Genuine Reforms Needed at DHHR
Studies conducted by the Public Works LLC consulting firm have been of great value to West Virginians during the past few years. One in 2008 outlined ways to save tens of millions of dollars in state government. Another was used to write part of the school reform law enacted this year.
Now Public Works is urging major changes in the state Department of Health and Human Resources. The massive agency should be broken up into two divisions, one dealing with health and the second with other human services, recommends the consultant. Three dozen boards and commissions should be consolidated, it adds.
More emphasis needs to be placed on health lifestyles and obtaining federal grants, Public Works adds.
It all makes sense, with an important caveat: The tendency of any bureaucracy in such a situation is to shuffle subdivisions, titles and job descriptions – without really changing much about priorities and outcomes. That cannot be permitted to happen this time. Real reform, not just the appearance of change, is vital at the DHHR.