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Citizen Advocates CEO joins rural health council


James D. Button, Chief Executive Officer of Citizen Advocates, was recently appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to the New York State Rural Health Council.

“I am both honored and humbled to be entrusted with this opportunity,” said Mr. Button.  “This gives Citizen Advocates and those we support a crucial seat at the table to advocate for the unique and urgent healthcare needs of North Country communities.”

James Button, Citizen Advocates' Chief Executive Officer
James D. Button, CEO

“Citizen Advocates has long been a leader for person-centered, health and human services with a focus on vulnerable populations in underserved communities” said Nicholas Eells, President of the Citizen Advocates Board of Directors. “We are exceptionally proud to add our voice to the important conversations influencing healthcare policy in the rural communities we serve.”

Prior to becoming CEO, Mr. Button served as Chief Operating Officer at Citizen Advocates.  In addition, he held progressive leadership positions as the Director of Corporate Compliance and Quality Assurance, Children’s Residential Coordinator at the Adirondack Youth Lodge and various Community Support Services roles throughout the organization.

He also has a deep passion for public policy, which he pursued as Behavioral Health Initiatives Director for the New York State Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors in Albany.  During his time in this role, Mr. Button was responsible for overseeing a statewide regional planning initiative aimed at preparing providers for the move to value-based care. He also served as a key liaison between the respective regions and State healthcare executives.

This experience provided him with valuable knowledge of the community-based behavioral health industry, which is also an important perspective for his seat on the Rural Health Council.

The state Rural Health Council makes recommendations to the state Department of Health on such issues as the financial viability of rural hospitals, the changing healthcare environment and its impact on rural health delivery; recruitment and retention of healthcare providers in rural communities and rural health networks as contributors to the health of the communities they serve.

The state Rural Health Council was made permanent by legislation in 2017, which was signed into law by Gov. Cuomo.  Mr. Button was notified of his appointment to the council in a formal letter from the governor on June 1.