New Director of San Diego HHS Department Receives ‘Mixed Reviews’
Rodger Lum, the newly appointed director of San Diego County's Health and Human Services Agency, has received "mixed reviews" for his performance during his tenure as head of Alameda County's Social Services Agency, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Lum, who also spent four years as assistant director of Alameda County's health department, "has a solid reputation statewide as a human services leader and manager," according to Dr. Robert Ross, San Diego's former HHS director. Lum is credited with establishing the "Self-Sufficiency Center," a welfare office that helps clients leave welfare. The Union-Tribune predicts that Lum's move to San Diego County might result in such centers "popping up" in area communities. Ross said, "Alameda County has a strong history as a progressive, cutting-edge health and human services county, and this will be a strong plus for San Diego County." However, Lum has been criticized for failing to "crack down on welfare fraud." Gail Steele, head of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors' social services committee, said she had to "get after" Lum to address the problem, which "he fixed ... finally." In addition, Lum has been criticized for not reducing social workers' "unmanageably high caseloads." Steele said, "I think he's had a hard job ... I don't see any perfect directors anywhere. You just have people who do the best they can." Lum, who said he deals with "more complex problems in a more holistic fashion," begins as San Diego County's health and human services director on Feb. 12 (Rother, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/28).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.