Penrose Hired as County Medical Director

Washtenaw County commissioners authorized the hiring of Alice Penrose as the county’s public health medical director, effective July 30 at a salary of $130,000. The position is currently vacant, and those state-mandated services are being provided under contract with the Oakland County medical director, Pamela Hackert. Both Penrose and Hackert attended the board’s June 6, 2012 meeting, when the board voted on this item.

The previous medical director, Monique Reeves, had been appointed by the board just a year ago at the June 1, 2011 board meeting, with a salary of $125,000. Reeves tendered her resignation in a letter dated March 15, 2012 and effective April 13. In the letter, which did not indicate her reason for resigning, Reeves states: ”It was my distinct privilege to serve the citizens of Washtenaw County during my brief tenure. Although it was my sincerest hope that things would have worked out differently, I believe that an amicable parting of the ways is the best course of action at this juncture.” [.pdf of resignation letter]

Responding to a query from The Chronicle, county administrator Verna McDaniel said the decision by Reeves to resign had been a “sad loss for us.” She described Reeves as a visionary, and drew an analogy to speed limits, saying that the public health department had a 45 mile an hour speed limit, while Reeves needed to drive at 80 miles an hour.

Under the Michigan Public Health Code (Public Act 368 of 1978), Medicare services provided by the county – including immunizations and the maternal infant health program – require that a licensed medical doctor on staff bill Medicare, via the state, for reimbursement. Penrose is a licensed physician in the State of Michigan, with a medical degree and a masters degree in public health. She is board certified in preventive medicine and internal medicine. She most recently has served as a primary care practitioner at the Packard Health clinic in Ann Arbor. [.pdf of Alice Penrose's resumé]

This brief was filed from the boardroom of the county administration building, 220 N. Main in Ann Arbor. A more detailed report will follow: [link]