Pinehurst Doctor Appointed to Lead State Medicaid Office

Raleigh, North Carolina

Southern Pines Pilot
April 29, 2014

N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos on Tuesday announced that Dr. Robin Gary Cummings, the DHHS Deputy Secretary for Health Services, will assume the duties of Medicaid director.

Cummings, a Pinehurst resident, will continue to serve as acting state health director.

"My vision for a sustainable Medicaid program is one that puts patients first, effectively utilizes North Carolina's outstanding health care delivery system, and achieves budget predictability," said Wos. "We have been on a path to achieving this vision and Dr. Cummings has the right combination of strong leadership and extensive involvement in our health care system to make it a reality."

Dr. Cummings joined DHHS in 2013 to lead the Office of Rural Health and Community Care. He previously was the medical director and executive director for Community Care of the Sandhills. Cummings is a board-certified general and cardiothoracic surgeon.

As a native of North Carolina and a member of the Lumbee tribe, Cummings is personally vested in making the state one of the best places to live and work. He has served on several boards, including chair of the Board of Trustees for UNC Pembroke, chair of the N.C. Commission of Indian Affairs Health Committee, and is the founding chair of the N.C. American Indian Health Board. He is a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill and the Duke University School of Medicine.

Cummings visited The Pilot recently to tout the state's proposed Medicaid reform plan.

That plan would allow hospitals, doctors and clinics to form networks called accountable care organizations.

"This is a good plan," Cummings said during the visit. "It puts providers first. It's patient centric. It addresses costs. I have totally bought into it."

The reform proposal, outlined to state legislators earlier this month, calls for setting up so-called accountable care organizations (ACO) and enrolling providers in July 2015.

Cummings said as an example FirstHealth of the Carolinas, along with the Pinehurst Medical Clinic and Pinehurst Surgical could make "the backbone of an ACO that could hit the ground running."


Under ACOs, doctors and hospitals treating Medicaid beneficiaries would band together to treat patients more efficiently, which state officials think will lower costs and improve patient health. And, in a first for the state, these ACOs would share in any savings or losses with the state and federal government.

Cummings said the ACOs would agree to health quality measures for patients and to spending limits. If they spend less than projected, the organizations would keep some of the money they save. If ACOs spend more than budgeted, the organizations would have to cover some of the costs.

For more information on the Medicaid Reform plan, click here.