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HHS in the 21st Century: Charting a New Course for a Healthier America
enable the secretary toprovide Congress withregular reportson progress toward achieving departmental goals,
inform policy development,
facilitate cross-department activities,
provideoperational information to program managementfor quality improvement and midcoursecorrections, and
support effectivelong-range planning.
For those outside the department, the system should
be accessible, transparent, timely, and reliable,and
provideuseful, privacy-protected informationregarding department activities.
The department shoulddemonstrate accountabilitythrough continuous critical assessment of programefficiency, equity, impact on health, and cost-effectiveness, and through corrective action for underperforming programs.
The secretary, in collaboration with the surgeon general, should present Congress and the public with anannual “State of the Nation’s Health” report that describes progress toward achieving the vision for thenation’s health and the department’s key healthgoals.
Congress should establisha new, strategic initiativefundto enable the secretary to support cross-agencyand cross-departmental activities that exhibit innovation in responding to twenty-first century challenges,and to respond quickly to new, unforeseen, or expanding public health threats.
The committee believes that improved accountability and more rigorous decision making will be fundamental to the department’s success in creating more value from its activities, in responding to the key health and cost challenges of the twenty-first century, and in earning congressional support for increased flexibility in executing its responsibilities.
To the committee, a strong system of accountability provides the information needed to continuously improve program performance in ways that result in better health for Americans. As used in this chapter, the term accountability involves a systematic approach that