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Fort Thomas Attorney Named Secretary of State Government's Largest Cabinet

A Fort Thomas attorney is the new secretary at the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS).

Adam Meier, who has served as Governor Matt Bevin's deputy chief of staff, will lead policy and operations for the state's largest cabinet, responsible for human services and health care programs.

Meier most recently focused on the formation of essential administration-wide health, workforce, and education policy initiatives, with an emphasis on improving technology and analytical capabilities to better measure policy outcomes, a news release said.

“As deputy chief of staff, Adam has shown an unwavering commitment to bettering the lives of Kentuckians by putting proactive and thoughtful public policy into action,” said Bevin. “For much of the past two years, he has been focused on healthcare policy in Kentucky, and his empathy for people, combined with his legal background and working knowledge of human services programs at the state and federal level, make him an ideal choice to lead this important cabinet. He is respected across the nation for his innovation and knowledge of healthcare policy, and he will be a tremendous asset to Kentucky in his new role. ”

In his capacity as deputy chief of Staff, Meier was responsible for overseeing Kentucky’s innovative 1115 Medicaid waiver application (Kentucky HEALTH), which was the first in the nation to gain approval from the federal government.  Since the waiver was approved in January, he has continued to work with the 1115 implementation team on plans for rollout of the Kentucky HEALTH program across the state.

“CHFS has the opportunity to fundamentally transform the lives of so many vulnerable Kentuckians in a positive way,” said Meier. “With the innovative changes coming with the Kentucky HEALTH waiver and the increased financial resources and legislative support for improving Kentucky’s child welfare, foster care, and adoption systems, I am honored and humbled at the responsibility Gov. Bevin has entrusted me with to lead the cabinet at this pivotal time.”

Meier is regarded as a national expert on workforce issues and recently testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development on strengthening alignment of workforce supports and outcomes in human service programs. As co-chair of Kentucky’s Work Matters Task Force, he led a 23-member team in developing policy recommendations to address barriers to employment among five key populations in the Commonwealth—individuals with disabilities, veterans, foster youth, individuals with criminal records, and individuals suffering from substance use disorders.

Meier also guided the state through the transition from the state-run kynect health insurance exchange to the federal system, healthcare.gov. The Bevin administration stated that the move saved the state $15 million each year. Meier also helped to coordinate the cross-cabinet response to the opioid epidemic.

He previously worked as a senior contracting officer for the federal government.

Meier lives with his wife and three children in Fort Thomas where he was a member of city council.

Gov. Bevin also named Kristi Putnam as a Deputy Secretary for CHFS. Putnam served as an Executive Advisor to CHFS’ Department for Community Based Services, leading efforts to improve technology and staffing efforts for benefind (Kentucky’s integrated benefits eligibility system) and assisting in the development of innovative public benefits and child welfare policy.

Most recently, she was tapped to serve as Program Manager for Kentucky HEALTH and has led a multi-cabinet project team to develop policy, partnerships, technology, and communications to support implementation of the program across the state.

“Throughout her career, Kristi has been dedicated to advancing policies that place the welfare of people above all else,” said Bevin. “Her management of the Kentucky HEALTH team has set the standard for other states seeking a 1115 waiver, and her varied experience managing and implementing human services programs makes her ideally suited for this new leadership role at CHFS.”

Putnam is a 26-year veteran of the human services and education policy sector, having held positions in Florida’s Department of Education and Department of Children and Families (DCF). 

She was responsible for helping develop the 1998 Florida School Readiness legislation and was selected as part of the leadership team assigned to the Executive Office of the Governor to implement a revised system for local administration of early childhood education. She also held multiple state leadership roles in the Florida DCF community-based foster care and adoption system, including Child Welfare Services Manager, Chief of Community-Based Care, and Foster Care Licensing Specialist.

“The team at CHFS is laser-focused on innovating and implementing changes that make sense, that provide better services to our citizens in need, and that emphasize community strengths and public-private partnerships,” said Putnam. “I am honored Gov. Bevin asked me to help lead the hard work already in progress, and I am thrilled at the possibilities before us.”

Putnam resides in Middletown, Kentucky, with her husband and youngest daughter.

CHFS Acting Secretary Scott Brinkman will return full-time to his position as Secretary of the Executive Cabinet.

“Scott’s steady leadership of CHFS during this time of transition has positioned the cabinet for continued success, and I am grateful for his willingness to step into the role during the past several months,” said Bevin

-Staff report

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