Health and Human Services


Four Out, Four In As Patrick Overhauls Cabinet

(Updated at 7pm)

WBUR’s Curt Nickisch reports on the latest shake up in Gov. Deval Patrick’s cabinet:

The big rotation in the cast of Cabinet members in the Patrick administration is under way. On Thursday the Massachusetts governor saw off four of his top executives, and named each of the four new faces to replace them.

Gov. Deval Patrick did what governors do, no matter whether their top leaders are leaving under a cloud or departing the field after declaring victory. The governor said each of his outgoing Cabinet secretaries has his full confidence. He explicitly named JudyAnn Bigby, the head of the troubled Department of Health and Human Services.

“I think she’s been fabulous,” Patrick said. “And I would hang on to her if I could. But like I said there’s a lot of wear that goes into these jobs. She’s been here from the start. She’s done a remarkable job. And she goes with my blessing.”

Bigby, a physician, does leave with quite a legacy — implementing universal health care and seeing through a health cost control mechanism that could prove to be a national model. But those accomplishments have been buried recently by major problems at the state crime lab and lack of oversight of compounding pharmacies linked to tragic deaths around the country. If that weren’t enough, her department also has to oversee the introduction of medical marijuana in less than a month. Continue reading