Cheyenne, WY (KGWN) - It was December when Kim Gillan was named the new Region VIII director of the Department of Health and Human Services, and she's spent most of the last 8 months traveling around her extensive region meeting with communities and doing what she calls "learning and listening."
Gillan, a former Montana legislator said she never expected to find herself in her new position, but said she's prepared for the task at hand. "I'm a practical problem solver and I think my skills are suited for this position. Not only my networking personality, but my understanding that some issues are appropriate for policy and others are really left to personal responsibility," said Gillan.
One of Gillan's big projects is getting as many people in her region, which includes Wyoming, the Dakotas, Utah, Montana and Colorado, covered under the Affordable Health Care Act. According to Gillan, 93 percent of Wyoming residents would qualify for financial assistance under the ACA. She said she was pleased to see that 39% of the nearly 12,000 that enrolled last year were under the age of 35.
Gillan said her experiences in Montana and rural areas help her identify with the health care needs of the people in her region. "As we all know, healthy workers translates into a healthy economy and in our rural areas that's important."