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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

DCF Commisioner RocheOlga Roche has served at DCF since the beginning of the Patrick Administration, helping build a strong system of protecting children and families across the Commonwealth.

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.

Written By:


Deputy Communications Director, Office of Health and Human Services

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