Fmr. Hospital Exec. To Lead WV Dept. Of Health And Human Resources

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A former hospital executive will soon head West Virginia's Department of Health and Human Resources.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin named Karen Bowling on Wednesday to his Cabinet effective July 1.

The appointment follows an in-depth audit that recommended dozens of reforms and improvements for the sprawling health department.

Bowling also arrives on the heels of the governor's decision to expand Medicaid.

The Beckley resident was chief executive at Raleigh General Hospital from 2002 until 2010. She chaired the West Virginia Hospital Association during that tenure.

More recently, Bowling has helped the University of Charleston take over health programs from the now-closed Mountain State University.

Bowling takes over from acting Secretary Rocco Fucillo. The Legislature recently agreed to nearly double the health secretary's salary from $95,000 a year to $175,000.