Gov. Kasich appoints Hodges as Ohio Health Department director

By MARC KOVAC @ohiocapitalblog Published:

COLUMBUS -- Gov. John Kasich has named a former state lawmaker from northwestern Ohio and the current head of the Ohio Turnpike as the next director of the Ohio Department of Health.

Rick Hodges, who represented a Fulton County-area district in the Ohio House in the 1990s, will take the place of Ted Wymyslo, who resigned in February to return to private practice.

Kasich also named Mary Applegate as interim medical director of the state health department. She currently serves as medical director for the state's Medicaid department.

Both will start in their new positions on Aug. 11.

The governor touted Hodges' management of the turnpike and senior posts in other organizations.

"Ohio's public health responsibilities cover a wide range of complex issues, requiring a team of people with a rare mix of skills," Kasich said in a released statement. "With his proven management ability, Rick is well prepared to lead the department to carry out its mission, and Dr. Applegate's medical expertise will allow her to support Rick by focusing on medical issues and assisting him in recruiting an expert clinical team."

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