Eric Douglas Published

DHHR Split Bill Signed By Governor

A man with white hair and wearing a blue suit jacket speaks while sitting at a table with the American flag behind him.WV Governor's Office

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources is now officially becoming three separate agencies after Gov. Jim Justice signed House Bill 2006 into law Monday. 

There will now be a Department of Human Services for programs like Child Protective Services, a Department of Health and a Department of Health Facilities for facilities like state run hospitals. Each agency will also have its own secretary to lead the agency. 

“With the governor’s signature on House Bill 2006, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources is ready to implement and uphold the intent of the West Virginia Legislature,” Interim DHHR Cabinet Secretary Dr. Jeffrey H. Coben said. “Under the direction of Gov. Justice, we will work to ensure a seamless transition to a new organizational structure over the course of this next year. DHHR leadership and our dedicated staff look forward to working with all stakeholders to optimize the functions and services we provide to West Virginians.”

The DHHR has long been troubled but has come under fire in recent years for staffing shortages and other problems, compromising the care provided to children in the foster care system or those living in state hospitals.

The legislature attempted to split the agency up last year, but that bill was vetoed by Justice. After a number of interim legislative committee meetings, and the resignation of then Secretary Bill Crouch in December, the push picked up steam. 

The overall agency has a collective budget of $7.5 billion, although much of that money is from Medicaid. 

The bill takes effect in May, but the new departments are set to be in place by Jan. 1, 2024.