Gov. Jim Justice was light on details Wednesday about changes coming to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources following an outside report that showed how the agency could improve.
“Without question, we’ve got a lot of issues, but DHHR has always had tons of issues. The number one issue probably centers around communication,” Justice said in a virtual press conference. “We’ve got a lot of holes in the dyke we got to plug, and we’re on it.”
The report was put together by the McChyrstal Group at the request of the governor and released last week. The consultant group did not recommend splitting up the agency as lawmakers had tried to do earlier this year through legislation. Justice vetoed their bill.
The report said the agency required “bold organizational change” and recommended another level of leadership: new deputy commissioners and communication driven integration teams.
Justice met with DHHR Cabinet Secretary Bill Crouch earlier this week. Crouch said Wednesday that the agency will be adding new positions in response to the report. He did not say what the positions would be and said he wanted to discuss the details internally with staff before making any public announcements
“You will be hearing from DHHR within the next week with regard to some of these decisions. Most of these we do not need legislation for,” he said.
State lawmakers have criticized the report for its lack of detail and its $1 million price tag — Senate President Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, called it “a million-dollar nothing burger” – as the state is performing poorly in many health outcomes as outlined in the report.