Glossary Term

Department of Health & Human Services

The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) oversees numerous health and welfare programs. Its strategic goals include achieving equitable access to health care, improving health outcomes both nationally and internationally, and promoting social well-being. HHS has an annual budget that exceeds one trillion dollars and the largest portion of this goes to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The secretary appointed to lead the department must be approved by the Senate and, after approval, reports directly to the President of the United States. Prior to the change to its current name in 1980, the department was known as the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW).

HHS is comprised of a dozen operational divisions that include the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

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