MA Secretary of HSS Under Fire for Drug Crises
Massachusetts House Republican leaders are calling on Governor Deval Patrick's health and human services secretary to resign. This follows the evidence tampering scandal at a state crime lab and a meningitis outbreak linked to a state-regulated pharmacy in Framingham.
House Republican leader Brad Jones says Judy Ann Bigby was too slow in responding to the problems at the state drug lab and the compounding pharmacy and she does not have the management skills to deal with the fallout:
On Wednesday, Bigby testified at a legislative oversight hearing about the problems at the state drug lab, which was under the umbrella of her secretariat. Lawmakers pressed her on how the problems could have been allowed to go on for so long. Bigby acknowledged serious lapses that have now led to the release of nearly 200 defendants and has put tens of thousands of criminal cases in jeopardy. But she mostly blamed the mess on a single rogue chemist:
Republicans are expressing frustration over her answers:
“The testimony was uninspiring, lacking, I would say less than forthcoming.”
Bigby is defending herself in a written statement, saying that both crises are “tragic and unacceptable, and that people have been held accountable for these lapses.” And the administration is taking action to ensure that these events are never allowed to happen again. A spokesperson for the governor says Bigby has the Governor’s full support.
Bigby is Patrick's longest serving cabinet member. She has been working closely with HIM on the Massachusetts health care overhaul and its implementation.- one of the Governor's top priorities.