Mary Mayhew exits AHCA to take helm of Florida Hospital Association
Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Mary Mayhew is leaving the DeSantis administration to lead the Florida Hospital Association. Image via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

AHCA has fallen under fire in recent weeks over a contract awarded to an already-embattled consulting firm.

The Governor’s Office announced Secretary Mary Mayhew is leaving the Agency for Health Care Administration to be the next CEO of the Florida Hospital Association.

That announcement comes amid heightened scrutiny over AHCA’s decision to award an embattled firm a new government contract. After coming under fire for its role in the state’s unemployment system, Deloitte Consulting won a $135 million contract to upgrade the agency’s Medicare database.

Gov. Ron DeSantis lamented the decision to give the firm a second chance but said the state’s procurement rules prevented him from intervening and forced the agency to accept the bid.

With the announcement Friday, the Governor issued his support for Mayhew.

“From spearheading my administration’s efforts to allow for the importation of safe and affordable prescription drugs from Canada, to navigating our top priority during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect the most vulnerable, Secretary Mayhew has served Floridians well, and we wish her all the best on her new endeavor,” DeSantis said. “The FHA has made an excellent choice.”

Mayhew succeeds Bruce Rueben, who stepped down at the end of 2019 after leading the Association for 11 years. Executive Vice President Crystal Stickle has served as Interim President since the start of 2020.

“We are ecstatic to have Mary Mayhew as our next President and CEO,” said FHA Board Chair Aurelio Fernandez. “Mary has a proven record of driving change and advocating for excellence in health care.

Before taking the reins of the agency in January 2019, Mayhew served as Deputy Administrator and Director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services.

“It has been an honor to work for Gov. DeSantis and to serve the people of Florida,” Mayhew said. “I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to lead the Agency for Health Care Administration in support of Gov. DeSantis’ vision. Through his leadership, we have increased transparency of health care quality and pricing, advanced access to affordable prescription drugs from Canada, strengthened mental health services, and driven accountability across the health care system.

Before joining the Trump administration, she served as Commissioner of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services for six years under then-Gov. Paul LePage.


“This opportunity is the culmination of many rich and diverse leadership experiences I have had in the health care industry,” Mayhew said. “The State of Florida is perhaps the most dynamic and evolving health care environment in the nation. I look forward to collaborating with all our members, from rural and safety-net hospitals to some of the nation’s leading educational and research institutions.”

The announcement also comes against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is now in its seventh month in Florida.

“I am humbled to have supported the Governor as he led our state in the face of an unprecedented pandemic and public health crisis with his unwavering commitment to protecting our most vulnerable,” Mayhew said.

Her predecessor, Justin Senior, left the agency at the end of the Scott administration for a position at the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida.

Mayhew’s last day in the DeSantis administration will be Oct. 2. The Governor’s Office has already started the search process to replace her and will name the next Secretary before Mayhew departs.

“From successfully spearheading @GovRonDeSantis’ efforts to reduce the cost of prescription drugs, to protecting our most vulnerable during #COVID19, Secretary Mary Mayhew has served Floridians well and we wish her all the best in her new endeavor as CEO of @FLHospitalAssn,” the Republican Party of Florida tweeted.

Mayhew grew up in Pittsfield, Maine, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.

One comment

  • Douglas Adkins

    September 5, 2020 at 12:10 pm

    Sorry to see Secretary Mayhew leave AHCA, she was an energetic and thoughtful leader who was open to new ideas and was focused on improving care for Florida’s seniors and those that struggle with mental illness. I am sure that Gov DeSantis will select another dynamic leader to help fill her shoes.

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