HARTFORD, CT - Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he is selecting Dr. Deidre Gifford to serve as commissioner of the Department of Social Services (DSS).
Since 2016, Dr. Gifford has served as deputy director for the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in Washington, DC, where she oversees the full scope of Medicaid functions at the federal agencies.
“The Department of Social Services provides an incredibly important function to the people of our state, and it is time to accelerate the pace of innovation and change in the agency,” Governor Lamont said. “I want to refocus our energy to improve the delivery of these services utilizing innovative tools that increase the value and outcomes for consumers while also producing cost-saving efficiencies for the agency. This is exactly what drew my attention to Dr. Gifford – she has many years of experience doing exactly this both on the state and federal level. I am excited that she has agreed to come to Connecticut and help reform these efforts here – her input is going to be a big benefit as we move forward in these streamlining endeavors.
“I also want to thank Commissioner Bremby for his service at DSS,” the governor added. “His work over the last eight years has been a benefit to many people in our state and has helped put us on a path toward improving the delivery of these critical services.”
“I am grateful to Governor Lamont for the opportunity to serve the people of Connecticut in this important role,” Dr. Gifford said. “If confirmed, I look forward to working with the Governor and Lt. Governor, and collaborating with my fellow commissioners to improve the lives and health of the women, men, children, and families served by DSS. It is becoming clear that improving the health of our communities requires an approach that looks beyond the traditional silos of social services. Under Governor Lamont’s leadership, Connecticut has a unique opportunity to enhance the coordination and efficiency of government services in truly innovative ways that will make a real difference.”
Immediately prior to joining CMS, Dr. Gifford served as the Director of State Policy and Programs at the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD), where she led that organization’s efforts with states to support and advance value based purchasing in Medicaid.
From 2012 to 2015, Dr. Gifford served as Medicaid Director in the Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services, having previously served as the agency’s medical director. During her tenure, she advanced changes in the payment and delivery system to improve the quality of care and enhance the value of Medicaid services, including the development of numerous initiatives in care coordination, information technology, and provider payment innovations.
From 2005 until 2011, Dr. Gifford was co-founder and Project Director of Rhode Island’s multi-payer Medical Home demonstration, one of the nation’s first and most enduring multi-payer payment reform initiatives. She was also the Director of Healthcare Policy and Programs for Rhode Island’s Medicare Quality Improvement Organization from 1998 to 2008.
She received a B.S. from the University of California, Los Angeles; an M.D. from Cornell University Medical College in New York; and completed a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology and received an M.P.H. in epidemiology at the University of California, Los Angeles.
She will begin serving as a commissioner-designate on June 21. Her nomination will be sent to the General Assembly for its advice and consent.