Department of Social Services Director Ronald J. Levy will leave the department to accept a position at the St. Louis University School of Public Health, starting in the fall. His resignation is effective July 31.
Levy has been DSS Director since early 2009. He will become Executive in Residence at the St. Louis University School of Public Health. He also will be available to assist Governor Jay Nixon on special projects related to health care.
"Under Ron's outstanding leadership, Missouri has made great strides and is well-positioned to meet the opportunities and challenges of our health care system in the future," Gov. Nixon said. "Medicaid is on firmer financial footing due to system changes and efficiencies that have reduced costs, while protecting our core programs and services for the most vulnerable Missourians.
Ron's commitment and compassion are clear in everything he does. I will continue to rely upon his expertise and experience on special health care projects in the future," Gov. Nixon said.
"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve Gov. Nixon and the people of Missouri, at a time of tremendous change in the field of health care," Levy said. "I am looking forward to exploring new avenues for improving health care delivery and access for all Missourians."
Before being named Director of DSS, Levy had been the president/chief executive officer of SSM Health Care-St. Louis and regional president/system vice president for SSM Health Care, where he worked for more than 30 years.
At DSS, Director Levy was instrumental in the development of the Missouri Health Connection, putting Missouri on the path to create a 21st Century health information highway. The Missouri Health Connection will allow health care providers to share electronic health information, improving decision-making and patient outcomes while protecting consumers' privacy.
The Director of the Department of Social Services is appointed by the Governor and approved by the state Senate. The department currently has 7,355 budgeted employees, and a total budget of $8.1 billion.
The Department of Social Services is responsible for coordinating programs and providing public assistance to children and their parents; providing access to health care for low-income families; child protection and permanency services; and specialized assistance and rehabilitation services to troubled youth. While many DSS programs give needed financial assistance and services, other units work toward reducing financial dependence of the citizens on government.
DSS Deputy Director Brian Kinkade will serve as acting director pending a national search for Levy's replacement.