The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
is a Cabinet department of the United States government with the goal of protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services. HHS is administered by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, who is appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, and serves in the President’s Cabinet.
HHS represents almost a quarter of all federal outlays, and it administers more grant dollars than all other federal agencies combined. HHS’ Medicare program is the nation’s largest health insurer, handling more than 1 billion claims per year. Medicare and Medicaid together provide health care insurance for one in four Americans.
HHS works closely with all state and local governments, and many HHS-funded services are provided at the local level by state or county agencies, or through private sector grantees. The Department’s programs are administered by 11 operating divisions, including eight agencies in the U.S. Public Health Service and three human services agencies. The department includes more than 300 programs, covering a wide spectrum of activities. In addition to the services they deliver, the HHS programs provide for treatment of beneficiaries nationwide, and enable the collection of national health and other data.
Some of the agencies most involved with HIV care, are:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
works to protect public health and safety by providing information to enhance health decisions. The organization promotes health through partnerships with state health departments and other groups. It focuses national attention on disease prevention and control, environmental health, occupational safety and health, health promotion, and education.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
administers the Medicare program and works in partnership with state governments to administer Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and health insurance portability standards.
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
works to improve access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated, or medically vulnerable. The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program
, which funds care for about half of all Americans living with HIV/AIDS, is administered by HRSA’s HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB)
The National Institutes of Health (NIH)
is responsible for biomedical and health-related research. The goal of NIH research is to acquire new knowledge to prevent, detect, diagnose, and treat disease and disability. NIH conducts research in its own laboratories, supports the research of non-Federal scientists (in universities, hospitals, and research institutions), and fosters communication of medical and health sciences information. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases(NIAID)
, as well as the Office of AIDS Research (OAR)
located within the Office of the Director of NIH, is charged with researching HIV/AIDS.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
is given the task of improving the quality and availability of prevention, treatment, and rehabilitative services in order to reduce illness, death, disability, and cost to society resulting from substance abuse and mental illnesses. SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Service develops program models that provide mental health services to individuals, families, and others living with, or affected by HIV/AIDS.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulation of food safety, prescription and over-the counter pharmaceutical drugs, vaccines, biopharmaceuticals, blood transfusions, medical devices, etc.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
supports research designed to improve the outcomes and quality of health care, reduce its cost, address patient safety and medical errors, and broaden access to effective services. It sponsors, conducts, and disseminates research to help people make more informed health decisions and improve the quality of health care services.
Additionally, various subdivisions of the Office of the Secretary provide direct support for the Secretary’s initiatives. Some HHS’s Staff Divisions involved with HIV care, are:
Office of the Surgeon General
Assistant Secretary for Health, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH)
Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (CFBNP)
Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (OCIIO)
Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
Office on Disability (OD)
Office of Global Health Affairs (OGHA)
Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA)
National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC)