Health and Human Services streamlines management functions

Carrying through on the president's mandate to create a "citizen-centered" government, the Department of Health and Human Services is consolidating a number of management functions. Through its so-called One Department Initiative, detailed in the 2003 budget proposal, HHS plans to eliminate what officials deem redundant and unnecessary layers of bureaucracy. "HHS today has 40 different human resources offices, all of which conduct independent-and often competing-recruitment, hiring, and training activities," according to the budget document. "In 2003, that number will be cut to four, as HHS consolidates personnel matters into offices in Baltimore, Rockville, and Bethesda, Md., and Atlanta, Ga. Such a consolidation will not be pain-free for HHS' 13 agencies, some HR officials said. Officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, for instance, worry about being stretched too thin. To consolidate human resources functions with the department, CMS has to reconfigure its computer systems. Doing so requires shifting resources from other high-priority projects, including the modernization of Medicare's mission-critical computer systems and putting in place new payment systems. HHS spokesman William Pierce said the department will work with its agencies to strike a balance between department mandates and other projects. The ultimate goal, he said, is the help the department think more strategically about its human resources needs. The One Department Initiative will also centralize all public and legislative affairs offices. Currently, HHS has more than 50 public affairs offices and 20 legislative affairs offices. At the National Institutes of Health, for example, each of the 27 institutes and centers has its own communications staff. According to Pierce, there is little accountability for public affairs. Agencies do not report directly to the main HHS public affairs office. Consolidating public affairs, he said, will ensure that the department speaks with one voice. The department will also look for ways to combine publications and public relations contracts. Within the agencies, there is some concern that the approach will stifle creative approaches for reaching out to various audiences, including Medicare beneficiaries and medical researchers. "Our goal is not to impose on the operating divisions, but to work with them and create something that works for them," said Pierce. HHS also plans to consolidate capital planning. Currently, the agency does not have department-wide performance measure for maintaining its facilities. "As a result, construction projects often get selected for reasons other than merit, including congressional earmarks," the budget stated. To rectify the situation, HHS hopes to create a framework for prioritizing all capital projects and developing measurable goals.
Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.