Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thank Goodness!

HHS Executive Commissioner Albert Hawkins to Retire

Photo of Albert HawkinsAUSTIN ― Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Albert Hawkins today officially notified the Governor of his intention to retire.

"I'm grateful for the opportunity to have served with so many state leaders and legislators who share a passion for public service," Hawkins said. "It has been an honor."
As commissioner, Hawkins oversees the state's five health and human services agencies, which have combined budgets of $25 billion a year and more than 50,000 employees. Gov. Perry appointed Hawkins to the role in January 2003.
"Albert Hawkins has been a quiet but powerful force in state government for decades," said Gov. Rick Perry. "His budget expertise is renowned, and he has brought compassion and a commitment to quality to every job he's had. We are going to miss his leadership."
Hawkins, who has 35 years of experience in state government, led one of the largest reorganizations in U.S. history after the 2003 Texas Legislature consolidated 12 state agencies into five new agencies under his oversight. The reorganization was completed on time and achieved almost $1 billion in savings with no disruption in services.
Under Hawkins' leadership, Texas: (see if you can guess what's MISSING from his accomplishments.....)
  • Reformed child and adult protective services. Texas has hired hundreds of additional frontline employees, improved training, and used technology to link the caseworker in the field to the supervisor in the office.
  • Made the Texas Medicaid program a national model for innovation. Texas has developed electronic Health Passports to help doctors better care for children in foster care, now provides 24-hour access to nursing care and personalized treatment plans for Medicaid clients with chronic health issues, and has made administrative changes that have saved hundreds of millions of dollars.
  • Organized massive and compassionate responses after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike. After Hurricane Ike, the Health and Human Services Commission set up makeshift offices in churches and tents to provide emergency food stamps to storm victims. And Texas was the first state to negotiate a federal waiver to provide assistance to Katrina refugees. While other states waited for Congress to act, Hawkins negotiated a deal that protected Texas taxpayers and provided the storm's victims with much-needed medical coverage and food assistance.
  • Increased federal funding for state services. Federal UPL payments to Texas doctors and hospitals more than doubled and funding for services to Texans who are deaf and hard of hearing increased significantly.
  • Expanded community placements options by working with the Legislature to provide services for almost 20,000 more people with disabilities and special health care needs.
Before his appointment as health and human services executive commissioner, Hawkins served as a senior White House aide to President George W. Bush for two years. From 1995 to 2000, Hawkins was the budget director for the Governor's Office, and he worked at the Texas Legislative Budget Board for 16 years.
Hawkins is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Bob Bullock Award for Outstanding Public Stewardship in 2004; Distinguished Alumnus of LBJ School of Public Affairs in 2001; the Texas State Administrator of the Year in 1998; the Whitney M. Young Award from Austin Urban League in 2005; and the Outstanding Leadership Award from the Austin Chapter of Blacks in Government in 2005.
Hawkins earned a bachelor's degree in government from the University of Texas at Austin in 1975.  He received a master's of public affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in 1978.

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Anonymous said...

I'm guessing one of two things happened... Either somebody got their thing stuck in the wringer and needed to get out of Dodge before the gunfight errupts, or somebody finally came to the rescue and is puttin the brakes on the whole TIERS system. Either way, it makes no sense why he would leave this job so quickly after being re appointed.

Anonymous said...

not commenting on the article but on the comment...I sure don't see any brakes on the TIERS system. I have come to believe that the WHP was entirely designed as a sneaky method to continue to increase the numbers of clients pushed into the TIERS system state-wide even as the rollout was halted. Yet there has not been any mention in years of training any addition tenured staff to transition into TIERS, at least not in my region.