Office of the Secretary

Topics on this page: Summary of Activities that Continue | Summary of Contingency Staffing Plan

Summary of Activities that Continue

The Office of the Secretary reports the contingency staffing numbers for 15 Staff Divisions and the Program Support Center. In the event of a lapse in appropriation, excepted staff in the Immediate Office of the Secretary would continue to provide leadership and key support staff to ensure Department operations and national security related activities continue; the Intergovernmental and External Affairs Regional Directors will continue to support working partners in the regions; the Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources' budget and grants staff will continue to support the Department's fully funded programs and will assist with orderly phase down of operations.

Summary of Contingency Staffing Plan

In the event of a lapse in appropriation 5,897 (68%) of OS staff will be retained, including 3,633 (50%) who are exempt (their activities or position are already funded or otherwise exempted) and 662 (11%) who are excepted (their activities are deemed necessary by implication, or for the safety of human life or protection of property).

Exempt Staff:

A total of 3,633 (50%) OS staff will be exempt. Exempt OS staff includes eight HHS Officers appointed by the President and 2,971 staff who support activities that have funding available during a lapse in appropriations.

The activities which will continue due to available funding include OIG's oversight activities, MHA case adjudication; OCR HIPAA related investigations, and OGA's support of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief initiative. DAB will continue to provide administrative hearings and appeals and Center for Tobacco Products decisions, Federal Food, Drugs, and Cosmetic, and OS will continue Patient Centered Outcomes Research and the Physician's Technical Advisory Committee activities. ASA will continue activities to support information technology and other Department-wide coordination support, and both ASA and OIG staff will be retained to maintain computers and data, specifically those in support of COVID-19 activities.

Excepted Staff:

A total of 662 (11%) OS staff are considered excepted and can legally continue their activities in the absence of appropriations. These staff fall into three categories; 1) those whose work is necessary for the safety of human life, 2) those whose work is necessary for the protection of property, and 3) those whose work is "necessarily implied" from the authorized continuation of other activities or the need to phase down and suspend operations.

In addition to OS exempt staff supporting Department operations and national security related activities, the Office of the General Counsel would provide legal support and the Program Support Center would continue to process payments and transfers to ensure fully funded programs continue operations and that funded entitlements are paid.

OASH will have 83 (22%) staff to support COVID-19 activities. Of the individuals required for an orderly phase-down and suspension of operations, three staff are critical to ensure the continued operations and management of OASH's COVID-19 supplemental funding and corresponding work.

OS has 110 Public Health Service Commissioned Corps Officers who will continue working under this exception.

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