Meet the OC Health Care Agency’s New Director

The Orange County Health Care Agency has announced Dr. Veronica Kelley as its new Director. Her appointment took effect March 22.

Kelley most recently led the agency’s Behavioral Health Services Division – a job she was appointed to in 2021. She has worked in the behavioral health field for more than 33 years, including 25 years spent as a social worker.

Kelley joined the OC Health Agency in 1999, and then became Behavioral Health Director for San Bernardino County. She oversaw mental health efforts in the aftermath of the 2015 terrorist attack on the Inland Regional Center. She holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Mount Saint Mary’s College, an MSW in social work from the University of Southern California, and a Doctor of Social Work from Capella University.

“Since joining the HCA, she successfully reorganized the department to help prepare Orange County for the myriad of behavioral health changes on the horizon,” according to a press release. “This includes preparation and advocacy for significant changes to Medi-Cal via CalAIM which allows for more services to be delivered to those in need. She helped collaboration with local law enforcement partners to divert mental health and homeless calls from 911, and successfully launch a new mobile crisis response. She supported early adoption of the State’s Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) Act initiative in Orange County, a civil process seeking to serve individuals with untreated schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders.

“Additionally, Dr. Kelley has championed multiple efforts in the battle against opioid misuse, launching ongoing educational public townhalls, initiating hard-hitting marketing campaigns to educate diverse families and communities, expanding the distribution of life-saving overdose reversal treatments (naloxone), and being the first county in the state to bring the latest, more potent reversal treatment brand, Kloxxado.”

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