Hayden joins school’s Board of Visitors

Kevin Hayden (MA ’84) brings extensive leadership experience in the healthcare, government services, and insurance administration fieldsPortrait of Kevin Hayden to the La Follette School’s Board of Visitors. The school’s newest board member helped to increase access and affordability of health care for Wisconsinites as the state’s top health official and has extensive experience in the private sector having run a national Medicaid managed healthcare company in addition to leadership experience on the health care provider side. 

“Working hand in hand with physicians and patients gives me great visibility into how the healthcare system should work,” says Hayden, who grew up in Marshfield, Wisconsin and went on to earn a bachelor of arts in political science from UW–Madison and a master of arts in health services administration and public administration from the La Follette School. “The policy work and experiences I had at La Follette formed my early beliefs about health care and guided me through my career.”  

Hayden, who was named the InBusiness Magazine Large Employer Executive of the Year in 2014, retired as the regional vice president for Aetna Medicaid Administrators, LLC – Great Lakes Region in 2018 after a highly successful career. Previously, as president and chief administrative officer at Dean Health Systems, Hayden managed strategic relationships and held executive responsibility for the physician group practice with more than 600 physicians and 3,400 employees for nearly 10 years. He also served as president of state sponsored business, the national Medicaid business, at the health insurance and health care provider WellPoint. Prior to joining Aetna, Hayden served as CEO of Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin. 

“What I hope to bring to La Follette is contemporary and practical advice to help students succeed in the policy world,” says Hayden. 

In 2006, Hayden was appointed by Governor Jim Doyle as Medicaid administrator, and later as secretary, of the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services. In this role, he helped oversee the implementation of the BadgerCare Plus program, the largest reorganization of state-run health care in 40 years. The plan merged three separate programs into one and made all children eligible for health insurance regardless of their family income. “I couldn’t have done that without my experience at La Follette,” says Hayden. 

“Kevin will be a great addition to our board, bringing fresh insights,” says Board of Visitors chair Roger Ervin, who has known Hayden for nearly two decades including working together as cabinet secretaries under Governor Jim Doyle. “Kevin has been a stellar leader in the private healthcare sector in Wisconsin. I look forward to his valuable contributions.”  

Hayden has served on several boards including the Edgewood College Board of Trustees from 2014-2023 and the University of Utah Health Plan Board of Directors from 2016-2019. In 2008, he was named the Wisconsin Hospital Association’s Health Care Advocate of the Year. 

The La Follette School Board of Visitors provides important guidance by identifying resources that can raise the stature and standing of the school. Board members also help with fundraising and providing career advice to students, and act as goodwill ambassadors. The La Follette School is grateful to board members for sharing their extensive expertise with the school.

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