JEFFERSON CITY — The director of Missouri's Medicaid health care program was out of a job Tuesday with no public explanation for why he was gone after serving through two administrations.
Ian McCaslin confirmed to The Associated Press that he no longer is director of the MO HealthNet Division of the Department of Social Services, a change that he said was effective Tuesday morning. But McCaslin declined to say whether he was dismissed or resigned, instead deferring to the department to describe his departure.
The department provided no elaboration about the method by which McCaslin was replaced nor the reasons why he is leaving. Instead, the agency provided the AP a memo that department director Alan Freeman sent to employees on Tuesday.
"With appreciation for his leadership and service to this agency, this is to announce that Dr. Ian McCaslin is leaving the MO HealthNet Division," Freeman said in the memo.
The memo said the agency will engage in a national recruiting effort to fill the position and that Jennifer Tidball, who is currently the director of the agency's Division of Finance and Administrative Services, will serve as an interim director for the Medicaid division.
McCaslin said he has no future job lined up and stressed that he has "nothing but good will toward the department."
"It was my great privilege to serve in the Department of Social Services and serve the people of Missouri," he said. "I really appreciated the experience and opportunity to, I think, make a difference to some extent in the lives of so many."
The Mo HealthNet Division oversees a Medicaid program that provides health coverage to about 880,000 lower-income children, custodial parents, disabled residents and seniors.
Nixon, a Democrat, led an aggressive effort this year to expand the Medicaid program to cover an additional 260,000 adults by tapping into more than $900 million of federal funds available under President Barack Obama's health care law. But the Republican-led Legislature repeatedly rejected the proposal.
Nixon spokesman Scott Holste said he did not believe McCaslin had submitted a resignation letter but referred other questions to the Department of Social Services.
McCaslin was hired to direct Missouri's Medicaid program in August 2007 by former Republican Gov. Matt Blunt and was retained when Nixon took over in January 2009.
Before coming to Missouri, McCaslin was a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and an attending physician at Boston Children's Hospital. He also served as the medical director for the New England Alliance for Children's Health.