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Social services director plans to exit position

Amid state’s Medicaid negotiations


– The head of the state’s largest agency is leaving her post as Indiana teeters on crucial negotiations with the federal government over health insurance for the poor.

Debra Minott confirmed late Monday that she will be transitioning out as secretary of the Family and Social Services Administration over the next month.

“I have appreciated the opportunity to serve FSSA and the taxpayers of Indiana for the past 17 months,” she said. “We have all worked together to re-establish FSSA as an integrated, collaborative agency. I … look forward to working with the governor’s office to ensure an orderly transition to new leadership.”

Earlier in the day, Gov. Mike Pence said he holds Minott “in the highest regard and believes she has served the people of Indiana with integrity and professionalism.”

But a source in the governor’s office who asked not to be named said the administration had begun discussions “about a change in direction at FSSA. As we work together on transition, we continue to value Secretary Minott’s leadership to the agency and contributions to the state.”

The move comes at a precarious moment.

Indiana is set to finalize a waiver request to the federal government this month seeking permission to provide health insurance for hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers under a modified plan largely funded by the Affordable Care Act.

Minott has been on the team negotiating with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services since she was tapped in January 2013.

And she has been shilling for Pence’s program for weeks, including Monday morning.

Pence named Minott to her post as the last of his major appointments and after he had already taken office. FSSA handles the welfare, food stamp and Medicaid program for the state’s neediest Hoosiers.

Minott, from Carmel, most recently was vice president and associate general counsel for Hill-Rom, a medical device manufacturer in Batesville. There, she managed health care regulatory and employment legal matters.

With 30 years of legal experience, she has served many roles, including human resources director at CarDon & Associates Inc.; state personnel director; chief governance officer and corporate secretary of Guidant Corp.; senior vice president and general counsel for Fort Wayne’s Essex International Inc.; and senior counsel at Eli Lilly and Co.

Minott earned her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Michigan.