Administration commissioner taking private health-care job

Administration Commissioner Becky Hultberg is moving to a private health care job.

Gov. Sean Parnell announced Tuesday that Hultberg, 39, was resigning effective Dec. 11 for a private job, but it wasn't until later in the week that Hultberg revealed what that new position is. She will be the Juneau-based senior vice president for the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association starting Jan. 2.

Then, in late 2014, she will become the organization's president, replacing Karen Perdue. Perdue, 59, is a former state health and social services commissioner and University of Alaska official who said she plans to retire next year.

Hultberg said she won't do any lobbying for a year after leaving the commissioner's job. She said she consulted with an ethics attorney and intends to follow the spirt and the letter of state ethics laws.

The association represents the interests of health care facilities from Ketchikan to Barrow. It endorsed Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act and when Parnell rejected expansion Friday, it criticized his decision. Expanding Medicaid to individuals without children and whose income is slightly above the poverty line would enable those Alaskans to get preventive care, "which would lead to potentially fewer critical needs, healthier lives and less costly procedures," the association said.

Among other duties as commissioner, Hultberg oversaw active employee and retiree health plans. She previously was regional marketing director for Providence Health and Services Alaska and worked in various roles for then-Gov. Frank Murkowski as well as members of the congressional delegation.

She said she is looking forward to her new role.

"It's a time of tremendous change in the industry," Hultberg said.

Anchorage Daily News /