Gov. Jay Nixon today announced that Dr. Joe Parks, Chief Medical Officer for the Missouri Department of Mental Health, has been named director of the MO HealthNet Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services, effective December 16.
"Dr. Parks' nearly two decades of experience with public health will be beneficial in helping to ensure that Missouri's Medicaid system is efficient, effective and responsive to the needs of Missourians," Gov. Nixon said. "Deeply respected in the medical field and on both sides of the aisle, Dr. Parks' leadership will be greatly appreciated in this vital role."
"With more than 850,000 Missourians enrolled in Medicaid, the MO HealthNet Division impacts families in every community throughout the state," said Brian Kinkade, acting Director of the Missouri Department of Social Services. "Ensuring that this program continues to meet the needs of our most vulnerable populations is critically important and we appreciate Dr. Parks bringing his expertise and insight to the furthering of this mission."
"I have dedicated my career to helping Missourians live healthier, happier and more productive lives and I look forward to continuing this work as MO HealthNet Director," said Dr. Joe Parks. "Whether it's the children of working families who need a simple check-up, or seniors who need help managing their chronic medical conditions, the MO HealthNet program has an opportunity to improve the whole spectrum of public health in Missouri which will keep our state and our economy on solid ground moving forward."
Dr. Parks practices psychiatry on an outpatient basis at Family Health Center, a community health center established to expand services to uninsured and underinsured patients in the Columbia area. He previously served as the Division Director for the Division of Comprehensive Psychiatric Services for the Missouri Department of Mental Health.
Dr. Parks will be stepping down from his positions as Director of the Missouri Institute of Mental Health, with the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and as President of the Medical Director's Council of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.
Dr. Parks received the American Psychiatric Association Bronze Achievement Award in 2006 for a program controlling pharmacy costs by improving prescribing practices.