Gov. Bevin names new Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Cabinet for Health and Family Services

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Matt Bevin
Matt Bevin (Graphic Courtesy: MGN Online)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ)- Gov. Matt Bevin has announced the appointment of Adam Meier as Secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS). Meier will lead policy and operations for the states largest cabinet, responsible for human services and healthcare programs.

Meier most recently served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy for Gov. Bevin, focusing on the formation of essential administration-wide health, workforce, and education policy initiatives, with an emphasis on improving technology and analytical capabilities to better measure policy outcomes.

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Bevin says as Deputy Chief of Staff, Meier was responsible for overseeing Kentucky’s innovative 1115 Medicaid waiver application (Kentucky HEALTH), which was the first in the nation to gain approval from the federal government. Since the waiver was approved in January, he has continued to work with the 1115 implementation team on plans for rollout of the Kentucky HEALTH program across the state.

Meier is regarded as a national expert on workforce issues and recently testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development on strengthening alignment of workforce supports and outcomes in human service programs. As co-chair of Kentucky’s Work Matters Task Force, he led a 23-member team in developing policy recommendations to address barriers to employment among five key populations in the Commonwealth individuals with disabilities, veterans, foster youth, individuals with criminal records, and individuals suffering from substance use disorders.

He also guided the state through the successful transition from the expensive state-run kynect health insurance exchange system to healthcare.gov, saving the Commonwealth approximately $15 million annually and reducing red tape. Additionally, Meier helped coordinate the states cross-cabinet response to the opioid epidemic.

Gov. Bevin has also named Kristi Putnam as a Deputy Secretary for CHFS. Putnam served as an Executive Advisor to CHFS Department for Community Based Services, leading efforts to improve technology and staffing efforts for benefind (Kentuckys integrated benefits eligibility system) and assisting in the development of innovative public benefits and child welfare policy. Most recently, she was tapped to serve as Program Manager for Kentucky HEALTH and has led a multi-cabinet project team to develop policy, partnerships, technology, and communications to support implementation of the program across the state.

Putnam is a 26-year veteran of the human services and education policy sector, having held positions in Floridas Department of Education and Department of Children and Families (DCF). In these roles, Putnam proved to be a public policy innovator, working tirelessly to implement reforms and champion fiscal responsibility in statewide human services programs.

She was responsible for helping develop the 1998 Florida School Readiness legislation and was selected as part of the leadership team assigned to the Executive Office of the Governor to implement a revised system for local administration of early childhood education. She also held multiple state leadership roles in the Florida DCF community-based foster care and adoption system, including Child Welfare Services Manager, Chief of Community-Based Care, and Foster Care Licensing Specialist.

The team at CHFS is laser-focused on innovating and implementing changes that make sense, that provide better services to our citizens in need, and that emphasize community strengths and public-private partnerships, said Putnam. I am honored Gov. Bevin asked me to help lead the hard work already in progress, and I am thrilled at the possibilities before us.

CHFS Acting Secretary Scott Brinkman will return full-time to his position as Secretary of the Executive Cabinet.

Media Release from the Governor’s Office