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The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) has cleaned house under new commissioner Lucinda Jesson.

New DHS commissioner shakes up senior ranks

Anne Barry

Anne Barry

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) has cleaned house under new commissioner Lucinda Jesson. The Pioneer Press political blog this morning reported Jesson’s internal memo with the list of hires and terminations.

Anne Barry, who was Gov. Arne Carlson’s state Health Department commissioner, will be Jesson’s deputy commissioner. Barry, who has law and public health administration degrees, most recently has been DHS’s chief compliance officer and an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health. After serving in the Carlson administration, she was deputy commissioner of the Finance Department during Gov. Jesse Ventura’s administration.

Former state Department of Health assistant commissioner Scott Leitz will be DHS’s assistant commissioner for health care administration. Leitz, who starts work on Monday, fills the role formerly held by Billi Jo Zielinski. Leitz was assistant commissioner for policy, quality and compliance at the Health Department until he left the agency in October 2009 to lobby for Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

The current Medicaid director Brian Osberg is leaving the agency. A new Medicaid director will be appointed who reports directly to Leitz.

Lauren Gilchrist will return home from Washington, D.C., to be DHS’s assistant commissioner for health policy and reform. She brings expertise on federal health care policy as Minnesota Sen. Al Franken’s top health care aide. As PIM reported in December 2009, she worked grueling hours on the health care reform bill.

Maureen O’Connell will be the assistant commissioner for chemical and mental health services administration. She replaces L. Reed Sulik in that role. She is the director of Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance, where she has represented enrollees of DHS programs.

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