Magazine article Policy & Practice

In Passing

Magazine article Policy & Practice

In Passing

Article excerpt

Barbara D. Matula, director of the North Carolina Division of Medical Assistance from 1979 to 1996 died Monday, June 1, 2009 at her home in Raleigh, N.C. She had cancer.


A highly regarded figure in health care policy nationally and statewide, Matula was a founding member of the National Academy of State Health Policy and chaired its executive committee for nine years. She served as the chair of the National Association of State Medicaid Directors Association from 1982 until 1986.

Matula served on the Advisory Board of the National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality. She was a member of the N.C. Institute of Medicine, the State Health Coordinating Council, the Government Efficiency and Tax Loophole Closing Commission and was frequently called upon to testify before Congress and to work with members of Congress regarding health reform initiatives.

Matula was instrumental in the passage of the 1999 Breast and Cervical Cancer legislation that permitted Medicaid coverage of this form of cancer. She was also one of nine members of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's National Study Group on State Medicaid Strategy in the 1980s that called for fundamental reform of Medicaid's basic structural problems, citing the fact that two of every three long-term care residents are Medicaid recipients. She was also involved in working on the original legislation establishing the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Working under three governors of both parties and with the N.C. General Assembly, Matula worked to expand Medicaid to address the problems North Carolina's uninsured and underinsured, including passage of legislation that expanded Medicaid coverage to groups of low-income working women and to low-income children. Gov. Jim Hunt praised Matula for her pioneering work on Medicaid policy in N.C. and recalled her testimony to the National Governors Association in Washington and her leadership assisting all 50 states.

Matula was born in Hazleton, Pa., on Feb. 26, 1942, the daughter of a coal miner. She received her bachelor's degree from Rider College in Trenton, N.J., and her master's in Public Administration from SUNY-Albany. She began her career as a social worker in Trenton, and served as a legislative and program analyst for New York state prior to moving to North Carolina. …

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