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Secretary Delia Announces Reorganization of State Medicaid, DHHS Leadership Team

State Medicaid office will now report directly to Secretary

For release: Immediate    June 19, 2012
Contact: Chrissy Pearson, 919-855-4835

Raleigh– North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Secretary Al Delia today announced that he is reorganizing the leadership teams that oversee the state’s Medicaid division.

The changes come after careful evaluation of the Department’s management, said Delia, who was named acting secretary in February.

Michael Watson, DHHS chief deputy secretary, will become the new head of the state’s Medicaid office, the Division of Medical Assistance (DMA). That position will be elevated to serve on the Secretary’s executive leadership team. Watson joined the Department in 2009 as an assistant secretary. He is the former CEO for Sandhills Center for MH/DD/SAS, with more than 20 years of experience and leadership in developing and operating mental health, developmental disabilities and substance abuse services on a local and regional level. His salary remains $160,000.

Watson replaces Dr. Craigan Gray, who served as director of DMA since April 2009 at a salary of $270,000.

Beth Melcher, assistant secretary for mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse services development since August 2010, will become chief deputy secretary. Melcher, a licensed psychologist, is the former president of Recovery Innovations North Carolina. She was clinical director of The Durham Center, and also worked with the National Alliance on Mental Illness North Carolina as its executive director and as public policy director. Her salary will be $141,797.

John Dervin, the secretary’s senior policy adviser since March 2012, will step into a newly created role as chief of staff. Dervin previously served as policy adviser for health and human services for Governor Perdue. His salary will remain $84,000.

“After nearly six months in this role, my first priority for strengthening our management team is to elevate the state Medicaid office to play a more prominent role in the Department’s decision-making process,” said Secretary Delia. “Medicaid is not a stand-alone division. It touches not only multiple DHHS divisions but also plays a huge part in shaping the state budget. We need better communications and stronger oversight of this $12 billion program. I believe these changes will accomplish that.”

These staff changes are effective immediately.

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