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Abbott Appoints Longtime Aide to Lead Health Commission

From the Texas Tribune: Charles Smith, a longtime ally of Gov. Greg Abbott, will be the next executive commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the governor announced Tuesday.

Smith, the chief deputy executive commissioner at the massive agency, will start his new position on June 1.

Credit Attorney General of Texas
Gov. Abbott appointed Charles Smith to run Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which oversees programs such as Medicaid, foster care and state-supported living centers.

"Charles Smith is a proven leader ready for the challenge to take the helm at Texas' Health and Human Services Commission,” Abbott said in a prepared statement.

The Health and Human Services Commission is a five-agency enterprise that operates a $35 billion annual budget with roughly 60,000 employees. Their duties include overseeing the Medicaid public insurance program, running institutions such as state-supported living centers, and regulating private facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes. They also enforce restrictions on abortion clinics, oversee Child Protective Services and manage the state’s foster-care system.

Smith is a former deputy for child support in the state attorney general's office. He was appointed to that position by Abbott, who was then the attorney general. 

Abbott also announced Cecile Young, the agency’s chief of staff, would be promoted to chief deputy executive commissioner.

Abbott said Smith and Young “will continue to improve the agency's efficiency and accountability to Texas citizens.”

Chris Traylor, the outgoing commissioner, announced his retirement in April.

The governor said Tuesday that Traylor’s career was “commendable and full of remarkable successes.”

Edgar Walters is a reporter with the Texas Tribune.
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