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Executive Staff

How CEOs Deliver Health Care to 33 State Prisons

Each of California’s 33 prisons has a chief executive officer (CEO) for health care who reports to the Receiver. The CEO is the highest-ranking health care authority within a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation adult institution. A CEO is responsible for all aspects of delivering health care at their respective institution(s).

The CEO is also responsible for planning, organizing and coordinating health care programs at one or two institutions and delivering an efficient health care system that features a range of medical, dental, mental health, specialized care, pharmacy and medication management, and clinic services.

Serving as the Receiver’s advisor for institution-specific health care policies and procedures, the CEO manages the institution’s health care needs by ensuring that appropriate resources are requested to support health care functions, including adequate clinical staff, administrative support, procurement, staffing and information systems support.


Clark Kelso

Mr. Kelso is a Professor of Law and former Director of the Capital Center for Government Law and Policy at the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law located in Sacramento, California. Mr. Kelso comes to the California Correctional Health Care Receivership with more than fifteen years of experience in a wide variety of positions in all three branches of state government, including the California Judicial Council and Administrative Office of the Courts, where he worked in support of court unification; the Department of Insurance, where he replaced Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quackenbush, who abruptly resigned amid allegations of corruption; and as California's Chief Information Officer, where he turned around the State's troubled information technology program. Because of his achievements, Mr. Kelso has developed a well-regarded reputation for independence and integrity and maintaining a commitment to collaborative leadership and organizational change in government.

Mr. Kelso has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious 1998 Bernard E. Witkin Amicus Curiae Award from the California Judicial Council and the "Top 25 Award for 2004 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers" from Government Technology. He was also named by Computerworld to their list of "Premier 100 IT Leaders for 2007."

Richard Kirkland
Chief Deputy Receiver

Mr. Kirkland previously served as Chief of Corrections Services for California Correctional Health Care Services, which includes Field Operations, Construction Oversight, and Activation Management and was dedicated to supporting the specific projects being undertaken by the Receiver. Mr. Kirkland worked for more than 32 years with the State of California, the last 22 with CDCR. He retired from the position of Deputy Director for the Office of Fiscal Services, where he was responsible for oversight and management of all CDCR accounting and support budget functions.

Prior to that, Mr. Kirkland served at Pelican Bay State Prison in a variety of senior management positions for 14 years, including two as Warden and one as Chief Deputy Warden. During that time he participated in and oversaw the implementation of the state's remedial plan in the case of Madrid v. Tilton. Mr. Kirkland also has eight years experience in the management of prison construction projects.

Mr. Kirkland worked for 10 years as an analyst and supervisor for the California Department of Social Services. During that time he was responsible for the development of rate-setting methodologies, the development of computerized management information systems, and the management of quality control corrective action plans.

Mr. Kirkland earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration (Applied Economics and Finance) from the University of California, Berkeley.

Joyce Hayhoe
Director of Legislation and Communications

Joyce Hayhoe is the Director of Legislation and Communications for the California Correctional Health Care Services after a brief retirement from 36 years of state service, 25 of which at Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

During her tenure with the CDCR, she drafted language and worked closely with the Legislature and the Administration to ensure passage of a number of landmark legislation. These important laws include: "Three Strikes," Sexually Violent Predator statutes, the reorganization of the State's correctional boards and agencies into the CDCR in 2005, and AB 900, the Public Safety and Offender Rehabilitation Act of 2007.

In her capacity as Assistant Secretary for CDCR, and as Assistant Director of Legislative Affairs at the former California Youth Authority, Joyce was instrumental in the confirmations of numerous Governor appointees, including three CDCR secretaries, several Undersecretaries, Chief Deputy Secretaries, Directors and Associate Directors, Wardens, Parole Commissioners and two Directors of the then California Youth Authority.

In 2009, Joyce was honored by the California State Senate and Assembly for her career accomplishments.

Mitzi Higashidani
Director of Administrative Support Services

Mitzi Higashidani is the Director of Administrative Support Services and serves as the key advisor to the Receiver and Chief Deputy Receiver on all fiscal, procurement, contract, and business services matters for the California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS). She has more than 28 years of experience in public and private sector executive management, leadership, and project management.

Before joining CCHCS, she served as the Chief Deputy Director of the Department of Technology Services where she directed all administrative and operational divisions. She served as the Chief Information Officer for the largest state agency, the California Health and Human Services Agency, and the nation's largest pension system, California Public Employees' Retirement System. In that role, she managed, procured, and had oversight responsibilities for major initiatives that ranged from $100 million to $1 billion. She also served as part of the executive management teams at the California Department of Transportation and CGI-AMS (formerly Synergy Consulting, Inc.).

Evelyn Matteucci
Chief Counsel

Ms. Matteucci joined the Receiver's Office as Chief Counsel for Construction in August 2009 and successfully handled the litigation involving the California Health Care Facility (CHCF) in Stockton and has continued to assist on all legal aspects related to construction and necessary agreements for the operation of the CHCF and the proposed Dewitt Nelson medical/mental health facility.

Ms. Matteucci recently served the Receiver’s Office as Director of Policy and Risk Management Division, managing such areas as strategic planning and court coordination, inmate correspondence and appeals, the internal audit program and privacy/HIPAA program, to name a few. The Division also included litigation management, policy development, and program compliance sections.

Ms. Matteucci previously served as the Chief Counsel for the California Gambling Control Commission. She also held the position of General Counsel and Deputy Secretary for the Business Transportation and Housing Agency, and was General Counsel and Deputy Secretary for the State and Consumer Services Agency. Before her gubernatorial appointments, Ms. Matteucci served as deputy attorney general in the California Attorney General's Office for 10 years.

From 1990 to 1993, Ms. Matteucci was a deputy city attorney for the City of Sacramento and served as a judicial staff attorney at the Third District Court of Appeals in Sacramento. She was previously an Assistant United States Attorney in Sacramento and Los Angeles, and worked for two years in private practice in Sacramento.

Ms. Matteucci earned her Bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, cum laude, and Juris Doctorate from University of the Pacific's McGeorge School of Law. She is a member of the California State Bar, all of the District courts in California, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Bar, the District of Columbia Circuit Court and the United States Supreme Court.

R. Steven Tharratt, M.D., MPVM, FACP
Director of Health Care Operations

Steven Tharratt M.D. is the Director of Health Care Operations for California Correctional Health Care Services. Dr. Tharratt comes to CCHCS from the California Emergency Medical Services Authority in the Health and Human Services Agency where he served as the director. Dr. Tharratt was also a Professor of Medicine and Anesthesiology at the University of California, Davis School of Medicine where he served as Division Chief of Pulmonary/Critical Care and Sleep Medicine. Dr. Tharratt will coordinate all medical services within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation 33 adult prisons.

Dr. Tharratt received his medical degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and his Master of Preventative Veterinary Medicine degree (Public Health) from the University of California, Davis. He is board-certified in internal medicine, pulmonary diseases, critical care medicine, emergency medicine and medical toxicology.