OPA Director Biography
In September 2014 Governor Jerry Brown appointed Elizabeth Abbott to be the Director of the State of California’s Office of the Patient Advocate (OPA). OPA is the state office responsible for preparing and releasing the Report Cards that rate the largest health plans in California and more than 200 of the largest medical groups. OPA also annually publishes analysis of consumer complaints from Medi-Cal, Covered California, and the state regulators of commercial health insurers.
Prior to working for OPA, Ms. Abbott worked at Health Access California, the consumer coalition working for access to quality and affordable health care for all. As the Director of Administrative Advocacy, she focused on public policy and advocated on behalf of California consumers before state and federal agencies, including the issues of cultural and linguistic access to health care and mandating timely access to health care for consumers. She served for several years as the consumer representative to the state’s Financial Solvency Standards Board. From 2010 until leaving Health Access, she was appointed as one of the 16 national Consumer Representatives to advise the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, insurance market reforms, and other consumer issues related to health care.
Ms. Abbott previously served for 10 years as the Regional Administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for Region IX. The regional office covered the states of CA, AZ, NV, HI, and the Far Pacific territories. She was responsible for the oversight of the Medicare and Medicaid programs, the state children’s health insurance programs, managed health care plans, and the quality of care delivered in hospitals and nursing homes. The region encompasses over 10 million beneficiaries, and had a programmatic budget exceeding $30 billion per year.
Before CMS, Ms. Abbott worked for the Social Security Administration (SSA) as an English- and Spanish-speaking interviewer and as a management official in 17 field and regional offices in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, and throughout California. Ms. Abbott has B.A. in psychology from the University of Redlands and has done graduate work in public administration at the University of Southern California. She lives in Davis with her husband and a pair of bluetick hounds and the cats.