The former top staffer to Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) Secretary Liz Dudek has joined a law and lobbying firm as a “corporate affairs advisor.”
Jennifer Ungru is now with Jones Walker LLP’s Tallahassee office, according to an announcement on the firm’s website.
Before her stint as AHCA chief of staff, Ungru was deputy chief of staff to Gov. Rick Scott, overseeing nine agencies, including the departments of Management Services and State.
“We are pleased to have Jennifer join our Florida team,” said attorney-lobbyist Marc Dunbar, head of the firm’s Tallahassee office. “Her knowledge and experience of Medicaid programs and healthcare issues will be a very valuable asset to (our) healthcare clients.”
According to her firm bio, “During her tenure, (AHCA) implemented major health reforms, including the movement to Statewide Medicaid Managed Care, the largest procurement in state history.”
Her last reported salary with the state was $118,500.
As the top AHCA staffer, Ungru led the fight – behind the scenes – against the Obama Administration as it cut funding to the Low Income Pool (LIP), the joint federal-state fund that pays for Florida hospitals’ charity care.
LIP money goes to reimburse hospitals that treat large numbers of patients who aren’t insured and can’t afford to pay.
But the feds, wanting states to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, told Florida they would be tapering off their contribution to zero over the next two years. Gov. Rick Scott is opposed to Medicaid expansion.
GOP House lawmakers called foul, saying federal officials were holding the LIP contribution hostage until the state accepted Medicaid expansion. Medicaid expansion is now dead, and charity care funding remains largely unresolved.
Ungru also has worked in the Florida House of Representatives Majority Office, her bio said.
“Jennifer is an outstanding addition to our healthcare team,” said Will Waring, who leads Jones Walker’s Healthcare Industry Group. “Her insight into Florida’s health care budget, the largest budget in the Gulf South, will be an asset to our clients.”