Michael Wilkening was appointed Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency by Governor Jerry Brown in 2018. He leads the 12 state departments within the Agency including over 30,000 employees with an annual budget of approximately $150 billion.
Secretary Wilkening started his state career in 1995 as a fiscal and policy analyst for the Health and Human Services Unit at the California Department of Finance before he was appointed Undersecretary of the Health and Human Services Agency in 2008.
As Undersecretary, Wilkening oversaw policy development and implementation, along with the operation of the Agency. Some of the areas he focused on in this role included streamlining government, improving operational efficiency, expanding healthcare coverage, integrating health, behavioral health and social services to promote whole-person care, and improving the delivery of services for people with developmental disabilities.
Wilkening has led efforts to improve how government operates, to better utilize data to improve the delivery of services to clients, and to make programs more client-centered by fostering stronger partnerships across government, academics and the non-profit sector. Under his leadership, CHHS became the first California Agency to establish an Open Data Portal—changing how state agencies interact with the public. Wilkening led a new agile procurement process of the Child Welfare System that has become a model for other state departments. He created an Agency Governance Council and Office of Innovation to accelerate the adoption of alternative ways of solving governmental problems and to foster Agency- wide buy-in to these efforts.
While Undersecretary, he has served as Acting Director of the Department of Public Health, the Department of Developmental Services, and the Department of Child Support Services. In 2018, he was an inaugural winner of the Cliff Allenby award for excellence in public service. He is a frequent speaker at national health care, innovation and technology conferences.
Wilkening received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from the University of California, Davis. We welcome Secretary Wilkening to the commission and are excited about his contribution to building California’s future health workforce!
What We’re Reading
Medicaid is Not Just for Doctor’s Visits: Innovative Early Childhood Funding Strategies
If a family has no means of transportation, consistent prenatal care becomes extremely difficult. If a mother is homeless, she is less likely to attend a child wellness visit. If a one-year-old is hungry, brain development is detrimentally impacted. And if a toddler is experiencing trauma at home, he or she cannot focus on learning. While there is significant evidence around the value of investing in early childhood to improve physical, social, and emotional development later in life, more attention needs to be paid to addressing social determinants of health (SDOH) to improve early childhood outcomes. Read the full article here >>
New Southern California Medical School to Tackle Doctor Shortages
The Claremont Colleges plans to open a medical school, the fourth new campus designed to produce physicians for parts of Southern California struggling with shortages. The Keck Graduate Institute School of Medicine will focus on primary care and treating the growing Latino population in California, institute officials announced this week. The school hopes to hire its founding dean by next summer, and open a few years after that. Read the full article here >>
Using Workforce Intelligence to Tackle Healthcare’s Biggest HR Issues: Caregiver Turnover, Retirement, and Engagement
With millions of Americans newly insured under the Affordable Care Act, the baby boomer generation entering their senior years, and more people living longer with chronic medical conditions, the demand for patient care is greater than ever before. Yet the caregiver workforce—a highly specialized and mobile group of skilled workers—is in short supply. Hospitals are also facing a paradigm shift, with Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements now being directly tied to patient satisfaction and readmission rates.
Read the full report here >>
Providence Health Systems Transitioning to New Types of Service to Support Health
By the end of 2018, Providence will transition out of providing acute care services and will focus on leading the collaborative work to create a model that will keep health at the center, remove the obstacles and barriers to a healthy life for all, and better meet the needs of a changing and growing community. The new Providence will look to transform the way care is delivered with a new community-focused perspective that provides other types of needed services, such as care coordination, telehealth/virtual care, primary and urgent care, home care, community-based behavioral healthcare, senior care and more.
Download the press release here >>
Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Innovation Recommendations
The California Pan-Ethnic Health Network and the LGBT Health and Human Services Network have put forward 10 recommendations to improve the development and implementation of the Innovations Component of the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). Read the full report here >>