OK, it’s admittedly a little bit of a long shot. And I haven’t ever been much of a really big campaign donor to anyone. But given the turmoil at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, I believe laying out my proposed agenda for the first 100 days of my (potential) appointment by Governor Pat McCrory is worthwhile:
1. Fire all at-will political appointees.
2. Visit every major hospital, Medicaid community care network and mental health provider network in the state and as many major primary health practices and long-term care centers as possible.
3. Gather all the top DHHS employees on the lawn of the beautiful Dorothea Dix campus and speak about our collective responsibility and commitment to serve the youngest, oldest, poorest and most vulnerable North Carolinians.
4. Invite the press to a Q+A session once a month.
5. Convene a meeting of NC Medicaid, NC Blue Cross, the State Health Plan, and other major health insurers, hospitals and providers to discuss innovative ways we can integrate NC’s award-winning Medicaid program with other private and public coverage to reduce costs and improve care for everyone.
While I realize heading up DHHS is probably the toughest and least rewarding job in state government, effectively leading the agency that affects the lives of so many millions of North Carolinians in such profound ways is fundamentally a matter trust and commitment. Squander that trust and show yourself disconnected from the lives of the people you serve inevitably means failure.