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ANA.JPGThe state's health insurance exchange is handing out six-figure contracts to a pair of consultants and a new marketing director that officials say will enhance the sustainability and help expand the program.

Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee said the consulting contracts would give the agency the "the exceptional staff and resources we need to make history."

Jeffrey Rideout will stay on as senior medical adviser on a one-year contract worth more than $411,000. A consultant in the areas of clinical quality, network management, delivery system reform and clinical and network analytics, Rideout previously served in senior executive and chief medical officer positions with Cisco Systems and Blue Shield of California.

"I think Jeff really has provided great leadership to us partnering with consumer advocates, with clinicians, with out health plans, really about how do we make sure that our consumers get the best quality care possible," Lee said last week.

Rideout is on the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business. He also works as a consulting professor at Stanford University in the Department of Health Research and Policy. Terms of his previous contract were not immediately available.

Ana Matosantos, who until recently served as the state's finance director, will advise state exchange leadership and staff in "financial sustainability and budgeting issues, and evaluation analytics," according to a news release.

Matosantos, who will earn $20,000 a month on a six-month contract, served in the administrations of Govs. Jerry Brown and Arnold Schwarzenegger. She previously worked in the California Health and Human Services Agency and for the state Senate.

"There's few people as sharp as Ana in understanding not just numbers but how to put the numbers in context," Lee said.

To help oversee tens of millions in advertising and dollars, Garrison Rios was named director of communications and marketing. Rios was a director for Monterey Park-based Care1st Health Plan. At Covered California, he will lead the a newly created position in charge of planning, monitoring and controlling communications, public relations and marketing, Lee said.

Rios is tentatively scheduled to start Feb. 3, and will earn $165,000 a year.

PHOTO: Ana Matosantos, then the state finance director, converses with Natalie Cardenas of Anthem Blue Cross after Matosantos spoke to business leaders about Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposal on Jan 13, 2011. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua



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