Janie Miller to resign as Health Cabinet secretary; Cabinet to have third top-level vacancy

02/07/2012 01:53 PM

Cabinet for Health and Family Service Secretary Janie Miller will resign effective Feb. 29, Gov. Steve Beshear announced through a press release Tuesday.

Miller will step down to “pursue other opportunities.” But her resignation caps off a hectic few months marked by controversy and frequent flares of frustration from some lawmakers.

Current Deputy Secretary Eric Friedlander will serve as interim secretary. Beshear is starting his search for the next leader of the agency, which oversees the Medicaid program, as well as social workers, local health departments and health programs for the mentally and developmentally disabled.

Miller’s decision will leave the cabinet operating under an interim Medicaid Commissioner, interim Cabinet Secretary, and an interim Commissioner for the Department of Community Based Services, which oversees social workers.

Republican Senator Julie Denton of Louisville called for Secretary Miller’s resignation (back in December.) Denton said she thought Gov. Steve Beshear’s Health and Family Services needed a change at the top.

Denton, and several Democratic lawmakers, have expressed frustration that the cabinet was not more transparent when disclosing records regarding abused and neglected children.

Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phil Shepherd recently ordered the cabinet to make public many of those documents after the Courier-Journal and Herald-Leader filed suit.

And the agency was more than three months late in releasing its report last fall on child deaths in Kentucky.

In addition, Miller has overseen the cabinet as the Medicaid program engaged in new contracts with three managed care providers. The switch to managed care is meant to save the state money over the long term, but the transition has been complex.

“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” Said Sec. Miller in the press release.


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