CenCal Health, the publicly sponsored health plan for Medi-Cal in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, has announced the appointment of Dr. Keith Emmons as its new medical director.
Dr. Emmons will initially lead the department of Health Services’ efforts in outpatient and inpatient medical support, and case management.
He joins CenCal with more than 20 years of experience in medical management oversight of health plans, specializing in quality of care, utilization management and case management, among other concentrations, according to a news release sent on Thursday.
With his extensive background in managed-care systems, Dr. Emmons will support the health plan’s endeavors to uphold quality initiatives that promote efficient access to medical care for more than 180,000 CenCal Health members.
Dr. Emmons obtained his medical degree from the University of Illinois in 1980. He continued his academics at UCLA, obtaining his master’s degree in public health in 1996.
Certified by the American Board of Preventive Medicine, Dr. Emmons practiced as a surgeon in Burbank before transitioning to a career in healthcare administration. He has worked with multiple health plans, including UHP Healthcare, WellPoint Health Networks Inc. and most recently United Health Care.
He formerly served as medical director and chief medical officer and worked with providers in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. He will report to CenCal Health Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr. Karen Hord.
“We look forward to having another experienced ‘Doctor in the House,’” Dr. Hord said in a statement. “Dr. Emmons brings a wealth of both clinical and insurance industry knowledge and experience. We are excited to welcome him to CenCal Health and the Central Coast communities.”
Born in Columbus, Ohio, and raised in Chicago, Dr. Emmons currently lives in Los Angeles and plans on moving to Santa Barbara County once the COVID-19 pandemic allows.
“CenCal Health represents a fundamental component of healthcare, which I am so passionate about — helping people in need,” Dr. Emmons said in a statement. “I feel inspired to join my new colleagues as we work together to support communities with limited resources in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. At this point in my career, my focus is giving back to others.”