On Friday, Gov. Abbott announced the departure of Kyle Janek as executive commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). Janek, a former Texas state representative and senator, was appointed to the position in 2012 by then-Governor Rick Perry.
Recent conflicts and alleged scandals regarding the commission surfaced in November of last year. Abbott’s announcement came amidst investigations being conducted between a technology company, 21CT, and the health agency. Interestingly, Janek defiantly refused to step down amid the scandals until Abbott announced the resignation.
Questions arose over a $20 million dollar contract the commission had with the Austin-based 21CT. The deal was intended to fund efforts to detect Medicaid fraud, but it was soon discovered that close ties existed between a 21CT lobbyist and a top lawyer at HHSC, Jack Stick.
Stick, among other top officials, eventually resigned under scrutiny earlier this year. Stick’s wife and Janek’s chief of staff, Erica Stick, was among those placed on administrative leave. Until his resignation, Janek said he loved his job, standing by his claims during a Texas Senate committee hearing in February.
In a statement given on Friday, Janek said it was ultimately his idea to part ways with the agency, stating “The time is right for new leadership to provide continuity throughout.” Janek did not mention the current investigations being carried out by the state as a reason for his departure.
Abbott also left those recent developments unmentioned in his own announcement, thanking Dr. Janek for his “dedication and service to the state of Texas.” Shortly thereafter, Abbott signed into law Senate Bill 20 — a piece of legislation that will reform the state contracting process by maximizing transparency efforts and increasing accountability.
Janek’s last day as executive commissioner is set for July 1. Chris Traylor, the current deputy of the commission and former head of the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS), will take over the leadership role.
New reforms in the HHSC are becoming effective on September 1 of this year.
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This article has been updated.