Regional Administrator, SAMHSA,
Kimberly Nelson is the Regional Administrator serving Region 7: Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska. Ms. Nelson is a licensed addictions counselor with a master’s degree in public administration and has worked in the behavioral health care field since 1992. Ms. Nelson has worked in health care for all of her professional career, primarily in the area of behavioral health as an addictions and managed care contract professional. Ms. Nelson’s 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 therapeutic communities.
Later, 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 of the Kansas Department on Aging and Disability Services, helping to 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 of Kansas. During her tenure with the state of Kansas, Ms. Brown was part of the team that got the state plan amendment approved by CMS for implementation of Health Homes for those with severe mental illness. In her most recent position of vice president of marketing and new business development for Mirror Inc., a large integrated health services provider in Kansas, Ms. Brown lead the team that launched the Health Home program for Mirror. Mirror provides substance use disorder services, prevention, mental health services, correctional re-entry and treatment services, and Health Home care coordination for those with severe mental illness.
Ms. Nelson is a licensed addictions counselor and earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology and her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Kansas.