A Message from Secretary Polanowicz
Today I’m pleased to announce Kristin Thorn as Medicaid Director and Olga Roche as Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Please join me in congratulating Kristin and Olga in their new positions.
Medicaid Director – Kristin Thorn
Under Kristin’s leadership as acting director, the MassHealth team has worked diligently to implement the Affordable Care Act (ACA), advancing our nation-leading health care access for families across Massachusetts.
Kristin has been integral to recent successes at MassHealth, including the launch of the Care Plus program to provide comprehensive health care coverage for low-income residents through the ACA. Earlier this summer, MassHealth advanced its One Care program to better serve adults with disabilities who receive both MassHealth and Medicare benefits.
MassHealth recently began an innovative new predictive modeling program under Kristin’s leadership that will help detect and prevent provider fraud, waste and abuse in real-time. Kristin also played major roles in negotiation of Massachusetts’ 1115 Waiver. These advancements are integral to the Patrick Administration’s health care cost containment and program integrity efforts.
An attorney, Kristin has been with MassHealth for the past three years, first as chief of staff, overseeing central operations for the $11 billion agency, and later as deputy Medicaid director for administration. She formerly served as an official with the U.S. Department of Energy and later as director of operations for Governor Deval Patrick. She is a graduate of Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and earned her law degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
DCF Commissioner – Olga Roche
During Olga’s time as interim Commissioner, and previously as deputy commissioner for field operations, DCF has expanded kinship placements, increased adoptions and enhanced foster care supports. The Commonwealth’s recent victory in the Children’s Rights case reflects DCF’s hard work and progress in these areas.
Olga is an experienced health and human services administrator with more than 30 years of management experience in child welfare and juvenile justice. She has worked for DCF in previous roles as regional director of the northern region and area director of the Lawrence, North Central and Worcester area offices.
She brings extensive experience in juvenile justice, having served as a manager and direct care worker with the Department of Youth Services over six years. She is fluent in Spanish and has worked in Puerto Rico as a probation officer in the Juvenile Court of Guayama, and as adjunct professor at Catholic University of Puerto Rico.
A licensed social worker, Olga holds a Masters of Social Work from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas; and a Bachelors of Social Work from Catholic University of Puerto Rico. She is a resident of Worcester.
Again, please join me in welcoming Kristin and Olga to their new roles.
Promoting Inclusion and Bringing About Social Change posted on Mar 10
On March 6, 2017, I had the opportunity to participate in a unique event at the Massachusetts State House, where Governor Baker issued a proclamation to establish this week, March 6 – 11, as BlindNewWorld week. These six days are dedicated to raising awareness across …Continue Reading Promoting Inclusion and Bringing About Social Change
DTA Adds the New England Aquarium to its Cultural Partnership Program posted on Feb 23
The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) announced that the New England Aquarium joined the list of more than a dozen top educational and cultural institutions statewide that offer free or reduced access. DTA’s Cultural Partnerships provides individuals and families an opportunity to visit partnering institutions …Continue Reading DTA Adds the New England Aquarium to its Cultural Partnership Program
Teaming Up for DYS Youth: A Long-standing Partnership Serves to Inspire posted on Feb 17
If you tried, you probably could hear a pin drop in the room. On a February evening, during a special visit to the Department of Youth Services (DYS) Metro Pre-Trial Detention Unit, nearly a dozen young men sat attentively and completely absorbed in the words …Continue Reading Teaming Up for DYS Youth: A Long-standing Partnership Serves to Inspire