Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek, M.D., announced today he is stepping down from his position effective July 1 to make way for new leadership as the agency prepares for major reorganization.
“I’ve been honored to lead this agency for nearly three years but we’re getting ready for some big changes and the time is right for new leadership to provide continuity throughout,” Janek said. “I think it’s important we have a smooth succession as the agency takes on these new challenges.”
State lawmakers recently approved legislation calling for consolidation of certain health and human services administrative functions and programs.
Janek was appointed executive commissioner by Governor Rick Perry in September 2012 and is the second physician to serve in that capacity. During his tenure, Janek guided the agency and its programs through multiple challenges, including a transformation of the Department of Family and Protective Services, which led to improvements in the way the agency recruits and retains caseworkers. He guided HHSC through required implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act, which forced massive system changes and led to a dramatic increase in applications for state health benefits. He oversaw Texas’ health and human services response to the surge in border crossings by unaccompanied minors, and preparedness for the potential outbreak of infectious diseases. He also helped direct the state’s response to last year’s Ebola threat.
In a news release today, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced his intention to nominate HHSC Chief Deputy Commissioner Chris Traylor as the new HHSC executive commissioner and Charles Smith, currently deputy for child support at the Texas Office of the Attorney General, as deputy executive commissioner.
“I thank Dr. Janek for his years of dedication and service to the State of Texas,” said Abbott. “I look forward to working with Chris Traylor to make needed reforms to ensure that the millions of Texans who rely on the vital services HHSC performs are able to have the utmost trust in the agency. Chris Traylor and Charles Smith have the proven leadership experience necessary to address the challenges facing HHSC, and I am confident in their ability to confront these challenges head on.”
Traylor, who was contemplating retirement, will take over as executive commissioner July 1.