New York’s top health official will work his last day May 4, according to a letter he sent to Department of Health employees Thursday.
The Department of Health on Wednesday said Commissioner Nirav Shah would be resigning at the end of June to take a job with the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan in southern California.
But in his letter to health department workers Thursday, Shah said his final day would actually be nearly two months earlier.
“It is with mixed emotions that I am announcing my departure as the Commissioner of Health for New York State,” Shah wrote in the letter, which was obtained by Gannett’s Albany Bureau. “I have accepted a position as Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer for Clinical Operations for the Southern California Region of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan. My last day at the Department will be May 4.”
A spokesman for the Department of Health
could not immediately be reached to explain the discrepancy. confirmed Shah’s last day will be in early May, and blamed the inaccurate information Wednesday on a miscommunication.
Shah’s resignation comes at a crucial time for the Department of Health, as it works on finalizing an $8 billion Medicaid waiver agreement with the federal government, implementing a plan to allow limited medical marijuana and completing a long-anticipated review of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.
But while Shah has received criticism for the length and transparency of his fracking review—he said in January 2013 that it would be completed in “the next few weeks”—Cuomo said Thursday the criticism had nothing to do with Shah’s departure. Instead, Cuomo pointed to the state’s salary structure for commissioners, which is set by law.
In his letter to employees, Shah touted the accomplishments of the agency under his watch.
“Together, we have renewed the trust of our citizens in government,” Shah wrote. “We have turned around our Medicaid program—which had become the model of waste—and made it a paragon of quality. We have enabled nearly 1 million New Yorkers access to high quality health insurance through our award-winning marketplace.”
(AP file photo)