MONTPELIER – Agency of Human Services Secretary Doug Racine is being replaced, the Shumlin administration announced Tuesday, as challenges within the agency mount.
According to Shumlin administration officials, current Health Commissioner Harry Chen will replace Racine on an interim basis while a permanent replacement is sought.
“I appreciate Doug’s hard work over three and a half years to help Vermont’s most vulnerable,” Shumlin said in a release.
Shumlin touted the agency’s move to a data-driven, results-based planning strategy and a revamped mental health system under Racine’s tenure.
But the agency has faced significant challenges, too. Vermont Health Connect, the state’s online health insurance marketplace that is overseen by the agency’s Department of Vermont Health Access, has struggled and remains hobbled. And The Department for Children and Families has faced scathing criticism following the recent deaths of several children, allegedly at the hands of caregivers.
“This has been a tough job, but now is the right time to start with new leadership to take the Agency of Human Services forward,” Shumlin said. “I appreciate Dr. Chen’s willingness to get us started on that challenge.”
Chen is expected to remain as Interim Secretary of AHS through the end of the year. Deputy Commissioner of Health Tracy Dolan will head the Health Department in his absence.
A full story will appear in Wednesday’s editions of the Herald and Times Argus.