The long-awaited organizational review for the Department of Health And Human Resources was released Thursday afternoon.
In March 2022, Gov. Jim Justice vetoed HB 4020, a bill that would have split the massive DHHR into two different agencies. He hired a national consulting group to identify top-to-bottom issues, bottlenecks and inefficencies. A media release states that consultants with the McChrystal Group spent the last few months embedded — physically and virtually — in DHHR and spent hundreds of hours with various department staff.
The McChrystal Group’s findings recommend DHHR remain a single department and focus structure and progress improvement around a prioritized plan.
The report concludes:
“To improve West Virginia’s health and human services outcomes, the status quo is not an option; DHHR requires bold organizational change. After completing this organization assessment and strategic plan, the McChrystal Team disagrees that splitting DHHR into two separate departments is the option that will provide the desired results. Instead, the McChrystal Team recommends that DHHR remain a single department and focus all improvement efforts – to both structure and process – around the strategic plan designed to address the highest priorities within West Virginia’s environment.”
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The estimated $1 million report notes the need to reverse some of the lowest-in-the-country health care rankings.
It said improving stalled, state-wide health and human service outcomes calls for creating leadership teams, improving interdepartmental communications and seeking proactive input from the many bureaus that make up DHHR.
The report calls for overcoming funding obstacles, improving technology resources and answering pervasive workforce challenges.
Justice has directed DHHR leadership to immediately implement the McChrystal Group’s recommendations.
“I made the right decision to veto this bill in March 2022, and these national experts have confirmed my decision with their report,” Justice said. “I have directed Secretary Crouch and his leadership team to immediately implement the McChrystal Group’s recommendations. They will do so in an effective and efficient way and will ensure there is no lapse in any vital support or services for the West Virginians who rely on the DHHR. I will also work closely with the Legislature on changes to laws or funding that may be necessary to implement these changes.”
Read the full report here.