New York City Department of Health Announces Reorganization and Renewed Areas of Focus | Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

On July 29, Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett announced a set of new efforts to align the Department of Health’s internal organization and focus to leverage the department’s talent, workflow and collaboration, integrate new systems and increase diversity as part of his overall mission to build a healthier and fairer New York. Initiatives include creating within the department an Office of Aging and Long-Term Care, an Office of Health Equity and Human Rights, and a Chief Medical Officer position; strengthening of regional offices; and creating a new executive office for the commissioner.

The Commissioner’s announcement further outlined the five focus areas driving these efforts and indicated that they will remain key areas of focus for the department over the next three years:

  • Invest in our people, attract new and diverse talent, streamline hiring processes, and create a culture of support and appreciation following the significant sacrifices made during the COVID response.
  • Shape our organization to reflect our focus on health care equity, the needs of older New Yorkers, and emergency preparedness and response.
  • Become more proactive by developing policy coordination and project management capabilities and streamlining critical processes.
  • Alignment of public health, insurance and regulatory tools across departments to maximize impact and improve health outcomes.
  • Improve the use of data to advance our mission to improve public health and health equity.

The department’s new Office of Health Equity and Human Rights will be led by Deputy Commissioner Johanne Morn and will address health care disparities in New York while working to improve diversity, equity and inclusion within the department. The office will consist of current separate units, including the Offices of Minority Health and Health Disparities Prevention and Language Access, the AIDS Institute, and the Office of Gun Violence Prevention.

The Office of Aging and Long-Term Care will be led by Deputy Commissioner Adam Herbst and will work to develop policy and programs to address the needs of older New Yorkers as well as other people with disabilities requiring long-term care services and supports. The new office will work in collaboration with the Office of Health Insurance Programs, the Office of Primary Care and Health Systems Management and the NYS Office on Aging to coordinate the Department’s work related to aging New Yorkers.

In an effort to strengthen regional offices and better integrate them into policy-making and respond to their regional and local priorities, the Commissioner also announced that regional offices would be reorganized into the Office of Public Health.

Additionally, the commissioner appointed Dr. Eugene Heslin as the department’s chief medical officer. In his role, Dr. Heslin will use his more than 30 years of experience in healthcare leadership, policy development and management to provide medical and clinical expertise to all senior management and staff of the department.

Finally, the commissioner announced the formation of an office of the commissioner to report directly to her and serve as her advisor on vital issues as the department continues its work to protect, improve and promote the health of New Yorkers. The announced cabinet members are:

  • Laura Maskuch, Chief of Staff
  • Christine Proud, Acting Executive Deputy Commissioner
  • Dr Ursula Bauer, Deputy Commissioner for Public Health
  • Dr. Eugene Heslin, First Deputy Commissioner and Chief Medical Officer
  • Sam Miller, Deputy Commissioner of External Affairs
  • Kathy Marks, General Counsel
  • Amir Basiri, Deputy Commissioner of the Office of Health Insurance Programs and Acting Director of Medicaid
  • Adam Herbst, Deputy Commissioner for Aging and Long-Term Care
  • Dr John Morley, Deputy Commissioner for Primary Care and Health Systems Management
  • Johanne Morne, Deputy Commissioner for Health Equity and Human Rights
  • Diane Christensen, Deputy Commissioner for Administration
  • Daniel Holahan, Executive Director, New York Health
  • Megan Baldwin, Senior Advisor
  • Paul Francis, Senior Advisor
  • Sandra Mullin, Senior Advisor

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