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OC Health Care Agency names new director, Dr. Veronica Kelley

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The OC Health Care Agency announced its new director, Dr. Veronica Kelley, has been promoted from her role as chair of the agency’s behavioral health division.

Former director Dr. Clayton Chau left the post as of last June.

“The county of Orange and I are very excited that Dr. Kelley will be stepping into the director role at the HCA,” CEO Frank Kim said in a statement. “Dr. Kelley has demonstrated tremendous leadership strength in her role as chief of behavioral health services and navigated extraordinary transitional times in the mental health and recovery care landscape.”

Kelley has been leading the county’s behavioral health services since December 2021.

She has more than 33 years of experience in the behavioral health field and has been a licensed clinical social worker for nearly 25 years, according to the county’s announcement Monday, March 25. Her career started at the Health Care Agency in 1999, in the behavioral health department, before she left for San Bernardino County where she spent 13 years with its Department of Behavioral Health, including six years as its director.

Since rejoining the HCA, the county’s announcement said Kelley has been responsible for reorganizing the department to help better prepare Orange County for addressing behavioral health changes, including changes to Medi-Cal. She also helped collaborate with local law enforcement to divert mental health and homeless calls from public safety responders to mental health workers.

Kelley’s promotion to director of the Health Care Agency was effective March 22.

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