West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Cabinet Secretary Bill Crouch is retiring at the end of the year, Gov. Jim Justice said Monday.
Dr. Jeffrey Coben will step in as interim secretary, the Republican governor announced. Coben is West Virginia University's associate vice president for health affairs and the dean of WVU's School of Public Health.
Crouch’s departure comes as the department works to implement a consulting firm's recent recommendations for how to restructure the agency responsible for running the state’s foster care system. Crouch’s last day will be Dec. 31.
Republican Gov. Jim Justice earlier this year vetoed a bill that proposed splitting West Virginia’s Department of Health and Human Resources into two departments. The McChrystal Group of Alexandria, Virginia, was hired to review the department and concluded that the current configuration "is not an option," but that splitting the agency would "divert time, funding, and leadership’s focus away from serving West Virginians."
The firm recommended that the department remain a single department with all efforts focused on a strategic plan to address top priorities, including an "executive leadership team" comprised of three deputy secretaries.
McChrystal Group was awarded a contract in June to conduct a thorough review of DHHR. The firm provided a cost estimate of $503,648 for the Department of Health and Human Resources’ organizational assessment and $578,770 to develop a strategic plan.