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Gov. Shumlin announces appointments to Green Mountain Care Board

SEPTEMBER 13- MONTPELIER – Gov. Peter Shumlin today announced his appointments to the Green Mountain Care Board, a body that is central to the implementation of health reform in Vermont.  The Board is responsible for creating the first single payer health care system in the country, which will control costs and guarantee coverage regardless of employment status.

“In putting together this team, I looked for five really smart people who are fully committed to the goal of controlling health care costs, achieving universal coverage, and who can work as a team,” Gov. Shumlin said. “I also looked for people who could think creatively about how to encourage and reward Vermonters and Vermont health care practitioners for improving health and getting the most value out of our health care dollars.”

The Governor’s appointees include a business person, a practicing Vermont physician, an internationally-known health policy leader, an experienced state leader with extensive health care experience, and an expert in state-based health care reform.  They are:

Chairwoman Anya Rader Wallack, Ph.D. of Calais.  Wallack will chair the Green Mountain Care Board.  Wallack has served as Gov. Shumlin’s Special Assistant for Health Reform since January and spearheaded his legislative effort on health reform during the 2011 session.  Wallack is a native Vermonter who has lived for the past 13 years in Rhode Island.  She staffed then-Gov. Howard Dean on health care in the 1990s and ran the Vermont Program for Quality in Health Care.  More recently she ran the Massachusetts Medicaid Policy Institute and served as interim President of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation before launching a consulting business in state health policy.

 Al Gobeille of Shelburne.  Gobeille owns a restaurant business in Chittenden County.  He is active in the Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Shelburne select board.  He also is a board member of the Visiting Nurse Association and a member of the state of Vermont’s payment reform advisory committee.

Karen Hein, M.D. of Jacksonville.  Hein is immediate past President of the William T. Grant Foundation, which funds research to improve the lives of adolescents throughout the U.S.  Previously she served as Executive Officer of the Institute of Medicine, overseeing the IOM Quality Initiative and numerous projects and publications aimed at informing efforts to improve health care delivery.  Hein was a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow with the U.S. Senate Finance Committee in 1993-94.  She also is a longstanding faculty member at Columbia University and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she has conducted extensive research on adolescent HIV/AIDS.  Hein has served on a number of non-profit boards, including the Dartmouth Medical School Board of Overseers and the board of RAND Health.

Con Hogan of Plainfield.  Hogan has worked for the past 10 years as an international consultant and co-authored two books about Vermont health reform with Dr. Deb Richter.  Previously he served as Secretary of Human Services under Governors Dean and Richard Snelling.  Hogan was President of the Montpelier firm International Coins and Currency from 1980-1991.  Before that he served in numerous positions in the State’s Department of Corrections.  Hogan is a well-known single payer advocate who has authored several books on Vermont health reform.

Allan Ramsay, M.D. of Essex JunctionRamsay is a family physician in Colchester.  Ramsay has been a professor in UVM’s Department of Family Medicine since 1980.  He has been a national leader in developing unique models for making sure that patients’ wishes are followed at the end of their lives.  Before coming to Vermont, Ramsay served as Medical Director for an HMO in rural Colorado and served in the National Health Service Corps.

Gov. Shumlin said he was pleasantly surprised at the level and volume of talent exhibited by applicants to the Green Mountain Care Board.  More than 100 people applied for the five jobs.  A nine-member nominating committee reviewed their applications and forwarded to the Governor 22 candidates who they deemed “qualified” to meet the requirements set forth in Act 48, the state’s health reform law.  Gov. Shumlin thanked the nominating committee for their work and also thanked those who applied for the board and were not chosen as appointees. 

“All of the candidates showed a strong commitment to meaningful health system reform and had impressive skills and experience,” the Governor said. He said that in making his choices, he focused on competence, experience, and a proven ability to affect real change in the health care system. 

“These five people have their job cut for them,” Gov. Shumlin said. “But I have no doubt that they will rise to the challenge and lead Vermont toward a bright future in which all of our citizens can afford access to quality care and our health care system is an asset unmatched by that of any other state.”

The Green Mountain Care Board will begin work on October 1.