Ms. Donna Frescatore, executive director of NY State of Health, the official health plan marketplace for New York State, served as the commencement speaker at the University at Albany School of Public Health’s May 16 ceremony. Addressing the 176 graduates, Ms. Frescatore, who has led the planning, implementation and operation of the most successful health insurance marketplaces in the nation, talked to the graduates about their important role in the changing health care landscape, and how they are poised to be change agents as the next generation of health care leaders.
Ms. Frescatore shared that she had not begun her professional career thinking she would be in the public health realm, having held her first job as an accountant in the insurance industry. She also talked about her commitment to helping New Yorkers gain access to quality health care services. Ms. Frescatore’s personal message to the graduates was about the importance of managing their work-family life balance. In closing, she advised the graduates to remember to keep their accomplishments in perspective, and to be sure to thank those who have helped and supported them along the way.
Prior to leading NY State of Health, Ms. Frescatore served as assistant deputy secretary of health in the office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. She also served as the Medicaid director and the deputy commissioner of the Office of Health Insurance Programs at the NYS Department of Health, where she oversaw negotiated coverage expansions with the federal government and of the state’s Medicaid program to coordinated systems of care. She began her career with NYS in the Department of Civil Service where she was responsible for purchasing benefits for the over one million employees and retirees of state and local governments enrolled in the New York State Employees Health Insurance Program.