Governor initiates search for replacement; interim Secretary named
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 7, 2012) – Governor Steve Beshear announced Tuesday that Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Secretary Janie Miller has resigned her position, effective Feb. 29, to seek other opportunities. Sec. Miller was among Beshear’s first appointments in his first term and brought a broad wealth of state government and health care program knowledge to this key area of human service programs.
“Janie Miller has done extraordinary work in an especially difficult time. In the depths of an economic recession, more and more Kentuckians turned to CHFS for needed services, and Sec. Miller found ways to meet those needs despite the challenges of a very lean budget,” said Beshear. “Her efforts to provide health insurance for children, to implement wellness strategies, and move more than half a million Kentuckians to a managed care health system in less than a year were enormous tasks. Her work has paved the way for generations of healthier Kentuckians. I am grateful for her tireless service.”
Current CHFS Deputy Secretary Eric Friedlander will serve as interim Secretary of the Cabinet. He has served in the Cabinet in a variety of roles since 1985. Beshear is initiating a search for a new Secretary.
“The Cabinet for Health and Family Services must be responsive not only to the needs of our people, but also be forward-thinking in order to help prevent some of the generational problems, such as obesity and smoking, that continue to hold our state back,” said Beshear. “I’m launching a national search for a Secretary who can bring in a dynamic vision to build on Sec. Miller’s work.”
Over the last four years under Sec. Miller’s direction, the Cabinet has made great strides in providing more efficient services to Kentuckians while also ensuring that our most vulnerable populations, especially children and elderly citizens, received the health care and protections they deserve.
Since 2007, CHFS oversaw the improvement of care for citizens at Oakwood and Central State facilities and replaced aging infrastructure at Eastern State Hospital, Central State and Glasgow Nursing Facility. As a result of Beshear’s directive to enroll more qualified children in health care, CHFS streamlined the qualification process and enrolled more than 60,000 children in the Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program (KCHIP) and Medicaid.
Sec. Miller devoted a great deal of attention to wellness initiatives, including adding smoking cessation treatments under Medicaid; developing strategies to fight childhood obesity; and creating partnerships to provide preventive dental care to thousands of school-age children in Eastern Kentucky.
Perhaps the most significant challenge to the Cabinet was the transition of 560,000 Medicaid recipients to a managed care program in less than nine months. Under Sec. Miller’s management, three new managed care providers are now operating in the state. The move is projected to save taxpayers $1.3 billion over three years, including $375 million in General Funds.
“I have been blessed with a long and fulfilling career in public service,” said Sec. Miller. “During these last four years during one of the country’s worst economic recessions, we have continued to move forward by looking to the future, with creativity and focus on alignment, integration and partnership across many sectors to improve the lives of vulnerable populations. I have been privileged to serve with CHFS employees who are some of the most dedicated, committed individuals in state government. I am excited about the future.”
Sec. Miller has more than 35 years of experience in various public administrative and regulatory roles, including 21 years in development and administration of health care programs for the state.
Deputy Secretary Eric Friedlander has worked in variety of CHFS programs, including the Office of the Inspector General; the Division of Family Resource and Youth Services Centers; the Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs; and the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities. This broad array of experience within the Cabinet gives him the foundation to lead the Cabinet through this interim period.