News Releases

November 30, 2011

State Agencies Fill Key Health Reform Positions

The Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB) and the Department of Vermont Health Access (DVHA) today announced key appointments associated with implementation of Vermont’s health reform efforts. Richard Slusky, Director of Payment Reform for DVHA and former CEO of Mount Ascutney Hospital, will move to the GMCB and assume the role of overall Director of Payment Reform for the state. Lindsey Tucker will be the Deputy Commissioner for the Health Benefits Exchange within DVHA. Tucker is currently a policy manager with the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation and formerly was Health Reform Policy Manager for Health Care for All, a Massachusetts consumer advocacy organization.

“We have a very ambitious agenda for health reform, and hope to do things no other state has done in terms of transforming health care payment and delivery and using the Health Benefits Exchange to derive value for all Vermonters,” said Robin Lunge, Director of Health Care Reform for the Shumlin Administration. “These individuals will be central to that effort.”

Slusky has been Director of Payment Reform within DVHA since 2010. In his new role, he will assume responsibility for advising the GMCB in a general effort to implement changes in provider payment that move away from fee-for-service and toward methods that reward quality and efficiency in health care delivery.

“Richard has proven himself an innovative leader in Vermont’s health reform efforts,” said Anya Rader Wallack, Chair of the GMCB. “In his new role he will continue to bring his expertise to bear on our reforms, but with a broader focus on all-payer and system-wide reforms that will advance a more comprehensive agenda.” Slusky will be responsible for overseeing payment reform “pilots” throughout the state that test new methods of paying doctors, hospitals and other providers. He also will guide the board’s efforts to translate the experience from pilots into general payment policy for both public and private insurers.

“This is enormously important work, and really gets to the heart of Vermont’s efforts to control the rate of growth in health care costs while maintaining a high-quality health system,” said Slusky. “If we don’t change how we pay providers, we will not be successful, in the long run, at bending the cost curve.”Slusky’s move is part of an effort to assure that the state has adequate capacity, both at the GMCB and within DVHA, to implement payment reform. Mark Larson, Commissioner of DVHA said, in replacing Slusky, he seek to enhance their ability to include the Medicaid program in payment reform efforts.

As Deputy Commissioner for the Exchange, Tucker will be responsible for providing leadership and direction in the development, implementation, and operation of Vermont’s Health Benefit Exchange, created in Act 48 as passed by Vermont’s legislature in 2011. The Exchange will be the base for Vermont’s integrated and universal health care system. The purpose of the Vermont Exchange is to facilitate the purchase of affordable, qualified health benefit plans in the individual and group markets in this state in order to reduce the number of uninsured and underinsured; to reduce disruption when individuals lose employer-based insurance; to reduce administrative costs in the insurance market; to contain costs; to promote health, prevention, and healthy lifestyles by individuals; and to improve quality of health care.

“I am very excited to have Lindsey join our health care leadership team,” said Larson. “She brings a wealth of experience in health care reform in Massachusetts where she built a reputation as a skilled coalition and consensus builder. Her experience matches the Shumlin Administration’s commitment to engaging Vermonters in our efforts to control health care costs and ensure quality health care to all Vermonters.”

Tucker said the scope of Vermont’s reforms and strong commitment to successful implementation attracted her to Vermont. “Vermont is on the cutting edge of health reform, and I am thrilled to be part of this terrific team working to implement Act 48. I look forward to bringing my health reform experience from Massachusetts to the Green Mountain State as it charts its own path toward truly universal health coverage,” she said.

Tucker has an MSc from the Harvard School of Public Health and a BA from Yale University. She will start in her new role as Deputy Commissioner for the Health Benefits Exchange on December 12.

Slusky has an MBA from the Boston University Graduate School of Management. He will assume his new position immediately.

Source: Office of the Governor
Last Updated at: November 30, 2011 13:50:49