Vermont Business Magazine Mike Smith, Secretary of the Agency of Human Services, announced today that Sarah Squirrell, Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health (DMH), and Cory Gustafson, Commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access (DVHA), will resign from their positions effective July 1, 2021 and May 31, 2021, respectively.
Sarah Squirrell has been Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health for 2 years. Under Sarah’s leadership, DMH led a statewide effort to develop and articulate a 10 Year Vision for the Mental Health System of Care: Vision 2030, which has been nationally recognized as a model for other states. Sarah’s steadfast commitment and dedication were critical in leading the mental health system of care through the pandemic, ensuring the stability of the mental health system and the continued provision of mental health services and supports to the most vulnerable Vermonters. Sarah’s strategic leadership has been critical to charting a sustainable path forward for the largest inpatient mental health provider in the State as well as advancing policies and programs that provide support and crisis services to children, youth, and their families.
Cory Gustafson has been Commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access for 4 years. Under Cory’s mission-driven leadership, DVHA established strategic priorities of value-based payments and continuous operational improvement that led to innovation and efficiencies in numerous service lines. The Department achieved national recognition in health care reform for its Vermont Next Generation Medicaid ACO program that included value-based prospective payments for care, shared risk with providers for the cost of care, and quality incentives. DVHA has also launched innovative payment reform projects in partnership with other AHS departments in the areas of mental health, substance use disorder, applied behavior analysis, developmental disability, and children’s integrated services. Operationally, through Cory’s commitment to measurement and teamwork, DVHA has made many process improvements that produced better service and outcomes for Medicaid members and providers.
“We very much appreciate the dedication Sarah and Cory have shown in serving Vermonters. In addition, it has been a trying and exhausting year keeping mental health and Medicaid services flowing to those in need in the middle of a pandemic. Both Sarah and Cory have guided their departments admirably through the multiple challenges of this year. I wish them well as they pursue new opportunities,” said Secretary Mike Smith.
Smith said that the Agency of Human Services will be actively recruiting and interviewing candidates to fill their positions as soon as possible.