Kansas Governor Sam Brownback announced today he has chosen licensed social worker and former state legislator Phyllis Gilmore to serve as the administration's Secretary of the soon to be named Department for Children and Families.
"As our state's health and human services agencies transition into new roles, it was important for us to find someone who is experienced in family and children-related issues and understands the many challenges our state's most vulnerable citizens face," Gov. Brownback said. "Phyllis shares our passion to improve our great state and to reduce the number of Kansas children living in poverty."
Gilmore is currently the Kansas City Metro Region Director for Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS). Prior to joining SRS, she served as the executive director of the Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board (BSRB), based in Topeka, for more than 11 years. The BSRB licenses and regulates most of the mental health professionals in Kansas. She served as a member of the Kansas House of Representatives from 1994-2000 representing Johnson County. Her private sector experience is primarily within the areas of adoption and health care. Gilmore is a licensed specialist in clinical social work with a master's degree in social work from Washington University in St. Louis.
"I am honored to have this opportunity to serve the families and children of our state and to work with Governor Brownback and Lt. Gov. Colyer on improving the lives of Kansans," Gilmore said.
Governor Brownback also released his executive reorganization order (ERO) to implement his strategic realignment of the state's Medicaid agencies today.
"When Dr. Colyer and I took office, the state's Medicaid system was spread across four state agencies, service was highly fragmented and communication between agencies was a challenge," Brownback said. "This reorganization will bring those fragmented services together so we can improve the health outcomes of vulnerable Kansans and transform the program so it will be sustainable for years to come."
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment Division of Health Care Finance will consolidate the financing arm of Medicaid. The former Department on Aging will become the Department for Aging and Disability Services, consolidating all disability waiver and mental health services from the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) into one agency that will manage the programmatic functions of Medicaid. This reorganization also will transition SRS into the new Department for Children and Families which will focus, in a targeted way, on child and family welfare issues.
The Governor will sign and deliver the ERO to the Kansas Legislature on Monday, February 6th. If neither chamber rejects the ERO within 60 days of receiving it, it will go into effect on July 1, 2012.