SANTA BARBARA — CenCal Health has selected Marina Owen to serve as its next CEO effective Nov. 1. She will succeed Bob Freeman, who is retiring after 28 years.
Ms. Owen has more than 15 years of health plan management experience, and she most recently served as the chief operating officer at Central California Alliance for Health. She also previously served as a director of Provider Services and Community Engagement at CenCal Health from 2008 to 2017.
As CenCal CEO, Ms. Owen will be responsible for providing strategic direction, management and administration of programs and services, while also ensuring that CenCal Health fulfills its mission.
“I am honored to serve CenCal Health once again,” Ms. Owen said in a statement. “I look forward to partnering with our board, members, providers and community organizations to improve the health and wellness of our diverse communities and advance health equity in the future.”
In a statement, Mr. Freeman, the former CEO, said he is leaving the organization he loves “in very good hands” with Ms. Owen. During his time with CenCal Health, Mr. Freeman is credited with managing the organization’s growth to a membership of more than 205,000 people in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.
In addition, a specialized pediatric unit was also created during his tenure to support MediCal members who are eligible for California Children’s Services.
“When someone retires from an organization they’re very proud of, the one thing they want most is for that organization to continue its good work moving forward,” Mr. Freeman said. “I leave CenCal Health in a few weeks knowing the types of things we accomplished under my tenure will continue under Marina Owen.”
— Madison Hirneisen