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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

USF doctor named to run state health plan under fire for removing sick kids



The Florida Department of Health on Wednesday announced the new senior official over a health coverage program for the state's sickest kids.

Dr. John Curran, a regional medical director for the Children's Medical Services program and associate vice president of the University of South Florida College of Medicine, will take over the job as deputy secretary for CMS.

Previously, the job was held by Dr. Celeste Philip, who was named interim surgeon general after the Senate refused to confirm Dr. John Armstrong's appointment this spring. He was later appointed deputy secretary for administration, though he is taking medical leave to be treated for colon cancer.

Concerns about CMS were among those that led the Senate to oust Armstrong, once the health department's top official and one of the longest-serving appointees of Gov. Rick Scott. The program has been under fire for removing 9,000 sick children from coverage, as well as eliminating quality standards for pediatric heart surgery.

Given that Philip's last job was overseeing CMS and the scrutiny Armstrong faced for changes to the program, Curran's appointment will likely be closely watched.

Curran, a 26-year veteran of the Air Force, has been involved with CMS since 1974, according to a DOH statement and has for 16 years been an administrator at USF, where Armstrong once worked.

"Dr. Curran is an accomplished pediatrician and has long served the children of our CMS program as a consultant and regional medical director," Philip said in a statement. "We are confident his knowledge of pediatric medicine and his extensive leadership experience will guide him as he shepherds CMS into its next chapter."


[Last modified: Wednesday, April 20, 2016 11:38am]


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