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DOH to Create Office of Aging and Long-Term Care

The Department of Health (DOH) announced a reorganization last week that includes the creation of a new Office of Aging and Long-Term Care (OALTC). OALTC will be charged with developing policies to meet the needs of older New Yorkers and people with disabilities who require long-term care. The Office will be led by Adam Herbst, who has served as the Commissioner's Special Advisor on Aging and Long-Term Care. In an email to stakeholders, Mr. Herbst stated that the new Office arose out of a planning process that identified as a strategic priority "ensuring that New Yorkers can age in place as long as possible with dignity and independence and have access to quality care if they need it."

The scope of the Office's responsibilities remains unclear. According to a press release, it will

"work collaboratively with the Office of Health Insurance Programs, the Office of Primary Care and Health Systems Management, and the NYS Office for the Aging to coordinate Department activities related to aging New Yorkers. The Office will be responsible for long-term care functions related to licensure, facility surveys, data collection, and policies and analysis. In addition, it will help develop and execute the State Master Plan on Aging to improve the recruitment, retention, and training of long-term care workers, and improve the quality of long-term care."

In addition to OALTC, the Department is creating an Office of Health Equity and Human Rights, to be led by Johanne Morne. It will be comprised of the existing Offices of Minority Health and Health Disparities Prevention and Language Access, the AIDS Institute, and the Office of Gun Violence Prevention.

The Commissioner has also appointed Dr. Eugene Heslin as Chief Medical Officer and created a new Commissioner's Cabinet that includes: Laura Mascuch, Chief of Staff; Kristin 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, Associate Commissioner for External Affairs; Kathy Marks, General Counsel; Amir Bassiri, Deputy Commissioner of the Office of Health Insurance Programs and Acting Medicaid Director; Adam Herbst, Deputy Commissioner of Aging and Long-Term Care; Dr. John Morley, Deputy Commissioner of Primary Care and Health Systems Management; Johanne Morne, Deputy Commissioner of Health Equity and Human Rights; Diane Christensen, Deputy Commissioner of Administration; and Danielle Holahan, Executive Director, NY State of Health, and Senior Advisors Megan Baldwin, Paul Francis, and Sandra Mullin.

The reorganization includes strengthening the integration of regional offices into public health policy by incorporating them into the Office of Public Health. It is unclear how this will impact the regional offices' roles in surveillance. In addition, the restructuring includes establishing a "new operating model" for the Office of Health Emergency Preparedness.

Contact: Karen Lipson, klipson@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8383