Alan Levine resigns as DHH Secretary

Friday, July 9, 2010 - 2:16pm

BATON ROUGE – Today, Governor Bobby Jindal announced Alan Levine will step down as Secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals, a role he has held since January 14, 2008. In his place, the Governor also announced the appointment of Bruce Greenstein.

During his tenure, Levine led DHH through significant reforms, even while dealing with massive funding and disaster-related challenges.

Governor Jindal said, “I could not be more proud of the job Alan has done for Louisiana. He earned not only my respect, but also the respect of stakeholders and legislators due to his fairness, his integrity and his firm grasp of health care policy. He really cares about people. But he also proved that you can do more with less. Before he became secretary, DHH had 12,229 full time positions. His recommended budget for this year was 9,378 positions, which the Legislature agreed with – a 25 percent reduction. Even with this leaner organization, we moved from 48th in child immunizations in 2008 to 2nd today.

“The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services this year applauded DHH for its efficiency in Medicaid. Alan’s crackdown on Medicaid fraud is paying off for Louisiana with millions of dollars in savings. Even with massive budget challenges, Alan did not shy away from making major reforms. In virtually every corner of DHH, major systemic reform is taking place. Alan has also displayed a firm competence and sound judgment in his handling of major disasters in our state, from the Mississippi river flood to the H1N1 pandemic to the two major hurricanes and now the oil spill. On a personal level, we will miss Alan. He’s become a friend.”

Secretary Levine said, “Serving the people of Louisiana during these challenging times has been a privilege. I’m grateful to Governor Jindal for giving me his confidence and allowing me to serve with such an incredible cabinet. I truly have loved every minute of my job, and despite the ongoing challenges, I remain optimistic about the path we are setting for the future. I do think, after eight years in public service, it’s time for me to step aside and allow someone with a renewed energy and vigor to implement the several reforms we have begun. Public service is important, but it was not intended to be my career. I want to return to my profession as a hospital and health system administrator. I miss it. This was a decision I thought about and prayed over, and I believe it is right for me and my family.”

Some highlights of Levine’s tenure include: his leadership during two major hurricanes which led to the largest medical evacuation in the history of the United States, management of the state’s response to the H1N1 pandemic - which led to Louisiana being recognized by the United States Centers for Disease Control for Louisiana’s leadership in the distribution of vaccines, key involvement in the response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill incident, major mental health reforms that have led to an infusion of more than $24 million into community based services in New Orleans and a movement away from institutional-based services, expansion of community-based services for persons with developmental disabilities, advocating for and implementing the Health Care Consumer’s Right to Know Act - providing reliable information for consumers on the value of services in hospitals, nursing homes and health plans, leading the collaborative effort to develop a new teaching hospital partnership in Baton Rouge and expand teaching programs and access for the poor, and the implementation of privatization efforts and institutional downsizing that will save millions of dollars for Louisiana’s taxpayers.

With the passage of the 2011 state budget, the Legislature provided final approval to move forward with Levine’s proposal for a massive restructuring of Medicaid, the health care program for the poor. Levine has also been outspoken on the national health care reforms, and has been called as a witness and expert by Congress on several occasions.

With the appointment of Bruce Greenstein to succeed Levine, the Governor selected someone with a national reputation in health policy and experience in reforming Medicaid.

Governor Jindal said, “Transforming our Medicaid system is a top priority, and in replacing Alan, we wanted someone with experience in Medicaid reform. Bruce Greenstein not only has incredible experience in working with states to implement their unique reforms, he also has practical experience in the private sector. As the worldwide leader in health care for Microsoft, Bruce has worked with governments all over the world to improve public health and health outcomes.”

Alan Levine said, “I have known Bruce for several years, and have a great deal of respect for his capacity, his knowledge and his enthusiasm. I don’t think the Governor could possibly have chosen a better match for what Louisiana needs. Medicaid is the biggest single financial challenge our state will have, and it also remains the most logical vehicle for improving the health of the poor and underserved. Bruce’s background is the perfect fit. I know I’m leaving DHH in great hands, and I know the Legislature and cabinet will enjoy working with Bruce.”

Bruce Greenstein said, “I am looking forward to serving on Governor Jindal’s team and I’m humbled to be asked to serve. DHH has embarked upon many initiatives that will improve lives and make government work more effectively, and I will work hard every day to support the efforts of our team to implement those reforms. My first priority will be to make sure we don’t miss a beat in our hurricane planning efforts and to continue during and after this oil spill crisis to protect the health of Louisianians.

“Fundamentally transforming Medicaid to become a high performing system of care is clearly a priority for the Legislature and the Governor, and I plan to devote my efforts to ensuring this is implemented well. I know I will learn a lot, and I look forward to meeting with the stakeholders to get their input. Cindy and I look forward to moving our daughters to Louisiana. My father was a truck driver in Bossier City, and from that experience, we have a deep affection for Louisiana. I can’t wait to get started.”

Bruce Greenstein, of Sammamish, Washington, currently serves as managing director of world wide health for Microsoft Corp. At Microsoft, Greenstein leads the development and execution of Microsoft’s strategy for the worldwide health and human service market. In this role, he works with governments and health systems around the world, including ministries of health, state health organizations, local authorities and hospital systems, social and human service organizations and other companies.

Prior to Microsoft, Greenstein was Vice President of CNSI, a Washington, DC based systems integrator, where he focused on state health care systems, claims payment and vital records systems. He also served as President of the Institute for Healthcare Solutions, where he led a group delivering thought leadership, consultation and simulation models for government officials and agencies.

Greenstein also served in a number of public sector areas, including service as the Associate Regional Administrator and as the Director of Waivers and Demonstrations for the United States Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. There, he oversaw state Medicaid programs in the northeast United States, and led the federal government’s effort to work with several states in reforming Medicaid.

Prior to his work in the executive branch, Mr. Greenstein was a healthcare expert for the United States Congress, serving at the Government Accountability Office (GAO). There, he provided analysis and testimony to Congress on various health policies. While serving in the administration of Governor Lawton Chiles in Florida, Greenstein led the design and administration of health care programs, including long-term care.

Greenstein is a health economist, and graduated from Florida State University with a Masters of Science and graduate certificates in Healthcare Policy and Administration and Public Administration and Policy. He is relocating from Seattle with his wife, Cindy and two young daughters, Kennedy and Kyla.

Levine’s final official day will be August 1, and Greenstein is expected to begin full-time September 13. During the interim period after August 1, Governor Jindal plans to appoint DHH Deputy Secretary Anthony Keck to serve as Acting Secretary. Levine and Greenstein will work over the next month to ensure an orderly transition.
 

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