State Health Commissioner Resigns

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August 25, 2014 —

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana State Health Commissioner William VanNess has resigned with little explanation from the governor’s office about the move.

Gov. Mike Pence issued a statement, saying that VanNess had “served Hoosiers passionately and with great dedication as state health commissioner and we will miss his leadership.”

Pence appointed VanNess – a physician and former president of Community Hospital of Anderson and Madison County – in January 2013, the start of the governor’s term.

VanNess had recently been promoting Pence’s proposed HIP 2.0 program – a proposed expansion of the state’s existing Healthy Indiana Plan, which offers health insurance to low-income Hoosiers. The state has asked federal officials for permission to use Medicaid money to make the plan available to more people.

VanNess has also worked on issues involving infant mortality, smoking and obesity.

“The state of Indiana will continue to tackle these challenges head on,” Pence said. “And I wish Dr. VanNess the best in his future endeavors.”

But the governor’s office did not say where VanNess is headed next.

Pence spokeswoman Christy Denault said VanNess “resigned for personal reasons” and the decision was “his own choosing.”

Earlier this summer, Debra Minott suddenly left her post as secretary of the Family and Social Services Administration, which administers the Healthy Indiana Plan. She reportedly had a disagreement with Pence over when the program could roll out.


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