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Department of Health and Human Services
October 18, 2012

The Department of Health and Human Services, also referred to as the Health Department, is the United States federal department and principal agency for protecting the health and welfare of all Americans; created in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officially opened on 4 May 1980 after it was removed from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW). Attached were four major operating agencies of HHS: the Office of Human Development Services, the Public Health Service, HCFA, and the Social Security Administration (SSA). The major events during the 1980s at HHS ...view middle of the document...

Regardless of the presidents' attempts to highlight different issues at different times, it remained true that the HHS was the agency of the government responsible for federal policy in an incomprehensible number of areas. From curing and caring for the individuals affected by AIDS and leading public health campaigns to dissuade people from smoking, to conserving the health insurance rights of disabled Americans, accessing the risk of cancer from preservatives to the nation's food supply, and assuring the long range comfort of the Medicare program. In fiscal year 2002, HHS operated through eleven divisions, employed 65,000 people, and had a budget of $460 billion. Its major responsibilities included administering Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, and the Medicare and Medicaid health care programs that reached about one in every four Americans. In fiscal year 2008, HHS had a budget of $707.7 billion and employed 64,750. The HHS programs provide for equitable treatment of beneficiaries nationwide, and they enable the collection of national health and other data. HHS represents almost a quarter of all federal outlays, and it administers more grant dollars than all other federal agencies combined. The HHS' Medicare program is the nation's largest health insurer, handling more than one billion claims per year.

HHS works closely with state and local governments, and many HHS-funded services are provided at the local level by state or county agencies, or through private sector grantees. HHS is managed by 11 operating divisions, to include eight agencies in the U.S. Public Health Service and three human services agencies. The department includes more than 300 programs, covering a wide spectrum of activities. In addition to the services they deliver, the HHS programs provide for reasonable treatment of beneficiaries nationwide, and they permit the collection of national health and other data.
The Office of Human Resources provided strategic leadership in the assessment and development of the DHHS program and policies. OHR serves as the Department’s connection to central management agencies, which provide operational and consultative services in support of the Department’s operating and staff divisions. HHS is responsible for implementing many of the health reform changes included in the Affordable Care Act. HHS strengthens and modernizes health care to improve the outcome of patients, ensuring patient safety, encouraging shared responsibility, and working toward high-value health care. HHS also is improving quality health care for uninsured, underserved, older, and special needs populations. These reforms and the resulting improvements in the care provided on a day-to-day basis will improve our foundation for emergency preparedness.  Firmer health care will increase our Nation’s ability to provide extra medical care capacity when needed. Individuals...

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