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Governor Snyder elevates chief medical executive

A table filled with bottles of Flint water (both clear and brown)
Flint Water Study
The change-up in the Snyder administration came out of recommendations from a task force that looked into the Flint water crisis.

Governor Rick Snyder is boosting the position of Michigan chief medical executive to his official inner circle. The governor says he wants to streamline how critical public health information reaches him. That was one of the problems identified by a task force that looked into how the Flint water crisis occurred.

In the-not-too-distant past, chief medical executive in the Snyder administration was a part-time job. Now, the governor is elevating it to a cabinet-level position reporting directly to him.

“We are continuing our efforts to improve the way state government works and ensure that we put people first across all departments and agencies of state government,” Snyder said in a statement released by his office.

The Office of Chief Medical Executive will be part of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services but will report directly to the governor.

From the press release announcing the changes:

“The office will help disseminate critical public health information, advocate for disease prevention, promote various health initiatives, and work with stakeholders to preserve the health of Michigan residents.”

Under an executive order signed Thursday, the governor will also appoint an 18-person commission to examine how every state agency interacts with the public health system.

“We want them to look at best practices that are going on around the state and across the nation, and then look at ways to use all that to improve public health in Michigan,” said Ari Adler, the governor’s communications director.

The commission is supposed to make its recommendations by April of next year.  

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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