The mission of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is to enhance the health and well-being of Americans by providing for effective health and human services and by fostering sound, sustained advances in the sciences underlying medicine, public health, and social services.
HHS accomplishes its mission through several hundred programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving the American public at every stage of life.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the United States government’s principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves. HHS is responsible for almost a quarter of all Federal expenditures and administers more grant dollars than all other Federal agencies combined.
Eleven operating divisions, including eight agencies in the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) and three human service agencies, administer HHS’s programs. In addition, staff divisions provide leadership, direction, and policy and management guidance to the Department. Appendix A of the HHS Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2010–15 (Strategic Plan) describes HHS operating and staff divisions and their primary functions. Appendix A also provides descriptions of these offices as well as an organizational chart.
Working with Other Governmental, Nongovernmental, and Private Partners
Through its programming and other activities, HHS works closely with state, local, and U.S. territorial governments. The Federal Government has a unique legal and political government-to-government relationship with tribal governments and a special obligation to provide services for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) based on these individuals’ relationship to tribal governments. HHS works with tribal governments and with urban Indian and other organizations to facilitate greater consultation and coordination between state and tribal governments on health and human services.
HHS also has strong partnerships with the private sector and nongovernmental organizations. The Department works with partners in the private sector, such as regulated industries, academic institutions, trade organizations, and advocacy groups. The Department recognizes that leveraging resources from organizations and individuals with shared interests allows HHS to accomplish its mission in ways that are the least burdensome and most beneficial to the American public. Grantees in the private sector, such as academic institutions and faith-based and neighborhood partnerships, provide many HHS-funded services at the local level. HHS also works closely with other Federal departments and international partners to coordinate its efforts to ensure the maximum impact for the public.
Strategic Plan Development
Every 4 years, HHS updates its strategic plan, which describes its work to address complex, multifaceted, and ever-evolving health and human service issues. An agency strategic plan is one of three main elements required by the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993 (Public Law 103–62) and the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (PL 111-352). An agency strategic plan defines its missions, goals, and the means by which it will measure its progress in addressing specific national problems, needs, or mission-related challenges over at least 5 years.
Each of the Department’s operating and staff divisions contributed to the development of the Strategic Plan, as reflected in goals, objectives, strategies, evaluations, and performance indicators. The process emphasized creating alignment between the long-range Strategic Plan and annual GPRA reporting in the Department’s Congressional Budget Justifications and the Summary of Performance and Financial Information, which together, fulfill HHS’s GPRA annual performance reporting requirements. This Strategic Plan also aligns goals and objectives with priorities of the Administration and the HHS Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, as well as with departmental and agency priorities.
In developing and selecting performance measures, HHS included broad health and human service impact measures as well as more intermediate processes and outcomes that have contributed to the achievement of long-term outcomes. As part of this process, HHS has developed an array of meaningful measures to track the new priorities and activities of the groundbreaking Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act) (Public Law 111-148). This historic legislation provides an exciting performance management opportunity for HHS, and HHS is committed to using these measures to monitor our progress and to ensure that the promise of the Affordable Care Act is fulfilled for the American people.
HHS personnel regularly monitor more than a thousand performance measures to examine effectiveness and to improve program processes. This Strategic Plan includes a selection of important milestones and broad outcomes and provides links to full sets of performance measures to demonstrate progress.
Among the performance measures monitored by the Department are several measures that support the Department’s High Priority Performance Goals. These goals, established with the President’s FY 2010 budget request, are a set of ambitious, but realistic, performance objectives that the Department will accomplish by the end of FY 2012. The HHS High Priority Performance Goals support, and are aligned with, the goals and objectives in the Strategic Plan (for more information, visit www.performance.gov).
Using the Web to Present and Track Progress
For the period FY 2010–15, HHS is publishing its Strategic Plan in HTML format, which will be updated periodically to reflect the Department’s strategies, actions, and progress toward its goals. Appendix D provides an overview of updates to the HHS Strategic Plan since its publication in 2010. This version of the Strategic Plan, rather than focusing on a static set of performance measures, will provide priorities, accomplishments, and next steps that will be tracked and updated frequently, reinforcing the Strategic Plan’s function as a living, vital document that serves a genuine management purpose.
The Obama administration is advancing the concept of Open Government to establish a system of transparency, collaboration, and public participation. In support of that goal, the Strategic Plan will be posted on the HHS Web site and provide links to the array of programs and initiatives that HHS will undertake in the next 5 years. As a result, HHS, its stakeholders, and the broader public will have access to the most current information possible.
Consultation with the Congress and External Parties
Under GPRA, Federal agencies are required to consult with the Congress and to solicit and consider the views of external parties. To comply with this mandate, HHS consulted widely with stakeholders to garner input on the Strategic Plan. HHS invited public comment on the Strategic Plan through the HHS Open Government Web site (http://www.hhs.gov/open). To this end, HHS published a Notice of Availability on the Strategic Plan public comment period in the Federal Register. HHS also sought input from the Congress and the OMB.
Nearly three hundred comments were received during the public comment period—the vast majority (245) through the Open Government Web site. The remaining comments were received by e-mail and fax. Comments came from individuals and organizations. Input ranged from editorial suggestions to more substantive comments, and in response, HHS incorporated many changes and additions into the final plan.
Organization of This Publication
Chapters 1 through 5 present the five strategic goals:
Goal 1: Strengthen Health Care
Goal 2: Advance Scientific Knowledge and Innovation
Goal 3: Advance the Health, Safety, and Well-Being of the American People
Goal 4: Increase Efficiency, Transparency, and Accountability of HHS Programs
Goal 5: Strengthen the Nation’s Health and Human Services Infrastructure and Workforce
Each chapter on a specific goal presents strategic goals and objectives for the major functions of HHS. Primary strategies for accomplishing HHS’s goals are presented by goal and objective.
Although the goals and objectives presented in the Strategic Plan exist as separate sections, they are interrelated, and successful achievement of one goal or objective can impact the success of others. Research, evaluation, and innovation (described in Goal 2) are essential for a strong system of health, public health, and human services (in Goals 1 and 3). Program integrity and a strong workforce (in Goals 4 and 5) are essential to promote health and well-being.
Select objectives also provide links to initiatives (Strategic Initiatives) that have been identified by the Secretary as key for advancing the Department’s mission.
Appendix B provides a set of performance measures for each objective that will be monitored for the Strategic Plan. And finally, Appendix C lists acronyms presented in this publication. As previously mentioned, Appendix D provides an overview of updates to the HHS Strategic Plan since its publication in 2010. Appendix E provides a list of Priority Goals selected by the Department.
The Strategic Plan includes a description of program evaluations used to establish or revise strategic goals. Moreover, the Strategic Plan discusses planned evaluations and narratives on how they relate to agency decision-making on programs and operations.
Evaluations are integral to the HHS mission. HHS conducts high-quality program evaluations to learn more about the effectiveness of interventions; the Department uses the findings to improve program performance and operations as well as to identify and promote evidence-based programs and practice. These comprehensive studies are an important component of the HHS strategy to improve overall effectiveness; they assess which programs are effective, well designed, and well managed. Each goal chapter describes how these evaluations contributed to the development of goals and objectives.
HHS coordinates evaluation planning with other Departmentwide planning activities. Completed evaluation studies help programs determine the means and strategies they will use to achieve HHS strategic goals and objectives. Program evaluations also may identify data that can be used to measure program performance. HHS divisions use findings from their evaluations to support GPRA annual performance reporting to the Congress and program budget justifications across HHS programs. Evaluation findings provide key sources of information and evidence about the success of programs and interventions.
External Risk Factors
GPRA also requires “identification of those key factors external to the agency and beyond its control that could significantly affect the achievement of the strategic goals.” HHS agencies and offices have identified a number of economic, demographic, social, and environmental risk factors; these factors are included in the narratives at the beginning of each goal chapter. These risks include changing demographics in the general population and in the health, public health, and human services workforce; increased demand for services; and challenging fiscal conditions at the state and local levels.
An Opportunity to Highlight New and Planned Administration Initiatives and Agency Operations
HHS welcomes this opportunity to update its Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2010–15 to highlight new initiatives advanced through the Obama administration, which have significant impacts on health care, public health, human services, and research.
New efforts are aligning Federal departments with external stakeholders and ensuring openness and transparency of Government operations. The chapters that follow provide an overview of the significant work HHS plans to undertake in the coming 5 years as well as links to additional detail on these efforts.
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