Friday, May 18, 2018

Bevin names Adam Meier, who as his deputy staff chief oversaw Medicaid change, to head Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Adam Meier (picture provided
to the Cincinnati Enquirer) 
Gov. Matt Bevin has appointed Adam Meier secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the state's largest cabinet, with more than 7,000 employees and an annual budget of more than $12 billion.

Meier, a lawyer from Fort Thomas, was Bevin's deputy chief of staff for policy, and in that position was responsible for overseeing the new Medicaid plan, called Kentucky HEALTH (for "Helping to Engage and Achieve Long Term Health"), authorized by a federal waiver.

“For much of the past two years, he has been focused on health-care policy in Kentucky, and his empathy for people, combined with his legal background and working knowledge of human services programs at the state and federal level, make him an ideal choice to lead this important cabinet," Bevin said in a news release.

Bevin also named Kristi Putnam as a deputy secretary for the health cabinet. Most recently, Putnam, has served as the program manager for Kentucky HEALTH.

The new Medicaid plan adds new rules for many in the program, including a deductible account, which is like a health savings account; a rewards account that allows beneficiaries to earn credits for dental and vision care, which were once basic benefits; reporting requirements and penalties; and new premiums and co-payments.

The controversial "community engagement" requirements that require beneficiaries to work, volunteer or attend school or job training at least 80 hours a month will be phased in for most counties over the next year. These requirements will largely affect "able-bodied" adults without dependents who have gained Medicaid coverage through the 2014 expansion to people in households with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

Medicaid covers about 1.4 million Kentuckians, nearly 500,000 through the expansion.

“With the innovative changes coming with the Kentucky HEALTH waiver and the increased financial resources and legislative support for improving Kentucky’s child welfare, foster care, and adoption systems, I am honored and humbled at the responsibility Gov. Bevin has entrusted me with to lead the cabinet at this pivotal time," Meier said in the news release.

Meier succeeds Vickie Yates Brown Glisson, who left the office at the end of January to run against Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth in Louisville's 3rd Congressional District. The acting secretary has been Scott Brinkman, secretary of the Governor's Executive Cabinet.

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