Special Report: DHHS Secretary Cansler Resigns

The head of the state’s largest governmental department is stepping down effective January 31, 2012.  Lanier Cansler, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), was appointed by Governor Perdue in 2009. A Republican, Cansler served as deputy secretary from 2001 to 2005, after serving in the State House.

Governor Perdue has appointed senior policy advisor Al Delia as Acting Secretary.  Her office said Friday that Sec. Cansler will be taking a job in the private sector and will serve as the unpaid chairman of a state commission on affordable health care, according to a report in The News and Observer (1-14-12, “Health agency head resigns”).

The NCMS learned of Cansler’s decision on Friday, but it was not formally announced until after the NCMS Bulletin had been published. Published reports indicated that Cansler’s letter of resignation was dated December 13, 2011.

In a prepared statement from the Governor’s Office, Cansler said DHHS had “eliminated waste and consolidated agencies – all to make state government more efficient without neglecting our core mission of serving the people.”  The decision follows the recent release of a state audit that was critical of the costs associated with a new Medicaid claims system. The audit report comes as legislators  continue to wrestle with ongoing budget deficits that are  expected to impact the budget debate when the General Assembly convenes in May.

The state budget and the Medicaid program are high priorities of the NCMS Legislative Affairs team. We will be providing updates and analysis throughout the year at www.ncmedsoc.org and in the Bulletin.


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