA with a focus on taking care of the vulnerable, maintaining the integrity of Medicaid, and focusing on how to meet the expanding need of a growing, dynamic, diverse state like Florida.”
AHCA has a $28.9 billion annual budget this year, with most of that money related to running the Medicaid program. AHCA also is charged with health-care facility regulation. Mayhew replaced former Secretary Justin Senior, who took a position leading the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida.