Karen Kimsey

PartnerRichmond, Virginia

Karen Kimsey is an experienced leader with more than 27 years in public health care policy, program development and operation, and finance. She is also a nationally recognized expert in Medicaid-funded long-term services and supports. Karen works with executive level clients across the country to provide solutions to complex health care issues.

Before joining Speire, Karen served as the director of Virginia’s Medicaid and Child Health Insurance Programs, including the provision of acute, behavioral health and long-term services and supports to more than 2.1 million Virginians at an annual cost of $20 billion.

As director, Karen led the agency through the COVID pandemic, making numerous changes to ensure Virginians had critical access to health care services. This involved significant disaster preparedness planning for the program and the agency. She brought more transparency and accountability to agency, financial and program operations through the creation of online dashboards and other external-facing reporting mechanisms. Karen lead her team to initiate significant organizational changes to enhance staff level satisfaction and work performance, dramatically reducing staff attrition from thirty to three percent. This effort was recognized with a Spotlight award from the National Association of Medicaid Directors.

Her modernization efforts also included the successful implementation of the Medicaid Enterprise System, an innovative, multi-modular approach which replaced the single, monolithic Medicaid Management Information System in April 2022.

Karen served in multiple executive level roles in the Virginia Medicaid program. As the Medicaid Chief Deputy Director, she was the operational lead for the creation of the Medicaid Expansion benefit, which now supports 600,0000 low-income adults. This included streamlining eligibility processing for incarcerated populations. As Deputy of Complex Care and Services, she led the effort to integrate long-term and behavioral health services and supports into managed care, including the development of an innovative model of managed care for individuals enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid. She also led the creation of a new addiction and treatment services benefit to address the opioid crisis. Additionally, she was the primary Medicaid lead for the redesign of the Intellectual and Developmental Disability service delivery system while the state was under a settlement agreement with the Department of Justice.

Nationally, Karen served on the governance committee and as east coast representative of the National Association of Medicaid Directors. She currently serves as a Member of the American Board of Internal Medicine’s Action Group on Health Equity.

Karen holds a master’s degree in Social Work and a certificate in Aging Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University in addition to a bachelor’s degree in social work from James Madison University.