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Governor Larry Hogan Calls On Senate Executive Nominations Committee to Confirm Dennis Schrader as Health Secretary

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan today called on the Senate Executive Nominations Committee to confirm Dennis Schrader as Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH). Schrader has been serving as acting secretary since December 2016, where he has a critical oversight role of the state’s response to the heroin and opioid crisis and potential healthcare changes at the federal level. However, he has yet to be scheduled for a hearing by the committee.

“Dennis Schrader has been focused on the critical healthcare issues facing our state for months and has been advocating for Maryland at the state and federal level every day,” said Governor Hogan. “It’s absolutely ludicrous that the legislature would allow Maryland to go with a rudderless ship at the Department of Health in the middle of a crisis, and I’m calling on the majority leadership and the Executive Nominations Committee members to quit playing politics with our health secretary at a time where we have thousands of lives and billions of dollars at stake.”

Schrader is highly qualified for this critically important appointment. In addition to a decorated career in the United States Navy and a wealth of experience in senior management positions in both the public and private sector, Schrader served as an executive at the University of Maryland Medical System Corporation (UMMS) from 1987-2003. Schrader’s roles at UMMS included Director of Operations and Vice President, and he has been credited as a key member of the executive team that transformed UMMS into its current status as a prominent, nationally recognized medical institution.

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) praised Schrader’s transformational tenure at UMMS during his testimony in support of Schrader’s appointment as Deputy Administrator for National Preparedness at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“When I was Speaker of the state legislature, Dennis was called upon to help us deal with the University of Maryland. At that time, it was a public hospital in terrible financial condition,” said Senator Cardin at Schrader’s 2007 confirmation hearing. “Dennis used his extraordinary executive leadership to work out the problems of that hospital so that today the University of Maryland Medical Center is one of the great academic medical centers in our country. I must tell you, that it did not just happen. It took an extraordinary game plan and talent, and he was part of the team that brought that about, and I thank him for that leadership…”

In addition to being one of Maryland’s largest and most complex state agencies, DHMH is on the front lines of the state’s response to the growing heroin and opioid crisis. Earlier this month, Governor Hogan announced a State of Emergency to address this epidemic, which will allow for enhanced coordination between state agencies – including DHMH – in the areas of treatment, education, prevention, and law enforcement. It is imperative that the agency has strong leadership to help address this crisis that is killing Marylanders every single day.

DHMH is also the primary agency tasked with protecting Maryland’s Medicare waiver and addressing potential state-level ramifications associated with pending changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) at the federal level – an issue that many of the same legislators currently holding up Schrader’s confirmation have said is of utmost importance.

Continuing to allow this vital agency’s leadership to remain in limbo could have real consequences for millions of Maryland families, and the governor is calling on the legislature to put partisanship aside and move forward with the confirmation process for Dennis Schrader.


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