According to a release from the governor’s office, Harry Chen, commissioner of the Department of Health, will step in as interim secretary when Doug Racine leaves.
Racine has been secretary of AHS for the last three and a half years, and his leave comes at a time when the agency faces criticism. The state’s health care exchange has problems, and the Department of Children and Families is under fire for the recent deaths of two children.
The governor released the following statement:
“I appreciate Doug’s hard work over three and a half years to help Vermont’s most vulnerable,” said the Governor. He noted that under Racine’s tenure, the agency moved to a data-driven, results-based planning strategy, revamped the troubled mental health system in the wake of the closure of the State Hospital following Tropical Storm Irene, and teed up the conversation regarding lessons learned from recent tragedies and how best to protect Vermont’s most vulnerable children and families.
Chen is expected to remain as interim secretary of AHS through the end of the year.