Governor Announces Transition For Public Health
Gov. Greg Gianforte has announced that Charlie Brereton will succeed Adam Meier in leading the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. Meier will transition out of his role as director of DPHHS on Aug. 12 due to an ongoing family health issue.
“Adam’s expertise, leadership, and heart for public service have been outstanding assets to our administration and the people of Montana,” Gianforte said. “Under Adam’s leadership, DPHHS has closed critical gaps in treatment for Montanans struggling with addiction, reorganized itself to better serve the people of Montana, and promoted the role of parents as the ultimate decision makers on matters pertaining to the health of their children — all while leading the state’s response to a global pandemic. I appreciate his many contributions and innovative ideas.”
Assuming the role of director in February 2021, Meier helped advance some of the governor’s top priorities, including expanding substance use disorder and mental health treatment services, kicking off a long overdue assessment and overhaul of state-run facilities, comprehensively assessing provider rates to address significant gaps in Montana’s continuum of care, implementing reforms to better support DPHHS’ workforce, and bringing a culture of customer service to the agency.
While helping lead the state’s response to the pandemic, Meier was instrumental in the implementation of HB 702, the nation’s first and most comprehensive law prohibiting discrimination based on vaccination status.
“I am grateful to Gov. Gianforte for the opportunity to lead an amazing team of dedicated public servants working to improve service to Montana’s most vulnerable populations,” Meier said. “Despite navigating many challenges, I am proud of what we’ve accomplished during the first 18 months of the Gianforte administration. DPHHS is well positioned to continue addressing issues that have long plagued the health and human services ecosystem here in Montana. While this is an unexpected turn in my tenure as director, I have the utmost confidence that our progress will continue under Charlie’s leadership.”
The governor tapped Charlie Brereton, DPHHS chief of staff and his health care policy advisor, to succeed Meier.
“Adam’s right hand and my trusted health policy advisor in the governor’s office for the last 18 months, Charlie will make an exceptional director of our state’s largest agency,” Gianforte said. “Charlie has a knack for leadership and a superior ability to develop relationships, building consensus on complex issues. I look forward to continuing to benefit from his expertise, counsel, and hard work in this new role.”
Since January 2021, Brereton has served as the governor’s chief counselor on matters related to health and human services, in close coordination with Director Meier and DPHHS leadership. In December 2021, Brereton joined DPHHS as chief of staff, where he was second in command and continued to serve as the governor’s lead on health and human services policy.
“It’s an honor to serve the people of Montana as director of DPHHS and build upon the progress we’ve made to efficiently and effectively serve Montanans, expand their access to high-quality, affordable health care, and promote their health, well-being, self-reliance, and freedoms,” Brereton said. “Our work has only begun, and I look forward to driving the administration’s health and human services objectives alongside our dedicated team at the department.”
Prior to joining the governor’s office, Brereton worked for several members of Congress and specialized in national health care matters. Most recently, he served on a select health policy team for Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who chaired the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Brereton also served as a public policy advisor in the health care practice of global law firm Squire Patton Boggs LLP. Brereton holds a Bachelor of Arts from George Washington University.