Senate Minority Leader Calls For Hearings On Governor's Appointee To Lead Department Of Health
Rick Hodges lacks the qualifications to hold the job as required by state law
 
 

Columbus—Today, Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) sent a letter to Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina) and Sen. Shannon Jones (R-Springboro), the Chairperson of the Senate Medicaid, Health and Human Services Committee, to formally request hearings on the appointment of Rick Hodges to serve as Director of the Ohio Department of Health.   

Governor Kasich appointed Hodges to the position earlier this month despite the fact that state law requires the Director of the Department of Health to be a medical doctor or have significant public health experience.  Mr. Hodges, who previously served as the Director of the Ohio Turnpike Commission, does not meet either qualification.

The letter reads as follows:

 
Dear President Faber and Chair Jones,
 
I write with deep concern regarding Governor Kasich’s recent appointment of Rick Hodges as director of the Ohio Department of Health. I address this to both you President Faber in hopes you would make this a priority for your caucus and to you Chair Jones given the jurisdiction of your committee. Despite Mr. Hodges’ history of public service and administrative work, his lack of a medical background or public health experience renders him unqualified for the position.
 
The director of the Department of Health, more so than many cabinet level positions, requires a specialized background given the breadth of responsibilities and crucial decisions that affect the health and well-being of 11.5 million Ohioans. In recognition of this, the General Assembly, in R.C. 121.10, has long required the director to be a medical doctor and just twenty years ago added an alternative option for an individual “with significant experience in the public health profession.” 
 
The Department of Health engages in critical work for the state ranging from the provision of health care, to waste water management, to response to disease outbreak.  Although the clinical staff at the Department and those recently appointed are eminently qualified, the director is ultimately responsible for the actions of the Department. Given this, it is imperative that full and open hearings be held to determine what if any qualifications Mr. Hodges possesses which warrant his selection for this position. 
 
Upon receipt of the nomination from the Governor’s office, I ask that hearings be promptly scheduled in the Medicaid Health and Human Services Committee or the appropriate committee as assigned. I further request, a vote of the committee and that the nomination then proceed to a vote on the Senate floor. Only if current concerns are sufficiently resolved should the Senate consent to the nomination.
 
Thank you for your consideration of this important issue.  I would be happy to discuss this further and look forward to the hearing process.
 
Sincerely,                                                                                     
Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni
33rd District

 
 
 
  
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