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Samples appointed assistant to DHHR secretary

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Jeremiah Samples, director of health policy for the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner, has been appointed assistant to new Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Karen Bowling.

"Jeremiah's broad-based experience adds great value to our team in accomplishing the mission of the department -- helping West Virginians," Bowling said in a prepared statement Tuesday. "Jeremiah began his DHHR career seven years ago and returns with tools and knowledge essential to helping our agency move forward."

Samples will takeover as assistant to the secretary July 16.

As health policy director for the OIC, Samples led the state's health insurance marketplace efforts. Enrollment in the marketplace, a provision of the Affordable Care Act that will be jointly run by the state and federal government, will begin Oct. 1. Insurance coverage will begin Jan. 1.

"Jeremiah has clearly done a great job with the market place, getting it up and ready to go," said Perry Bryant, executive director of West Virginians for Affordable Health Care. "I think an awful lot of what needs to be done is contingent on the federal government much more than the state."

Bryant added that Samples will be missed at the insurance exchange but he could do some good at DHHR.

One of the principle problems with the state's budget is health care costs, Bryant said, citing a recent DHHR study by Public Works.

"If Jeremiah can go to DHHR and help with that problem, I think that would be quite beneficial," Bryant said.

Bryant said he hadn't heard who will takeover for Samples at the OIC. A Tuesday afternoon call to Amy Shuler Goodwin, spokeswoman for Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, went unanswered.

"There are a number of talented people there who I think would be quite good," Bryant said.

Samples started his career in public service as an intern with the state Legislature. He joined DHHR, where he served in the offices of Communications and Legislative Affairs, General Counsel, and Deputy Secretary, according to a statement from DHHR. 

He later worked for the Governor's Office of Health Enhancement and Lifestyle Planning (GOHELP) where he managed website development, assisted in health policy strategic planning, and coordinated public and private agencies on state health policy issues. 

Samples graduated from West Virginia University with degrees in History and Political Science. He is pursuing his master's degree in legal studies at WVU. 

Reach Lori Kersey at lori.kersey@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.


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