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Department of Health Secretary Karen Murphy to Leave the Wolf Administration for the Private Sector

May 22, 2017

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf thanked Department of Health Secretary Karen Murphy for her work to battle the heroin and opioid epidemic, implement the medical marijuana program and transform rural healthcare while expertly overseeing a complex organization that led efforts to address all emergent public health issues facing Pennsylvania.

Secretary Murphy is leaving the state for a position in the private sector.

“Secretary Murphy is a leader in public health and health administration and has been a valuable member of my administration,” Governor Wolf said. “Secretary Murphy has contributed significantly to our efforts to address the most important health issues facing Pennsylvania and been a key figure in my administration’s fight against the heroin and opioid epidemic. She led the implementation of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which has nearly 90,000 participants and more than 7 million queries since August of 2016.

“One of the most important pieces of legislation passed into law over the past two years was medical marijuana legislation. Since the passage of the legislation, Secretary Murphy oversaw the plan to develop the regulatory structure of the program to ensure that patients can get medication in under two years.

“Throughout all of these significant efforts, Secretary Murphy has addressed public health challenges like emerging disease including the Zika outbreak. She also took on some of the biggest challenges facing public health, including reforming the oversight of nursing homes and developing a transformation initiative for rural hospitals.”

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve in Governor Wolf’s administration,” said Secretary Murphy. “I am certain that the administration and dedicated men and women at the Department of Health will continue their efforts to improve the health of all Pennsylvanians.

“We will miss Secretary Murphy, and we wish her well as she pursues new opportunities to improve public health,” said Governor Wolf.

In addition to the work on the heroin and opioid epidemic, nursing home reform, medical marijuana, and the Zika outbreak, under Secretary Murphy’s leadership the Department of Health made strides toward improving public health in Pennsylvania, including:

  • The Department of Health improved the state’s childhood immunization regulations to ensure that every school-aged child gets the appropriate vaccinations within five days from the start of school. And the Department of Health provided more than 20,000 vaccinations just last year for illness like flu, pertussis and meningitis;
  • The Department of Health received a $25 million grant from the federal government to implement the Pennsylvania Rural Health Transformation Initiative, that included a multiplayer global budget for rural hospitals; and
  • The Department of Health worked to educate residents on disease prevention, ranging from diabetes to HIV/AIDS to childhood obesity and Lyme to improve the quality of life for all Pennsylvanians.

Secretary Murphy has extensive knowledge of the health care industry and is a proven executive who has demonstrated her ability to lead complex organizations and initiatives in both the public and private sectors. Prior to assuming her role in Governor Wolf’s cabinet, she served as Director of the State Innovation Models Initiative, a $900 million investment by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation aimed at accelerating health care innovation across the nation.  She was the former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Moses Taylor Health Care System.  Prior to that, she served in various roles in health care administration. As founder and Chief Executive Officer of Physicians Health Alliance, Inc. (PHA), Secretary Murphy led an integrated medical group practice within Moses Taylor Health Care System.

She previously served as a Clinical Faculty Member in the Medicine Department at The Commonwealth Medical College.  She earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration from Temple University’s Fox School of Business, a Master of Business Administration from Marywood University, a Bachelor of Science from the University of Scranton, and a diploma as a registered nurse from the Scranton State Hospital School of Nursing. She is an author and national speaker on health policy and health care innovation

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