UMass Medical School professor to direct medical aspects of Medicaid policy development

February 13, 2004

WORCESTER, Mass. - Ronald J. Steingard, MD, has been named medical director for the Office of Clinical Affairs (OCA) within the Office of Medicaid in the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services. Dr. Steingard, a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), is a nationally known expert in pharmacotherapy for behavioral and mental disorders, and an advocate for best practice models to improve health care quality.  Steingard succeeds Annette Hanson, MD, who retired from UMMS at the end of 2003.

To ensure that the Commonwealth’s Medicaid program, MassHealth, applies the highest clinical standards to its program operations and policy development, EOHHS contracts with UMMS to provide MassHealth clinical support services.  The OCA assists the Office of Medicaid in formulating, refining, implementing and evaluating clinical policy.  Specific responsibilities of the OCA include quality improvement initiatives and practice guidelines; pharmaceutical benefit program design and management; and medical service prior authorization and utilization review.  As medical director, Steingard will be responsible for ensuring high quality service delivery to the Office of Medicaid and for supervising the approximately 65 UMass clinical professionals within the OCA who work in close collaboration with MassHealth staff. 

Medicaid Director Beth Waldman, who heads the Office of Medicaid, expressed confidence in the choice.  “Dr. Steingard brings with him a commitment to public service and an insistence on clinical integrity, both essential qualities in a medical director for MassHealth,” said Waldman.  “His appointment strengthens our program and solidifies our valued partnership with UMass Medical School.  The OCA, under Dr. Steingard’s leadership and with the resources of the Medical School, will continue to provide the clinical expertise that is so crucial to our ability to serve MassHealth’s members and providers effectively.” 

Steingard was instrumental in developing and implementing a program called the Targeted Child Psychiatric Service. The program, developed jointly with MassHealth and Dr. Hanson, is designed to make child psychiatry services more accessible to primary care providers. The program has been successfully implemented at UMass Memorial Health Care in Worcester, with plans to implement the program statewide over the next year.

Steingard will serve as a senior member of the Medicaid management team, reporting on a day-to-day basis to Daniel H. Lasser, MD, MPH, professor and chair of the UMMS Department of Family and Community Health, who directs clinical affairs for Commonwealth Medicine programs at the Medical School.  “We are thrilled to have worked with the Office of Medicaid in the recruitment of Dr. Steingard to this key position,” said Dr. Lasser.  “His keen interest in the Medicaid program, and his particular interests in fostering best practice models for care and for pharmacotherapy will serve the program well.  I know that he will continue to foster the tradition of clinical excellence that Dr. Hanson developed within the Office for Clinical Affairs.”

Steingard received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his medical degree from Penn State University in 1977; after completing his residency training in psychiatry at the University of Michigan and at Cambridge Hospital/Harvard Medical School, where he specialized in child psychiatry, he was appointed a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and held hospital appointments at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Children’s Hospital, McLean Hospital and Cambridge Health Alliance. He joined UMMS in 2001 as professor of psychiatry and pediatrics and as vice chair for child and adolescent psychiatry at UMass Memorial Medical Center.  In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Steingard has research interests in the use of non-invasive brain imaging studies to evaluate psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents and in the pharmacological management of mood disorders in children.  He has served as an investigator on more than 20 research studies evaluating the efficacy of pharmacotherapy for mood disorders, and has lectured around the world on his research.

“This is a great opportunity to work with a very professional group that provides a critical service to the Commonwealth,” said Steingard.  “I have had the opportunity to work with Dr. Hanson and the staff of the Office of Clinical Affairs on a number of projects and I have the utmost respect for the people and the work of this office. I will work hard to maintain the quality of performance that this office has demonstrated in performing a very complex function and support the continued development of policies that benefit the people of Massachusetts.”

The University of Massachusetts Medical School, one of the fastest growing academic health centers in the country, has built a reputation as a world-class research institution, consistently producing noteworthy advances in clinical and basic research.  The Medical School attracts more than $154 million in research funding annually, 80 percent of which comes from federal funding sources.  

Commonwealth Medicine (CM), a unique public service component of UMMS, has evolved as part of the Medical School’s commitment to the Commonwealth and developed from the relationships that UMMS has fostered over the past 20 years with state agencies responsible for the provision of services to the commonwealth’s citizens. Through these experiences, CM has integrated the academic resources of UMMS with those of public agencies to develop creative solutions to the agencies’ specific needs.

CM is the state’s partner in public sector health care initiatives that serve to optimize efficiency, increase the value and quality of health care expenditures, and improve access and delivery of care to at-risk and uninsured citizens. With its various academic, research, management and clinical components – serving the Massachusetts departments of Mental Health, Social Services, Public Safety and Public Health and the state’s Medicaid program, and staffed by forward-thinking professionals – CM is UMMS’ answer to state agencies’ quest for streamlined performance and positive returns.

Specific programs that foster collaboration with various state and local agencies on health care initiatives include the Center for Health Care Financing, the Center for Health Policy and Research, the Office of Community Programs/MassHealth Access Project, the Massachusetts Statewide Area Health Education Center Program, Disability Evaluation Services, Pharmacy Benefit Management, Health and Criminal Justice Programs, Nursing Home Initiative, Office of Clinical Affairs, and the Center for Adoption Research. Commonwealth Medicine also administers the grants and contracts that support UMMS’ Shriver Center, where research is conducted to determine the biological and environmental factors that influence neurological and behavioral development, and educational and service programs that directly benefit individuals with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities. In addition, Commonwealth Medicine provides operating services for the programs located at UMMS’ Jamaica Plain campus, including the Massachusetts Biologic Laboratories and the New England Newborn Screening Program.

MassHealth provides comprehensive health insurance to nearly 1,000,000 low-income and disabled individuals in the Commonwealth.  The MassHealth program has been recognized as a national leader and innovator in providing high-quality health care coverage to low and moderate-income families. 

Visit for additional information.

Contact:           Mark L. Shelton  508-856-2000

                        Dick Powers (EOHHS)  617-573-1610