CalOptima Board of Directors Extends CEO’s Contract, Raises Salary to $841,500 – Orange County Register

In just under a year at the helm of CalOptima, the safety-net health insurer for Orange County’s poorest residents, CEO Michael Hunn has so impressed his board that he has increased his salary by about 50% to $841,500 per year.

The board voted on Oct. 6 to extend Hunn’s three-year contract to five years, increase his salary to better align it with his industry peers, and qualify him for an annual performance bonus of up to 10% starting next year .

CalOptima was established in 1993 by the Orange County Board of Supervisors to manage care for MediCal covered county residents. It was later spun off as a standalone agency, although district supervisors appoint CalOptima’s 11-member board and two supervisors hold board seats, with a third supervisor as an alternate.

Two board members said Hunn has done an exceptional job since he was hired last November following the departure of the previous CEO. Richard Sanchez, who had run OC Health Care Agency, was hired in April 2020 and left the company less than 18 months later. Hunn’s annual salary, both as interim CEO and when he received a permanent contract this March, was $560,000.

“I’ve never seen us, or any organization, move as fast as we have,” said OC Supervisor Doug Chaffee, who has served on CalOptima’s board of directors since Hunn came on board.

The agency is creating a street medicine program to bring care often neglected or difficult to access directly to the homeless, implementing the state’s revamped Medi-Cal program, and working toward the 2027 goal of ensuring same-day approval for treatment requests and payment of claims, noted Chaffee.

“We’re just moving at the speed of light and we wanted to keep him longer,” Chaffee said, although he added that he had no information that Hunn might have planned to leave.

Through a spokesman for CalOptima, Hunn declined an interview request. A statement from the agency said Hunn’s contract has been extended “to lead the agency in the full implementation of its mission and vision, financial and operational improvements, and enhancing the care it provides to one in four Orange County residents “.

The spokesman said Hunn proposed the contract extension but did not request a pay rise.

State Rep. Sharon Quirk-Silva, who previously requested a state audit of CalOptima to improve transparency on services, said Friday she was “shocked” by the increase in a salary that already seemed ample, adding that the board’s decision “seems”. don’t really consider the constituents they serve,” who include many of the county’s homeless residents.

In the last 10 years, CalOptima has more than doubled its membership, it now has 940,508 residents. It has a budget of about $4 billion, with most of its revenue coming from state and federal funds, and it has nearly 1,500 employees.

Both Hunn’s March contract and the one approved by the board last week say he is entitled to a pay rise of no more than 5% each year. However, when deciding on his new salary, the board members considered a comparative chart of the compensation of five other healthcare CEOs in Southern California. Pay ranged from $574,376 to $1.7 million.

CalOptima Board Member Isabel Becerra, who leads the Coalition of Orange County Community Health Centers, joined Chaffee in praising Hunn’s performance.

Hunn has brought a number of stakeholders into discussions about how to design programs and implement new regulations, and he personally attends every CalOptima sponsor event, Becerra said, showing a commitment she hasn’t seen from other CEOs.

“I’ve been in this space (community health) for over 20 years and I’ve never been more involved in this conversation than I am today,” she said.

Chaffee said he expects some of Hunn’s innovations to save CalOptima more than it brings in.

OC Supervisor Don Wagner, who is not on the CalOptima board, said he recently voted against what he described as a “comfortable pay rise” for Orange County Transportation Agency CEO Darrell Johnson, not because Johnson didn’t do well but because he doesn’t think that’s the best way to use taxpayers’ money. (OCTA’s website says Johnson’s base salary is $391,810.)

Wagner said he wasn’t ready to say Hunn’s salary didn’t match comparable positions, but for an agency “that exists to serve the poor,” Wagner said, “that’s a staggering amount of money.”

Quirk-Silva said she appreciates the work CalOptima has been doing recently, including increased support for the homeless and partnering with the new Be Well OC, which provides behavioral and mental health services to all people regardless of insurance. It was previous conversations about the Orange County Homeless Service that first drew her attention to the agency.

She hopes to learn more from the audit about how the agency spends public money to manage health care for OC residents, she said.

“Millions of dollars flow through this organization and we have to make sure we take care of those dollars and make sure the money goes to those most in need – and that’s still what I’m about.” CalOptima Board of Directors Extends CEO’s Contract, Raises Salary to $841,500 – Orange County Register

Dais Johnston

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