Breaking today at the State Capitol in Virginia. Dr. Karen Remley, the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Health has resigned.
Remley is a holdover in the McDonnell administration from the Kaine administration.
In an email to stakeholders of the Department of Health, Remley specifically cited the abortion clinic regulations passed into law by the General Assembly as the reason for her resignation.
Her e-mail reads in part:
"Unfortunately, how specific sections of the Virginia Code pertaining to the development and enforcement of these regulations have been and continue to be interpreted has created an environment in which my ability to fulfill my duties is compromised and I can no longer in good faith continue in my role." - Dr. Karen Remley
Governor Bob McDonnell has accepted Remley's resignation. It is effective immediately.
In a statement, McDonnell thanked Remley for her service. He did not mention the clinic regulation controversy
"I greatly appreciate Dr. Remley's tremendous public service over the past four years. As Commissioner she served two governors from two different parties, and all the citizens of Virginia, with constant professionalism, intellect and dedication. She was a tireless public servant, and we will miss her in the Administration. I wish Dr. Remley the very best moving forward, and know she will continue to play a leading role in healthcare in Virginia in the years ahead." -Governor Bob McDonnell
McDonnell has appointed Dr. Maureen Dempsey, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Health, will serve as interim Commissioner. She is the former director of the Missouri State Department of Health and Senior Services
The full e-mail from Remley can be found after the jump:
Dear Clinical Societies and Organizations,
Please find below a message from me to your membership. I ask that you consider sharing this message as we have worked so closely together on so many important issues improving health for all Virginians.
Together, we have worked on many important health issues- smoking bans in restaurants, the H1N1 response, Pertussis immunization and the current fungal meningitis outbreak being just a few. I hope that during my five-year tenure, you have come to think of the Virginia Department of Health as a true partner in your activities as a health care provider, both for your patients and our local communities. My regular communications, supported by the significant depth and breadth of knowledge from VDH experts, have been with a goal to both inform and strengthen that relationship. Please know that this relationship is essential to a strong public health and private health care community, especially in these rapidly changing times. I plan to continue to support this important mission.
As you know VDH has been developing and implementing regulations of abortion facilities, and as of today all twenty abortion facilities eligible for licensing have been inspected, plans of correction received and approved, and within the next few days all will be licensed for the coming year. Unfortunately, how specific sections of the Virginia Code pertaining to the development and enforcement of these regulations have been and continue to be interpreted has created an environment in which my ability to fulfill my duties is compromised and I can no longer in good faith continue in my role. I have submitted my resignation from the position from State Health Commissioner effective today.
I continue to have a passion for public health and the future of health care in our commonwealth and will pursue opportunities to improve the health of all Virginians through different venues.
Thank you for caring for Virginians in hospitals, clinics, offices, urgent care centers, pharmacies, nursing homes, free clinics and many more settings around the state.
You truly inspire me daily.
Karen Remley, MD, MBA, FAAP
Commissioner, Virginia Department of Health