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Industry Insider One-on-One: Team Leader on Service, Security, Infrastructure Work

A photo of Lynn Lee, functional lead of the CA-MMIS Operations Division of the California Department of Health Care Services, next to a quote that reads, “California Medicaid Management Information Systems (CA-MMIS) Operations is currently working on multiple initiatives to transition our legacy infrastructure to more supportable platforms. This includes leveraging current enterprise solutions as well as taking advantage of cloud offerings when appropriate.”
This story is limited to Industry Insider — California members.
This story is limited to Industry Insider — California members. Login below to read this story or learn about membership.
As part of Industry Insider — California’s ongoing efforts to educate readers on state agencies, their IT plans and initiatives, here’s the latest in our periodic series of interviews with departmental IT leaders.

Lynn Lee is functional lead in the California Medicaid Management Information Systems Operations Division at the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS). A veteran state staffer, she has been in her current capacity at DHCS since April 2019 and was previously senior security specialist at the department for more than 11 years. Lee joined DHCS in January 2003 as a senior information systems analyst, working in that capacity for more than eight years before becoming a senior security specialist/systems software specialist III for more than 11 years.

She has an Associate of Arts degree in business administration and management from American River College and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Golden Gate University. Among her professional licenses and certifications, Lee is a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) by the Scrum Alliance, and is certified in Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Foundation in IT Service Management by Acquiros.

Industry Insider — California: It’s my understanding that you are a functional lead, an IT specialist III, at the Department of Health Care Services. Please tell me a bit about your role and responsibilities and how those may have evolved in recent years?

Lee: I am currently with the California Medicaid Management Information Systems (CA-MMIS) Operations Division, which is one of four divisions within Program Operations supporting a range of operational service delivery at DHCS. CA-MMIS Operations is responsible for oversight and administration of the Medi-Cal fee-for-service (FFS) core processing systems and business operations services. My team is responsible for the technology that supports Medi-Cal FFS systems and business services. From an enterprise perspective, CA-MMIS Operations technology groups operate in partnership with and under the guidance of DHCS’ Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) and chief information officer. I am responsible for the teams that develop, implement, maintain, and operate our division’s service management capabilities (CA-MMIS ServiceNow, CA-MMIS SharePoint, CA-MMIS Cognos, CA-MMIS Cloud environments) as well as management and oversight of CA-MMIS Operations’ vendor network, infrastructure, architecture, and security initiatives and practices. My role with CA-MMIS Operations has evolved over the years significantly due to the division’s increased role as the system integrator for the two CA-MMIS fiscal intermediaries. This is most evident in the service management space as well as application hosting strategies, influenced by cloud-first directives from the California Department of Technology (CDT) and our desire to utilize more state and enterprise solutions. We now have state teams managing and operating our CA-MMIS Service Management capabilities and CA-MMIS Cloud environments.

Industry Insider — California: What big IT initiatives or projects do you currently have in the works?

Lee: CA-MMIS Operations is currently working on multiple initiatives to transition our legacy infrastructure to more supportable platforms. This includes leveraging current enterprise solutions as well as taking advantage of cloud offerings when appropriate.

Industry Insider — California: What big IT initiatives or projects are coming up? What sorts of developing opportunities and RFPs should we be watching for in the next six to 12 months?

Lee: For fairness and equity, these offerings are communicated through standard bid notification channels.

Industry Insider — California: How do you define “digital transformation?” How far along is your organization in that process, and how will you know when it’s finished?

Lee: “Digital transformation” is using technologies to support business processes and customer experiences to meet new and changing requirements. We continually evaluate our business and operating models to align with DHCS’ and CA-MMIS Operations’ strategic goals and objectives to deliver health-care services to some of California’s most vulnerable populations. We must embrace agility, collaboration, pragmatic problem solving, and fit-for-purpose solutions to deliver value to our business partners. CA-MMIS Operations is making good progress on the digital transformation journey. I think digital transformation is about defining your to-be architecture and creating the road maps to get you there. However, once achieved, there will always be new or changing technologies that, more than likely, will require updates to your road maps and changes to your to-be architecture. We need to measure progress based on reduction of technical debt as well as assessment of technologies meeting business and operation needs.

Industry Insider — California: How might vendors best educate themselves before working with either your team or with the Department of Health Care Services?

Lee: The best way for vendors to educate themselves about what we do is to visit our websites: and When we are looking for solutions, we leverage industry peers and services. We typically always perform a proof of concept to validate that the solution is going to meet our needs prior to any procurement.

Industry Insider — California: You were recently recognized at the California Public Sector CIO Academy with an award for, as we understand it, team leadership in the areas of infrastructure, cybersecurity, application development, and service management — but also for implementing solutions across multiple platforms and advancing CA-MMIS’ role as system integrator for the Medi-Cal fee-for-service claims payment system. What can you tell us about those areas of focus, and what takeaways would you offer from those initiatives?

Lee: I have many areas of focus and oversee several teams that include CA-MMIS Cloud/Technical, CA-MMIS Security, and Service Management. Within Service Management, I have three different teams for each of our solutions. Therefore, I’ll just focus on one recent accomplishment involving Medi-Cal Transaction Services. We just successfully completed and are in beta launch with a new security enhancement for the Medi-Cal Transaction Services webpage on the website. We also adopted a new support model for this component of the website, whereby DHCS manages the hosting, platform, and DevOps, and the vendor manages the application source code. Prior to this update, the entire system was supported by vendors. My key takeaway from this project is that you don’t always have to do something because that’s the way it’s always been done. When we really analyzed the CA-MMIS Technical Portfolio, we found there were several similar opportunities for improving the support model and utilizing more state resources. Those projects are now on our road map to realize within the next two to three years. A further benefit to the state will be realized by reducing future vendor technology transitions for those systems. Those turnover/takeover efforts are high risk, costly, and very time consuming.

Industry Insider — California: In your tenure at DHCS, which project or achievement are you most proud of?

Lee: I have been with DHCS since 2003, so this list is long. However, there are two that always come to mind because they impact the way we do things today. The first is the CA-MMIS ServiceNow implementation in 2019. As part of our new contracts with vendors, we required all of our vendors to utilize CA-MMIS Service Management tooling versus siloed vendor systems. This enables DHCS to have visibility and access into this important data. I transitioned to my current position in April 2019, and we needed to be live with all Service Management tooling by September 2019 for contract assumption of operations on Oct. 1, 2019. In less than six months and with all new resources and a very small team, we successfully implemented the IT Service Management (ITSM) module (Incident, Problem, Change, Asset-Configuration Management Database, Request-Service Portal, Knowledge). Over the following year, we implemented the IT Business Management module (Agile Development, Project, Portfolio, Demand, Time Management) and additional ITSM modules (Release, Now Mobile, and Agent), all with CA-MMIS Operations custom configurations and development to meet business requirements. Since then, we continue to expand the features and functions of our current ServiceNow module offerings as well as add more modules to support new feature requests, like Workspace Service Delivery for facilities management when staff start returning to the office. The second is the DHCS Enterprise Identity and Access Management project to utilize Azure Active Directory (AAD) for Single Sign On and Access Reviews, for which I was a technical lead when I was the enterprise security architect for DHCS. As the CA-MMIS technical lead, I continue to require AAD integration for all applications and IT services. CA-MMIS alone has more than 55 integrations, and we successfully assisted one of our vendors to transition to using AAD integration.

Industry Insider — California: If you could change one thing about IT procurement, what would it be?

Lee: The need to streamline and simplify processes. The long process to complete a procurement, only to face supply chain issues, has been challenging.

Industry Insider — California: What do you read to stay abreast of developments in the gov tech/SLED sector?

Lee: Industry Insider, of course, but I also am very active in peer forums and communities associated with my areas of responsibility, as well as a Gartner Enterprise IT Leadership license holder.

Industry Insider — California: What are your hobbies and what do you enjoy reading?

Lee: I enjoy traveling and spending time with my family, which of course has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, I am very excited to be going on our first trip since COVID began, at the end of July to Maui. My oldest daughter just graduated from high school in May, and my youngest daughter just finished her freshman year with a 4.0 GPA, so we have a lot to celebrate. I also love reading for pleasure when I have a chance, and enjoy contemporary mysteries and suspense thrillers. However, you’ll typically catch me reading and commenting on our vendor technical deliverables.

Editor’s note: This interview has been lightly edited for style and brevity.