December 12, 2017
Readout of Acting HHS Secretary Hargan Holds High-Level Opioids Meeting
On Tuesday, December 12, Health and Human Services (HHS) Acting Secretary Eric D. Hargan held an unprecedented meeting with leaders from across the healthcare and human services components of HHS to discuss strategies for addressing America’s opioid crisis.
Following HHS’s declaration, at President Trump’s direction, of a historic nationwide public health emergency regarding the crisis, the meeting encouraged a new level of discussion and cooperation among key leaders of HHS’s divisions.
Acting Secretary Hargan offered opening remarks highlighting the dedication HHS has shown in response to President Trump’s call to action on the crisis. Leaders of operating divisions and staff divisions of HHS then shared updates on their work and their future plans for coordinating across the department.
Principals attending the meeting included:
Eric D. Hargan, Acting Secretary and Deputy Secretary;
Elinore F. McCance-Katz, M.D., Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use;
Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
Francis Collins, M.D., Director of the National Institutes of Health;
Scott Gottlieb, M.D., Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration;
Seema Verma, Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services;
George Sigounas, Administrator, Health Resources and Service Administration;
RADM Michael Weahkee, Acting Director, Indian Health Service;
Gopal Khanna, Director, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality;
Mary Lazare, Principal Deputy Administrator, Administration for Community Living;
VADM Jerome Adams, U.S. Surgeon General;
Don Wright, M.D., Acting Assistant Secretary for Health;
Roger Severino, Director, Office of Civil Rights;
Daniel Levinson, Inspector General;
Donald Rucker, M.D., National Coordinator for Health Information Technology; and
Bruce Greenstein, Chief Technology Officer
Discussion was organized around HHS’s comprehensive five-point strategy to combat the opioid crisis:
- Better prevention, treatment, and recovery services
- Better targeting of overdose-reversing drugs
- Better data on the epidemic
- Better research on pain and addiction
- Better pain management
To conclude the meeting, Acting Secretary Hargan thanked the HHS leaders and all HHS staff for their work, reiterated the President’s commitment to fighting the opioid crisis, and shared plans for ongoing regular meetings in the new year.