United States Department of Health and Human Services

United States Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Health and Human Services
Official seal
HHS Logo
DHHS2 by Matthew Bisanz.JPG
DHHS headquarters in Washington, D.C. an example of Brutalist architecture
Department overview
Formed April 11, 1953
May 4, 1980
Preceding Department United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
Jurisdiction Federal government of the United States
Headquarters Hubert H. Humphrey Building, Washington, D.C.
Employees 67,000 (2004)
Annual budget $78.4 billion (2010)[1]
Department executives Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary
Bill Corr, Deputy Secretary
Child Department HHS agencies

The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is a Cabinet department of the United States government with the goal of protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services. Its motto is "Improving the health, safety, and well-being of America". Before the separate federal Department of Education was created in 1979, it was called the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW).



President Harding proposed a Department of Education and Welfare as early as 1923, and similar proposals were also recommended by subsequent presidents, but for various reasons were not implemented.[2] It[clarification needed] was only enacted thirty years later as part of the authority, in which the president was allowed to create or reorganize bureaucracies as long as neither house of Congress passed a legislative veto. This power to create new departments was removed after 1962, and in the early 1980s the Supreme Court declared legislative vetoes unconstitutional.

The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare was renamed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in 1979,[3] when its education functions were transferred to the newly created United States Department of Education under the Department of Education Organization Act.[4] HHS was left in charge of the Social Security Administration, agencies constituting the Public Health Service, and Family Support Administration.

In 1995, the Social Security Administration was removed from the Department of Health and Human Services, and established as an independent agency of the executive branch of the United States Government.

HHS is administered by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, who is appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. The United States Public Health Service (PHS) is the main division of the HHS and is led by the Assistant Secretary for Health. The current Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius is the Vice-Chair of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, and the Department of Health and Human Services is a member of the Council, which is dedicated to preventing and ending homelessness in America.

The United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, the uniformed service of the PHS, is led by the Surgeon General who is responsible for addressing matters concerning public health as authorized by the Secretary or by the Assistant Secretary of Health in addition to his or her primary mission of administering the Commissioned Corps. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) investigates criminal activity for HHS. The special agents who work for OIG have the same title series "1811", training and authority as other federal criminal investigators, such as the FBI, ATF, DEA and Secret Service. However, OIG Special Agents have special skills in investigating white collar crime related to Medicare and Medicaid fraud and abuse. Organized crime has dominated the criminal activity relative to this type of fraud.

HHS-OIG investigates tens of millions of dollars in Medicare fraud each year. In addition, OIG will continue its coverage of all 50 States and the District of Columbia by its multi-agency task forces (PSOC Task Forces) that identify, investigate, and prosecute individuals who willfully avoid payment of their child support obligations under the Child Support Recovery Act.

HHS-OIG agents also provide protective services to the Secretary of HHS, and other department executives as necessary.

In 2002, the department released Healthy People 2010, a national strategic initiative for improving the health of Americans.

Strengthening Communities Fund

In June 2010 the Department of Health and Human Services created the strengthening communities fund as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment act. The fund was appropriated $50 million to be given as grants to organizations in the United States who were engaged in Capacity Building programs. The grants were given to two different types of capacity builders:[5]*State, Local and Tribal governments engaged in capacity building- grants will go to state local and tribal governments to equip them with the capacity to more effectively partner with faith-based or non-faith based nonprofit organizations. [6]

Capacity building in this program will involve education and outreach that catalyzes more involvement of nonprofit organizations in economic recovery

and building up nonprofit organization’s abilities to tackle economic problems. State, Local and Tribal governments can receive up to $250,000 in 2-year-grants

  • Nonprofit Social Service Providers engaged in capacity building- they will make grants available to nonprofit organizations who can assist other nonprofit organizations in organizational development, program development, leadership, and evaluations.. Nonprofits can receive up to $1 million in 2-year-grants

The functions of the Health and Human Services (HHS) consist of a few very important roles in our nation. They create a healthy environment for all Americans and try to do as much as possible to make sure that food are safe and healthy. They make sure food is safe to eat and they also try to reduce obesity. The HHS consists of many different agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).


Office of the Secretary (OS)

  • Immediate Office of the Secretary (IOS) - currently led by Kathleen Sebelius
  • Office of the Deputy Secretary (DS) - currently led by Deputy Secretary Bill Corr
  • Assistant Secretary for Administration (ASA)- currently led by Ned Holland
    • Office of Human Resources (OHR) - currently led by Denise Wells
    • Program Support Center (PSC) - currently led by Director Paul Bartley
  • Assistant Secretary for Legislation (ASL)
  • Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE)
  • Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) - currently led by Dr. Nicole Lurie
    • Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA)
      • Project BioShield
      • Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise (PHEMCE)
  • Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA)
  • Assistant Secretary for Finance and Resources (ASFR)- currently led by Ellen Murray
  • Departmental Appeals Board (DAB) - currently led by Constance Tobias
  • Office for Civil Rights (OCR) - currently led by Georgina Verdugo
  • Office of Global Health Affairs (OGHA) - currently led by Nils Daulaire
  • Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (IGA)
  • Office of the Secretary's Regional Directors
  • Office of the General Counsel (OGC)
  • Office of Inspector General (OIG) - currently led by Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson
  • Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA) - currently led by Judge Nancy Griswold
  • Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) - currently led by Farzad Mostashari
  • Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH)[8] - currently led by Assistant Secretary, Howard K. Koh
  • Office on Disability (OD) - currently led by Director Henry Claypool
  • Center for Faith-based and Community Initiatives (CFBCI) - currently led by Director Alexia Kelley

Operating divisions

HHS business areas.jpg

(Several agencies within HHS are components of the Public Health Service (PHS), including AHRQ, ASPR, ATSDR, CDC, FDA, HRSA, IHS, NIH, SAMHSA, OGHA, and OPHS).[9]

Former operating divisions and agencies

  • Social Security Administration, made independent in 1995.
  • Health Care Financing Administration, renamed to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services


The Department of Health and Human Services' budget includes more than 300 programs, covering a wide spectrum of activities. Some highlights include:

  • Health and social science research
  • Preventing disease, including immunization services
  • Assuring food and drug safety
  • Medicare (health insurance for elderly and disabled Americans) and Medicaid (health insurance for low-income people)
  • Health information technology
  • Financial assistance and services for low-income families
  • Improving maternal and infant health, including a Nurse Home Visitation to support first-time mothers.
  • Head Start (pre-school education and services)
  • Faith-based and community initiatives
  • Preventing child abuse and domestic violence
  • Substance abuse treatment and prevention
  • Services for older Americans, including home-delivered meals
  • Comprehensive health services for Native Americans
  • Medical preparedness for emergencies, including potential terrorism.

Health care reform

The 2010 United States federal budget establishes a reserve fund of more than $630 billion over 10 years to finance fundamental reform of the health care system. [10]

Related legislation

  • 1946 - Hospital Survey and Construction Act (Hill-Burton Act) PL 79-725
  • 1949 - Hospital Construction Act PL 81-380
  • 1950 - Public Health Services Act Amendments PL 81-692
  • 1955 - Poliomyelitis Vaccination Assistance Act PL 84-377
  • 1956 - Health Research Facilities Act PL 84-835
  • 1960 - Social Security Amendments (Kerr-Mill aid) PL 86-778
  • 1961 - Community Health Services and Facilities Act PL 87-395
  • 1962 - Public Health Service Act PL 87-838
  • 1962 - Vaccination Assistance PL 87-868
  • 1963 - Mental Retardation Facilities Construction Act/Community Mental Health Centers Act PL 88-164
  • 1964 - Nurse Training Act PL 88-581
  • 1965 - Community Health Services and Facilities Act PL 89-109
  • 1965 - Medicare PL 89-97
  • 1965 - Mental Health Centers Act Amendments PL 89-105
  • 1965 - Heart Disease, Cancer, and Stroke Amendments PL 89-239
  • 1966 - Comprehensive Health Planning and Service Act PL 89-749
  • 1970 - Community Mental Health Service Act PL 91-211
  • 1970 - Family Planning Services and Population Research Act PL 91-572
  • 1970 - Lead-Based Paint Poisoning Prevention Act PL 91-695
  • 1971 - National Cancer Act PL 92-218
  • 1974 - Research on Aging Act PL 93-296
  • 1974 - National Health Planning and Resources Development Act PL 93-641
  • 1979 - Department of Education Organization Act (removed education functions) PL 96-88
  • 1987 - Department of Transportation Appropriations Act PL 100-202
  • 1988 - Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act PL 100-360
  • 1989 - Department of Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations Act PL 101-164
  • 1996 - Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act PL 104-191
  • 2000 - Child Abuse Reform and Enforcement Act P.L. 106-177
  • 2010 - Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act PL 111-148

See also

Portal icon Government of the United States portal
Portal icon Health and fitness portal
Portal icon Medicine portal

External links


  1. ^ whitehouse.gov
  2. ^ Eisenhower, Dwight (1953-03-12). "Message of the President". http://www.access.gpo.gov/uscode/title5a/5a_4_49_2_.html. Retrieved 2008-03-02. [dead link]
  3. ^ 19 U.S.C. § 3508
  4. ^ Full text of the Department of Education Organization Act, P.L. 96-88
  5. ^ "Strengthening communities fund". http://www.hhs.gov/recovery/programs/scf/index.html. 
  6. ^ "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act". HHS. http://www.hhs.gov/recovery/reports/plans/pdf20100610/ACF%20SCF%20June%202010.pdf. 
  7. ^ HHS.gov
  8. ^ HHS.gov
  9. ^ HHS.gov
  10. ^ WhiteHouse.gov

Coordinates: 38°53′12″N 77°00′52″W / 38.88667°N 77.01444°W / 38.88667; -77.01444

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