WellCare picks new chief for Georgia

Tampa-based WellCare Health Plans announced Wednesday a new president for its Georgia operation.

The company’s naming of David J. McNichols comes as a consulting firm for the state is evaluating the current system of delivering care to Medicaid and PeachCare beneficiaries in Georgia.

WellCare has part of that multibillion-dollar business, along with two other managed care companies. The state pays the three firms a total of more than $2.5 billion a year to serve the Medicaid and PeachCare populations.

The consulting firm Navigant is also studying other states’ methods of delivering care in their Medicaid and children’s health insurance programs.

McNichols recently worked as an executive for Walgreens and for Principal Financial Group. From 2005 until 2007, he served as president and CEO for Peach State Health Plan in Georgia, which operates one of the other two ‘‘care management organizations’’ in the Medicaid and PeachCare market in the state.

“David’s experience and knowledge of the Georgia market will provide valuable insight as WellCare enhances its services for Medicare and Medicaid members throughout the state,” said Jesse Thomas, president of WellCare’s South Division, in a statement. “WellCare expects to make great advancements and offer many opportunities in Georgia, and we welcome David’s support to make our impact successful.”

McNichols said in a statement, “It is an honor to work with a team that has a committed focus on serving Georgia’s Medicaid and Medicare programs.”

“WellCare’s Georgia team has proven its dedication to quality, and I value the opportunity to work with them to continue serving members, providers, community partners and government customers in our state,” he added.

In a recent report, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services commended Georgia’s Medicaid and PeachCare programs for their quality improvement and measurement processes.