Gov. Bevin has no immediate plans for permanent replacement of Glisson as Secretary for Health and Family Services

02/06/2018 02:51 PM

FRANKFORT – Gov. Matt Bevin praised the staff of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services on Monday morning saying the good work continues to go on at the agency even after former director Vicki Yates Brown Glisson announced her resignation last week to focus on a Congressional run against U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville.

Bevin, who has named Scott Brinkman as Acting Secretary, wished Glisson well in her run against Yarmuth.

“The Cabinet as it stands, is deep, the bench strength is solid, our ability to implement the 1115 waiver is complete, we are sorry to see Secretary Glisson go, but we’re excited for the possibility of Kentucky at the federal level to have somebody with her intellect and her knowledge in place of somebody who’s just a bomb thrower,” Bevin said.

Bevin stated that he has no immediate plans to find a permanent replacement for Glisson.

“I’ve got outstanding folks who are doing the work,” Bevin said. “I’ve got Scott Brinkman, who is my Cabinet Secretary, has been appointed the Acting Secretary, which basically means he can sign off of those things that the secretary must sign off on.”

Bevin doesn’t believe that the lack of a permanent secretary will hurt the implementation of the 1115 Medicaid waiver plan.

“It’s going to be irrelevant,” Bevin said. “Secretary Glisson’s job was to get the 1115 waiver approved, which she did, and she and this team worked hard to make sure it was actually approved. The implementation process was not something that she was ever going to be involved in, nor will the person who comes into that role, nor in the meantime, Secretary Brinkman.”

On January 24, 2018, 15 Kentucky Medicaid enrollees filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) authority to issue the work requirement policy and approve the Kentucky waiver.

Bevin said that if the waiver is struck down, the effect on his budget proposal will be minor.

“It’s not even going to take effect until later this year, it wasn’t really a major factor in the budget,” Bevin said. “It’s being done irrespective of what the budget was. Will it have some impact? Conceivably, over time.”

Bevin isn’t overly concerned about the law suit.

“This is what outside liberal groups do, they come in and make sport at the expense of Kentucky, good luck to them, they’ll lose,” Bevin said.

Bevin also addressed several other issues including the termination of former adoption “czar” Dan Dumas who had a controversial $240,000 state consulting contract cancelled last month.

Dumas left with a $60,000 “termination” payment.

“Dan Dumas came in with all good intent and with great effort applied, but it became clear that what he was doing, and what was needed didn’t have a long term proposition,” Bevin said. “That’s why he had a contract that was able to be terminated at any point in time. He knew this.”

Bevin also addressed Kentucky’s increasing opioid problem as it relates the state not having enough capacity at treatment centers for addicts and how current programs aren’t adequate for the type of addiction officials are seeing now.

“I think we’ve got better programs than we’ve ever had, the question is how to do have access to them,” Bevin said. “We have so many people who are addicted to drugs now. There are not enough beds. Not just in Kentucky, anywhere in America.”

Speculation remains as to whether a pension bill will be presented in the General Assembly.

The governor bluntly said that he expects one soon.

“I’ve expected one for some time now, Bevin said. “You think about all of the conversation, why did everybody not want to have a special session, didn’t want to waste $65,000 a day, right? How many days into this session are we? Multiply that times 65,000.”

Don Weber

Don Weber is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers politics and education on Pure Politics, Kentucky’s only nightly program dedicated to state politics. Don is a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He spent many years covering sports in the Northern Kentucky area before shifting primarily to politics. You can watch Don’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. If you have a story idea you can reach Don at donald.weber@charter.com.

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