KDHE Names State Medicaid Medical Director



TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) announces that Dr. John Esslinger has been named as the State Medicaid Medical Director. This position had previously been vacant.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Esslinger has decided to join our team,” said Adam Proffit, KDHE Medicaid Director.  “His vast experience, both as a clinician, as well as several years of direct involvement with KanCare, will have a tremendous impact on the members we serve.”


Dr. Esslinger is a graduate of the University of Minnesota for both his undergraduate and medical degrees. His specialty training was at Children’s Mercy through UMKC in Kansas City. He is board certified in Pediatrics and Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. He practiced for 12 years at Omaha Children’s Hospital and subsequently was the Vice President for Medical Affairs for that facility.


Dr. Esslinger has been in managed care since 1999 and has experience in commercial and government programs. He has focused primarily on government programs, mostly Medicaid, since 2008, but he has also had experience in the insurance brokerage industry at Lockton in Kansas City.  He has been employed by managed care plans in Kansas since 2014.


“I am delighted to be part of KDHE. I am confident that I can contribute to the department’s mission of providing quality, cost-effective care to Kansas citizens,” Dr. Esslinger said.

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