AZ Department of Health Services, Gerard, Resigning

Director Sue Gerard

AZCentral is reporting that Republican Sue Gerard will step down from her position as Director over Arizona’s Health Department after three years of service. Her resignation will take place on August 1st. Gerard was appointed to the position by Governor Napolitano after she lost a Senate Primary race against Republican Barbara Leff in 2002 (by 37 votes!).

The key quote reported on AZCentral probably reveals the reason for Gerard’s resignation:

Regardless of the sunny statements released Thursday by Napolitano and Gerard, their relationship became strained over the last year or so with the uncovering by Gerard’s inspectors of a string of patient-care problems at the Arizona State Veteran Home, which is part of the state Department of Veterans Services.

In May, the state-run nursing home came under criticism after sending home without home-health services or medications a 67-year-old diabetic man recovering from brain surgery. DHS declared that residents in the home were in “immediate jeopardy,” the worst possible designation for such a facility. It was the second time in a year-and-a-half that the home had received the designation.

After that incident, the outspoken Gerard revealed some of her frustration with the Governor’s Office in a series of inter-agency e-mails, which subsequently became public.

In one, Gerard wrote that the Governor’s Office and Department of Veterans Services had a habit of siding with the veterans home rather than DHS when it came to questions of patient care at the nursing home. In another, Gerard described the reaction to her agency’s negative inspections of the veterans home as a “shoot the messenger mentality.

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