New Developments at DHHS

November 6, 2019

Strengthening Our Workforce to Serve Maine People

The Department of Health and Human Services continues to strengthen its policies, systems, and workforce to meet the needs of Maine people. To that end, DHHS is pleased to announce the hiring of two individuals whose daily work is to fortify our strongest asset: the people who work at the Department. In this update, we also update the figures on the populations we serve and the work of our Constituent Services office.

Manager of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Leana Amáez joins DHHS on December 9 as the Manager of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), a new position created within the Commissioner's Office. Amáez, an attorney, comes to us from Pine Tree Legal Assistance, where she has served as Director of Pro Bono Services. She previously worked at Bowdoin College, where she served eight years as the Associate Dean of Students for Diversity and Inclusion, working to increase opportunities for underrepresented groups and address barriers to inclusion.

As the new Manager of DEI, Amáez will help lead the development of innovative and practical solutions to address the economic and social conditions that affect people's health and quality of life. She will also lead our efforts to develop a workforce of diverse talent and promote an equitable and inclusive work environment.

Director of Workforce and Development

Last week, DHHS also welcomed Desirea Chase to her new role as Director of Workforce and Development. She comes to the position with expertise in health care recruitment and a background at DHHS, having previously served as Director of Recruitment for Riverview Psychiatric Center.

Who We Serve

We've updated our third Who We Serve snapshot, which provides key statistics for major programs throughout DHHS. Updated quarterly, it shows at a glance the content and scope of DHHS services. Changes from the summer include: one more regional office with the October opening of the one in Calais, 427 new employees as we have filled vacant posts, about 40 percent more enrollees in the MaineCare expansion, and about 30 percent more children achieving permanence (reunification or adoption) as well as health inspections completed by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Who We Serve - Oct 2019 (PDF)

Constituent Services

Constituent Services provides support to those with questions or concerns regarding any of the many programs and services offered through DHHS. Acting as a liaison, Constituent Services coordinates with the Commissioner's office, the Maine congressional delegation, the Office of the Governor, State legislators and members of the public to resolve problems and answer inquiries.

Between July 1 and October 3, 2019, the Office received 895 inquiries, down 23% from the previous quarter, marking a significant decline in the number of individuals needing assistance through constituent services. This drop likely stems from improved customer service at the Office for Family Independence (OFI). It has significantly improved its efficiency in answering calls and processing applications for services offered by DHHS, thanks to smart, streamlined work plus reinforcements at the Wilton Call Center and customer service representatives. Of those requests, 127 inquiries were reviewed and forwarded directly to the Office for Family Independence (OFI) because they pertained to eligibility for OFI programs. Of the remaining 767 inquiries, 254 involved eligibility and benefits for other DHHS programs, 140 were regarding health services such as aging or mental health services, and 167 involved child welfare.

Graph of total inquiries by type

Individuals in need of assistance may submit inquiries online, by phone at (207) 287-5846, or by email at scott.perkins@maine.gov. Please note that Constituent Services is not to be used in the event of an emergency or to report abuse or neglect.