DBHDS Announces a Reorganization

July 25, 2022

Commissioner Smith announced a new organization/structure for the DBHDS Central Office at the end of last week.  We delayed, a little, sending it out in hopes that there would be more detail forthcoming on who will fill the various roles.   The chart is linked here.

And the following is the text of the release from Commissioner Smith:

During my first several months at DBHDS, I took time to observe, learn, and gain a better appreciation for the vast scope of work done across the DBHDS system. During this time, we also began developing a new transformation plan called the “North Star Plan,” focusing on 1) strengthening our workforce system-wide, 2) expanding the comprehensive continuum of care, and 3) modernizing our business systems and processes. Staff will receive more details on objectives within the North Star Plan very soon. After careful consideration of how to best meet the critical North Star objectives, I have developed a new organizational structure to help us move forward in today’s rapidly evolving healthcare environment. 


The new organizational structure fortifies our position for transformational success, improves internal operations, better supports staff, and assists our outward-facing mission to improve relationships and partnerships throughout the Commonwealth. It helps us reach my ultimate goal for Central Office to achieve a strong customer service focus both internally and externally. This new structure is effective immediately.


Here are the highlights of the new structure:


Chief Deputy Commissioner – This division will be the epicenter of external transformation for DBHDS. The North Star Plan hinges on shifting our focus and structural footprint from inpatient care to community care, and nowhere will this be more evident than in this division. There will be several changes in structure as you see in the org chart. I am creating a new Assistant Commissioner for Crisis Services position (Bill Howard, will take that position from the info I have received) that will report directly to the new Chief Deputy Commissioner, as this effort is a pillar of our transformational effort. All crisis efforts will eventually be located in this area. We will begin recruiting for this position soon. Improving licensing capability overlaps all three areas of the North Star Plan and the Assistant Commissioner for Provider Management will report to the Chief Deputy. Enterprise Management, which includes the CSB performance contract, will relocate to this division to better connect the performance contract process with external transformation efforts. This Chief Deputy position will remain an appointed position and will fill the critical role of being the number two position in the agency. We hope the Governor will be announcing the person who will fill this role soon. I will work with this new person on any internal adjustments within the division to better meet our mission.


Chief of Staff – DBHDS has long operated in siloes where divisions and offices often seemed like islands of activity instead of part of a unified department. While all of the division deputies will report directly to me, I am infusing a new accountability and connecting apparatus in the form of a new Chief of Staff position. The Chief of Staff will not have direct reports but will be the center of gravity for operational decisions and facilitate and coordinate day-to-day work and priorities across Central Office. The Chief of Staff will play the critical role of interfacing with other divisions to remove barriers in the business and communication flow, and to ensure I am informed of all major operational decisions on a daily basis. I have asked Andrew Diefenthaler to take on this new role in an acting capacity and we will soon begin recruiting for this role.


Facility Services – This division will have a similar structure as it currently has with the addition of Community Integration as this office is hinged to facility admissions and discharges. However, this division is considering internal restructuring to create more supports that will allow it to truly operate like a hospital system. Deputy Commissioner for Facility Services Angela Harvell will continue to lead this division.


Clinical and Quality Management  Despite a name adjustment, this division will operate as it historically has to ensure all individuals we serve receive high-quality care. Dr. Alexis Aplasca will continue in this role. 


Administration – The Administration Division will operate for the most part as it currently is with several notable exceptions. The Chief DOI Officer will continue critical equity and workforce efforts and will be located in the Administration division to facilitate close collaboration with Human Resources. A new Workforce Development position will be created in Human Resources to help us carry out a major arm of our North Star Plan to strengthen the workforce systemwide. Also, as I recently announced separately, Internal Audit will report directly to the division director. Cort Kirkley will continue to serve in this position.


Policy and Public Affairs – This division will continue to be our quick response and promotional arm for our agency. This is where we communicate our priorities and initiatives through written messages, media, social media, stakeholder relations, legislative action, policy, and other tools. This is also where we ensure constituents receive the guidance they need to navigate the system and solve problems. Importantly, we will be strengthening the marketing component of this division to help us change our narrative and give a stronger voice to the tremendous work going on throughout the system. Meghan McGuire has been leading this division on an acting basis since November when public relations combined with policy and legislative affairs. I have asked her to continue in this role.


The new organizational chart is attached for you to see these structural changes and some other areas I adjusted or fine-tuned. Most staff will not be directly affected by new reporting structures. This new org chart will be posted on our website. The next step is working with the senior leadership team to matrix “dotted line” reporting to make sure divisions and offices are accountable to each other through the Chief of Staff and horizontally. We will ensure you have access to this matrixed organization chart when it is completed. Finally, I will work with division deputies if they recommend any additional changes within their division to adjust to this new structure.”


While not mentioned above, Heather Norton will remain as Assistant Commissioner for DD Services; there is no mention of who will assume the overall responsibility for “Provider Management,”  but it is interesting to consider the terminology was that was chosen!