Kimberly Nelson is the Regional Administrator serving Region 7: Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska, since 2015. Ms. Nelson has worked in the behavioral health care field since 1992. Her clinical work was early in her career and mainly focused on addiction services, initially in community-based settings in women’s and children’s residential programs in Kansas. She then moved into executive leadership roles primarily. Ms. Nelson provided leadership as program director in programs with criminal justice clients in community-based residential and outpatient settings, as well as with prison-based substance use disorder care.
Ms. Nelson was recruited to the state of Kansas with the Addiction and Prevention Services Division as the Medicaid Coordinator. As the liaison between the behavioral health and Medicaid divisions, her primary responsibility was to ensure Medicaid policy was aligned with the state goals for addiction services. This was accomplished via a pre-paid inpatient health plan; part of our 1915 b/c managed care waiver for behavioral health. Ms. Nelson was part of the team that wrote the waiver, request for proposals, awarded the contract and then led the team that managed the contractor for the five years of this waiver.
As the state administration changed, after a brief time as the state’s Substance Abuse Authority, in continuing roles of increasing responsibility, Ms. Nelson moved into the role of Director of Managed Care for the Behavioral Health and Disabilities division in the state. She helped implement a statewide comprehensive integrated managed care system in 2012 under an 1115 demonstration waiver that covered all services; including physical health, behavioral health, and long term services and supports. Ms. Nelson shared in the management of this contract, leading the team that managed the aspects of this contract dedicated to behavioral health and long term services and supports in the state. During her tenure with the state of Kansas, Ms. Nelson was part of the team that got the state plan amendment approved for implementation of Health Homes for those with severe mental illness. In her position of Vice President of Marketing and New Business Development for a large integrated health services provider in Kansas, prior to becoming the Region VII Administrator, Ms. Nelson lead the team that launched their Health Home program.
Perhaps most importantly, Kim is a person in long-term recovery from addiction. She is a Licensed Addictions Counselor and a Certified Peer Support Specialist. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and her master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Kansas.