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Chris Cruz

CIO, Department of Health Care Services, California

Chris Cruz, CIO, Department of Health Care Services, California
Jessica Mulholland/Government Technology
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Chris Cruz deftly balances both the big picture and the smallest details.

Since becoming CIO and deputy director of the massive Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) in late 2010, Cruz has overseen a $1 billion project portfolio and some of California’s biggest IT initiatives, including a mission-critical Medicaid Management Information System expansion and upgrade.

Under Cruz’s leadership, the department enacted a voluntary teleworking and virtual desktops plan for IT workers in order to attract and retain top talent. He also made DHCS one of the first state-level departments to actively encourage bring your own device in the workplace.

Cruz has spearheaded development of an enterprise architecture blueprint and a strategic vision plan for DHCS, and this year is driving hard to integrate data analytics into all facets of the organization in order to improve service delivery and derail fraud, waste and abuse.

“We have almost $1 billion of projects on the books, and we have multiple people across multiple organizations working on our staff. It’s a busy organization, but the mission is great in terms of advancing health-care needs of low-income Californians.”

But Cruz is just as proud of byte-sized achievements, like a new smartphone app, developed in-house, that reminds users to schedule breast and cervical cancer screenings.

Another app, Welltopia by DHCS, offers information and outside resources on everyday health, including nutrition, physical activity, stress management and smoking cessation. A third, the award-winning California Health Care Quality Report Card application, provides quality and patient-experience ratings for health-care services.


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Matt Williams is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine.