The man who led the state's Medicaid program through painful cuts and an equally controversial plan to expand is leaving this summer.
With 10 years on the job, Darin Gordon is the nation's longest-serving Medicaid director. But he says a decade at the helm of TennCare is long enough.
Gordon was picked to lead TennCare by Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen in 2006. His start came at a tumultuous time. The Medicaid agency was sorting through the 2005 decision to cut 170,000 adults from the rolls.
Gordon's handling of the matter led Republican Bill Haslam to keep him on when he took over the governor's mansion.
"Everyone who knew about TennCare, that I respected, came to me after I was elected and said if you have any sense at all — they said that with some bit of doubt — if you have any sense at all, you will keep Darin Gordon in that job."
Haslam says Gordon brought stability to TennCare. Gordon was also one of the principal architects and spokesmen for Insure Tennessee, Haslam's plan to expand Medicaid.
Gordon says the failure of that program to get legislative backing wasn't a factor in his decision to step down. He also hasn't found a job after TennCare.
It was simply that the demands of the leading the agency were tough, Gordon says.
"The 24/7 responsibilities of service have not always been easy on my family, and for that I'm sorry."
Gordon's last day will be June 30.