University of Vermont

Department of Vermont Health Access Names Thomas Simpatico Chief Medical Officer

Thomas Simpatico
Professor of Psychiatry and Director of Public Psychiatry Thomas Simpatico, M.D. (Photo by Raj Chawla, UVM Medical Photography)

The Department of Vermont Health Access (DVHA) announced on July 17, 2013 that Thomas A. Simpatico, M.D. has been named Chief Medical Officer.  As Chief Medical Officer, Simpatico will provide strategic medical leadership related to the Department’s clinical policies and practices and serve as a liaison for the Department to health care providers and other State partners.  He will also play a key role in ensuring that Vermonters receiving health coverage through Vermont’s public health coverage program receive necessary care consistent with the best available clinical guidelines.

Simpatico has an extensive history of leadership in innovative reform of health care delivery systems. Board-certified in psychiatry and neurology, he is professor of psychiatry and director of the division of public psychiatry at the University of Vermont (UVM) College of Medicine. He also serves as medical director at Pathways to Housing Vermont; director of psychiatric service, Correct Care Solutions (a healthcare contractor for the Vermont Department of Corrections); and director of the Human Services Integration Unit at the UVM Center for Clinical & Translational Science, all positions he has held since 2010. In these roles, he has responsibility for developing and implementing innovative public health services in conjunction with the UVM Center for Clinical & Translational Science, developing a statewide model to address homelessness among people with psychiatric disabilities, served as a conduit to improve behavioral health care for persons living in and transitioning out of corrections, and created effective systems for providing mental health and substance abuse to change public policy to better support best practices of mental health services.

“Dr. Simpatico shares an enthusiastic commitment to improving health outcomes for Vermonters through thoughtful reforms and partnerships with health care providers.” said Mark Larson, Commissioner of DVHA, “He has a proven track record of leadership in health care reform efforts.  We are extremely fortunate to have Dr. Simpatico join our Department.”

DVHA provides healthcare coverage for over 170,000 Vermonters, and, as the only publicly-run statewide managed care organization in the country, plays an innovative role in Vermont healthcare reform and in improving health outcomes for its citizens. Simpatico has been on the faculty of the UVM College of Medicine since 2004, and since 2012 has been serving as DVHA interim medical director. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and in 2007 served as president of the Vermont Psychiatric Association. In 2010, he received the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. He earned his undergraduate and medical degrees at St. Peter’s College in New Jersey and Rush Medical College in Chicago, followed by an internship in internal medicine and a psychiatry residency at the University of Chicago. Prior to coming to Vermont he was associate professor of psychiatry & behavioral sciences at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

(This article was adapted from a news release produced by the Department of Vermont Health Access.)