Department of Health and Human Services

Donna E. Shalala, Secretary

Mission Statement

The responsibility of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is to protect and promote the health, social, and economic well-being of all Americans and, in particular, those least able to help themselves -- children, the elderly, persons with disabilities, and the disadvantaged -- by helping them and their families develop and maintain healthy, productive, and independent lives.

Summary Budget Information

FY 1993 (Actual)* FY 1996 (Budgeted)
Budget Staff Budget Staff
$591.000 billion 130,366 $325.000 billion 58,924
*Of this amount, $329 billion and 65,386 full-time equivalents were for the Social Security Administration (SSA), which became an independent agency in 1995. The comparable figures for HHS exclusive of SSA in fiscal year 1993 would be $262 billion in budget and 64,980 staff.

Reinvention Highlights

When we came to the Department of Health and Human Services more than three years ago, we made a commitment: we would make bold changes to serve the American people better with fewer resources. Together, we are making good on that promise.

With a powerful combination of courage, creativity, and common sense, our employees are finding new ways to prevent illness, cure diseases, and get new medicines and medical devices to the people who need them. We're forging new partnerships to provide health, social, and community services to all Americans -- from children to seniors, and from families to disabled citizens. We're cracking down on health care fraud and abuse, slamming the door on those who would defraud their government, and saving millions of dollars for the American taxpayers. We're reining in the costs of our health care programs, while providing better services to those citizens who rely upon our Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act for their care. And we are doing all of this with fewer people and fewer layers of management.

Reforming Food and Drug Regulations. There are historic changes taking place at the Food and Drug Administration. The truth is, drug companies and medical device manufacturers are right to expect faster turnaround times. Researchers are right to expect less paperwork and better service. People afflicted with life-threatening diseases are right to expect expedited approval and improved access to potentially helpful therapies. And that's what we've worked to do. From 1987 to 1995, we slashed the average approval time for new drugs in half. We've virtually eliminated the backlog of routine medical device applications -- and our review times for them keep getting faster and faster. We're changing the way we approve cancer drugs, eliminating burdensome regulations, and ensuring that our citizens get the therapies they need -- when they need them.

In the last three years alone, we've approved 13 new drugs to combat AIDS and HIV infection, including three extremely promising anti-retroviral drugs called protease inhibitors -- all of which were approved in record time.

In fact, it seems that every month, we set another speed record for approving an AIDS drug, including a recent approval that took just 42 days. It has been estimated that the United States is now two years ahead of the European countries in our approval of new AIDS drugs.

To make these historic changes, we didn't just hire consultants or issue reports. We talked to our partners and our customers. We consulted with patients and advocacy groups, with representatives of the pharmaceutical industry, physicians, and researchers. We asked them what works and what doesn't. And we implemented bold new strategies that cut red tape without undermining our commitment to the health and well-being of the American public. That's the same common-sense approach that we're using throughout our Department.

Creating Partnerships and Providing Flexibility. We're changing the way we do business with all our partners, guaranteeing unprecedented flexibility, but demanding accountability for our citizens in return. For example, under waivers the Administration has approved, more than 40 states are experimenting with innovative welfare reforms that are requiring work, rewarding marriage, demanding responsibility, providing child care, and cracking down on child support enforcement. Today, welfare caseloads are down. Child support enforcement is up. And 10 million Americans are involved in welfare reform plans throughout the country -- that's about 75 percent of Aid to Families With Dependent Children recipients.

It's the same throughout our Department. Whether it is operating drug abuse prevention and treatment programs, finding a cure for a rare disease, providing a hot meal for a homebound senior, teaching young Head Start children how to play and learn, or providing health care in underserved areas, we are changing the rules and the role of the federal government so our partners spend less time filling out forms and more time helping the people they serve.

We are also working closely with health care providers and intermediaries to improve service to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. Together, we are listening to our customers and making changes to meet their needs better. We are making our rules and forms easier to understand, and we are finding innovative ways to get out important information about preventive services, like flu shots and mammograms, that are covered under Medicare.

Battling Health Care Fraud. As we continue to improve Medicare services and protect the Medicare Trust Funds, we are saving precious resources by cracking down on health care fraud. To do that, the President created a pilot program to focus our efforts in five key states. It's called Operation Restore Trust. In just one year, it has helped us save more than $42 million for the American taxpayers -- that's $10 saved for every $1 spent.

Operation Restore Trust works. It makes sense. And the health care reform bill expands it to every state in America. At the same time, we're working to bring health care information into the 21st century -- and into our citizens' homes and lives. Through the Internet and the World Wide Web, the HHS home page can connect you to the Older Americans Act aging network for social services for the elderly; medical information from the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health; consumer information about Medicare and Medicaid; cutting-edge information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about how to get healthy and stay healthy; and much, much more.

Reorganizing the Department. It's all part of our efforts to create a Department that works better and works smarter -- with fewer layers of management and fewer people. For example, in implementing the Vice President's reinventing government program, we streamlined the structure of HHS by merging some of our operations and eliminating entire management layers. And as part of the President's plan to shrink the size of the federal government dramatically, we reduced our staff by nearly 3,300 positions -- a full 5 percent -- between 1994 and 1995 alone. To meet the President's overall goals, we committed ourselves to a seven-year "right sizing" plan that will reduce the Department's personnel by 7,000 positions (from the 1993 level) by the year 2000. We are a full year ahead of schedule.

In the three years since the first reinventing government report, we have worked hard and met many of our goals. But we still have a long way to go. I know that, working together, we can and will create a Department of Health and Human Services -- and a federal government -- that always watches the bottom line and delivers excellence in everything we do.


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