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TRENTON – Commissioner Jennifer Velez today filled several key vacancies in her top management team, appointing an Assistant Commissioner and Deputy Director of the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), a Medical Director at the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (DMAHS) and Director of the Division of Disability Services (DDS).Lynn A. Kovich, M.Ed., Raquel Mazon Jeffers, Dr. Tom Lind and Joseph Amoroso, respectively, were named after extensive recruitment efforts were conducted. All but Dr. Lind already were working for the department.
“The coming fiscal year has many new and challenging initiatives proposed that will require the skill and expertise these individuals possess,” said Commissioner Velez. “I welcome each to their new role, confident we will benefit from their proven leadership and vision.”
Lynn Kovich joins DMAHS after working as the Director of Housing in the Division of Developmental Disabilities. Prior to her tenure there, she was the Director of Human Services in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. Previous to that, Ms. Kovich was the Vice President for ten years of Alternatives, Inc in Raritan, NJ – a non-profit service agency for homeless individuals and people with mental illness or developmental disabilities.
“This role is an incredible opportunity during a truly formative time at the Division,” said Ms. Kovich, referring to the newly merged division. “I look forward to working with stakeholders, staff and consumers to integrate the behavioral health services system.”
As Assistant Commissioner, Ms. Kovich will oversee a division that serves over 250,000 people annually, a budget that exceeds $900 million, employs over 5,000 people, and operates five psychiatric hospitals.
Raquel Mazon Jeffers, the current Director of Addiction Services has been appointed to the position of Deputy Director for the newly merged Division, which greatly expands her existing leadership role and responsibilities to include integrated care for mental health and substance use disorder initiatives.
Valerie Larosiliere, who served as Acting Assistant Commissioner of Mental Health Services will remain with the merged Division as an Assistant Director, with a primary focus on Olmstead development and quality assurance in community and hospital settings.
“The complex merger of the Divisions over the course of this past year is a direct result of the successful collaboration among Raquel, Val and their staffs,” said Commissioner Velez.  “Both are accomplished managers who will continue to advance the Division’s transition progress.” 
Thomas Lind, M.D., F.A.A.P, a Board Certified Pediatrician came to Medicaid from his position as Medical Director with the Camden City School Based Youth Services Program in collaboration with the Continuum Health Alliance, LLC.  Dr. Lind will provide leadership to Medicaid’s clinical staff and provide guidance on medical policy as it relates to medical homes, Accountable Care Organizations and Medicaid managed care.
Joseph Amoroso has served as acting director at DDS since August 2010, following the retirement of William A. B. Ditto. He joined the division in August 1999.
Mr. Amoroso is responsible for the daily operations at the Division, which serves as a central point of entry for people with disabilities providing information and referral services, administering the New Jersey Medicaid personal assistant services program, three home and community-based Medicaid waiver programs, the NJ Traumatic Brain Injury Fund and three grant-funded projects.  The division has an annual budget in excess of $350 million and serves about 42,000 individuals a month through a variety of programs.
“Joe brings leadership, expert knowledge and personal commitment to this role. We’re thrilled now to have him serve as Director in a permanent capacity,” said Velez.
DHS has filled other key leadership positions over the several weeks, including:
 Roger Borichewski as Assistant Director of Community Services for the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
 Elena Flynn as Director of Legal and Regulatory Affairs for DHS’ Central Office.
 Richard Hurd as Assistant Director of the Office of Research Quality Control and Contract Compliance at the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services.
 Tom Jordan as Chief Information Officer at the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services.
 John Whitenack as Assistant Director of Hospital Management with the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
 John Zajac as Assistant Director of Compliance for the Division of Family Development.
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