HHS Secretary Beane to step down in Dec.

PROVIDENCE – R.I. Health and Human Services Secretary Eric J. Beane will step down in mid-December, Gov. Gina M. Raimondo announced Friday.

Lisa Vura-Weis, currently serving as deputy chief of staff for Raimondo, will serve as acting secretary during a search for a permanent replacement. Before joining Raimondo’s staff, Vura-Weis led projects on health care organizational effectiveness for the Boston Consulting Group.

Vura-Weiss will focus primarily on budget and management at HHS, as well as help to find a replacement secretary, according to Raimondo’s office.

“I am deeply grateful for Eric’s four years of service to the people of Rhode Island. Because of Eric’s work, Rhode Island’s health and human services are undoubtedly stronger today than they were when I first took office,” stated Raimondo.

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It was not immediately clear what Beane plans to do following his departure as HHS Secretary. A spokeswoman from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services said of the departure, “The Governor is going into her second term, and this is a natural transition time,” noting that Beane intended to “spend some time traveling and visiting with family and friends,” while leaving his options open professionally.

“Over the last four years, we have expanded access to high-quality health care, reduced the number of overdose deaths, controlled health care costs, strengthened DCYF and turned a corner on [the Unified Health Infrastructure Project],” said Beane in a statement. “[Raimondo’s] vision for the state is creating opportunities for more Rhode Islanders.”

Beane became secretary in June 2017, after serving as acting secretary beginning in January 2017. He has served in the Raimondo administration for four years, initially as deputy chief of staff and chief operating officer in the governor’s office.

Chris Bergenheim is the PBN web editor. Email him at Bergenheim@PBN.com.