Kate McEvoy is a nationally recognized Medicaid leader with nearly three decades of experience. She spent nine years as Connecticut’s Medicaid director, overseeing medical, behavioral health, pharmacy, dental and transportation benefits for more than 850,000 Medicaid enrollees. Before then, much of her career was dedicated to long-term services and supports and aging policy. Across nearly 30 years, the policies and programs she has championed have improved the lives of millions.

In her current role, Kate serves as the executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD), the professional association that supports the work of Medicaid directors and enhances their ability to improve the health of millions. We recently caught up with Kate to learn what she is excited about right now, her strategies to support staff, and how she promotes the work of Medicaid agencies.

About the Portraits in Public Sector Leadership

Public sector leaders are the backbone of the U.S. health safety net, overseeing critical services to support the health and well-being of millions of people across the nation. This series highlights public sector health care leaders across the country to share the things that make them tick — what they’re proud of, what the work means to them, and importantly, how they find all the energy to make public services work better for people across the nation. View the series

At-A-Glance

  • Who: Kate McEvoy
  • Current Role: Executive Director, National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD)
  • Public Sector Tenure: 30 years
  • CHCS Connection: Medicaid Leadership Institute Class of 2016

Q. What’s your public sector passion?

A. I continue to be inspired to learn from and link arms with people who are unwaveringly focused on the many commonalities of interest and concern about health care that remain powerfully evident, across the country and the ideological spectrum.

Q. What’s a success — big or small — that you experienced recently?

A. NAMD recently convened people from across Medicaid leadership teams —including Medicaid directors, communications staff, chief financial officers, and eligibility leads — around a shared mission of the public health emergency unwinding. An interdisciplinary approach to sharing information, updates, best practices, and practical challenges of the everyday is going to be a benefit to Medicaid teams. 

Q. What keeps you motivated, especially on the difficult days?

A. A fundamental belief that Medicaid is the fulcrum point for improving folks’ lives, including economic security, helping kids be ready for school, and much more. I see Medicaid as an incredible enabling mechanism, and that is a great reason to be focused on the program every day.

Q. How do you address staff burnout?

A. Interestingly we recently held a session to support Medicaid staff that offered some strategies around burnout but also illuminated the premise of “moral injury.” Moral injury results from working in an environment that might be challenging from the standpoint of consistency with one’s values or moral compass. This has been an interesting area of focus for me — how do we navigate an environment that can feel very polarizing nationally, identify commonalities, and keep focus on the potential for areas of agreement and shared progress.

Q. How do you rest and get reenergized outside of work?

A. I love to go on long runs. I have a practice where I write a little observation about each of my runs. It’s become this yearslong thing that reflects the seasons, the incidental things that I see, and it’s almost like a little meditation practice. I will also say that I am not a natural runner. It’s a struggle every single day to do it but it’s been a really great thing for my psyche.

Q. What’s your caffeine source of choice coffee, tea, soda, or lucky enough to have endless energy?

A. I’m a person of Irish heritage, which in my family means that if something wonderful happens, you have a cup of tea, and if something dreadful happens, you have a cup of tea. It’s the important preparatory act no matter what is going on in your life. So, I’m on the extreme tea end of the caffeine continuum.

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