Chapters 2 through 5 present the four strategic goal areas:
- Health Care. Promote access to insurance for the uninsured and necessary health services for individuals who are medically underserved;
- Public Health Promotion and Protection, Disease Prevention, and Emergency Preparedness. Prevent and control disease, injury, illness, and disability across the lifespan, and protect the public from infectious, occupational, environmental, and terrorist threats;
- Human Services. Promote the economic and social well-being of individuals, families, and communities; and
- Scientific Research and Development. Advance scientific and biomedical research and development related to health and human services.
Chapter 2 focuses on the Health Care strategic goal. It highlights the efforts of HHS to improve the safety, quality, affordability, and accessibility of health care, including behavioral health care and long-term care. HHS’s Administration on Aging (AoA), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and the Indian Health Service (IHS) have a significant role to play in realizing this goal. In addition, HHS’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), Office for Civil Rights (OCR), Office on Disability (OD), Office of Public Health and Science (OPHS), and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) play roles in addressing this goal.
There are four broad strategic objectives under Health Care:
- Broaden health insurance and long-term care coverage;
- Increase health care service availability and accessibility;
- Improve health care quality, safety, cost, and value; and
- Recruit, develop, and retain a competent health care workforce.
This chapter also highlights two sections of particular significance to HHS in the area of health care, both now and over the next 5 years:
- In the Spotlight: Reducing Health Disparities gives a brief overview of disparities that still exist in America and outlines the HHS response to combat these disparities.
- In the Spotlight: Advancing the Development and Use of Health Information Technology provides a brief but indepth explanation of the efforts HHS will be undertaking to promote the use of this important tool.
Chapter 3 explains the strategic goal of Public Health Promotion and Protection, Disease Prevention, and Emergency Preparedness. This chapter outlines the steps that HHS will take to prevent and control disease, injury, illness, and disability across the lifespan and to protect the public from the health consequences of infectious, occupational, environmental, and terrorist threats. Key operating and staff divisions that contribute to this goal include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), FDA, HRSA, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), and SAMHSA. In addition, AoA, CMS, OCR, OD, the Office of Global Health Affairs (OGHA), and OPHS play roles in addressing this goal.
There are four broad strategic objectives under Public Health Promotion and Protection, Disease Prevention, and Emergency Preparedness:
- Prevent the spread of infectious diseases;
- Protect the public against injuries and environmental threats;
- Promote and encourage preventive health care, including mental health, lifelong healthy behaviors, and recovery; and
- Prepare for and respond to natural and manmade disasters.
This chapter also features two significant public health efforts HHS is undertaking and will continue to develop over the next 5 years:
- In the Spotlight: Emergency Preparedness, Prevention, and Response explains how HHS will prepare for and respond to public health and medical emergencies.
- In the Spotlight: Global Health Initiatives explains the strategies to promote health and public health beyond our own borders.
Chapter 4 details the Human Services strategic goal. This goal seeks to protect and value life, family, and human dignity by promoting the economic and social well-being of individuals, families, and communities; supporting the safety and well-being of children, youth, older people, and other vulnerable populations; and strengthening communities. The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), AoA, the Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (CFBCI), and OD are among the divisions primarily responsible for achieving this strategic goal. In addition, CDC, HRSA, OCR, OPHS, and SAMHSA play important roles.
There are four broad objectives under Human Services:
- Promote the economic independence and social well-being of individuals and families across the lifespan;
- Protect the safety of children and youth, and foster their well-being;
- Encourage the development of strong, healthy, and supportive communities; and
- Address the needs, strengths, and abilities of vulnerable populations.
This chapter also discusses how a changing America will impact HHS’s efforts and strategies in the coming years. In the Spotlight: Demographic Changes and Their Impact on Health and Well-Being explains how HHS is working to meet the health, public health, and human service needs of a population that will grow older and increasingly diverse in the next 5 years.
HHS’s commitment to Scientific Research and Development appears in Chapter 5. The chapter outlines efforts to advance scientific and biomedical research and development related to health and human services. This strategic goal will be achieved through the contributions of AHRQ, CDC, FDA, OPHS and, most significantly, the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
There are four broad objectives under Scientific Research and Development:
- Strengthen the pool of qualified health and behavioral science researchers;
- Increase basic scientific knowledge to improve human health and development;
- Conduct and oversee applied research to improve health and well-being; and
- Communicate and transfer research results into clinical, public health, and human service practice.
Chapters 2 through 5 describe how HHS will accomplish the goals and measure their achievement:
Strategic objectives for each broad goal organize the activities into four distinct areas of focus. In most cases, several HHS operating and staff divisions contribute to the realization of a strategic objective;
Narrative sections, organized by strategic objective, illustrate some of the major strategies and activities undertaken by HHS operating and staff divisions. These sections present key intradepartmental and interdepartmental coordination efforts;
Specific performance indicators for each objective are listed, with baselines and 2012 targets. Appendix B provides a list of the data sources for these performance indicators; and
External influences that affect successful achievement of the goals, and HHS’s strategies in response to these influences, are described.
Chapter 6, Responsible Stewardship and Effective Management, illustrates the commitment of HHS to formulate, implement, and execute efficient administrative support for its programs. These activities do not appear as goals in the Strategic Plan because they are not intended to be separate from the overall management process that supports the Department. The chapter details strategies for effective management of human capital, information technology, and resources, as well as effective planning, oversight, and strategic communications.
Finally, appendixes provide additional specific information about supporting materials related to the Strategic Plan.
HHS conducts high-quality program evaluations to learn more about the effectiveness of its interventions and uses the findings to improve program performance. These comprehensive, independent studies are an important component of the HHS strategy to improve overall effectiveness by assessing whether programs are effective, well designed, and well managed. Appendix A, HHS Program Evaluation Efforts, describes how HHS has used program evaluations to develop the Strategic Plan. This appendix offers examples of existing and planned program evaluations that will inform decisions and activities over the next 5 years.
Appendix B, Performance Indicators—Supplemental Information, lists the data sources for each of the performance indicators listed in the Strategic Plan, as well as fiscal year information for baselines and targets. This information is presented by strategic goal.
Appendix C, Performance Plan Linkage, describes how the Strategic Plan will drive the Annual Performance Plan and Annual Performance Budgets, as well as how it will complement Secretarial priorities.
Because of the rapid changes in computer technology in recent years, HHS has included an additional section focused on this issue. Appendix D, Information Technology, details HHS’s enterprise and information architecture strategies and presents insights on innovations and future trends. Unlike In the Spotlight: Advancing the Development and Use of Health Information Technology, which focuses on the use of this resource to support the public, this appendix focuses on how HHS uses this resource internally.
Finally, several appendixes offer useful reference material for readers: The HHS organizational chart is in Appendix E; Appendix F consists of an overview of HHS operating and staff divisions and their primary functions; Appendix G lists acronyms used throughout the Strategic Plan; and endnotes are listed in Appendix H.