1. The department should provide authoritative, plain-language, and current evidence-based information to the public regarding prevention and treatment options.

  2. To assess the health of the American people and overall health system performance accurately, the department needs current data from the nation’s health system. To facilitate collection of these data, the department should actively promote the universal adoption of electronic information capabilities—including health information exchange and electronic medical, personal health records—for administrative and clinical purposes.

  1. The secretary should place a high priority on developing a strategy and tools for workforce improvement (1) in HHS, (2) in the public health and health care professions nationwide, and (3) in the biosciences.

    1. The secretary should immediately strengthen workforce planning in the department and develop a comprehensive strategy to recruit highly qualified public- and private-sector individuals in order to offset the large number of experienced staff expected to retire soon.

    2. Congress should authorize the department, in cooperation with the Office of Personnel Management, to assemble a package of current and innovative programs and benefits designed to encourage talented, experienced individuals to transition back and forth between government and private-sector service, thereby identifying ways to leverage the best of both.

    3. Congress should provide the secretary with additional authority to reward performance, innovation, and the achievement of results, through bonuses, merit-based pay, recognition awards, or other mechanisms of proven effectiveness.

    4. The secretary, in concert with other public and private partners, should develop a comprehensive national strategy to assess and address current and projected gaps in the number, professional mix, geographic distribution, and diversity of the U.S. public health and health care workforces.

    5. To help close projected gaps, the department should evaluate existing health care professional training programs, continued education programs, and graduate medical education funding and should encourage Congress to invest in programs with proven effectiveness.

    6. Congress should give the secretary authority to create new programs that invest in the future generation of biomedical and health services researchers, enabling the continued discovery of new, more effective methods of preventing, treating, and curing disease; promoting health; improving health care delivery and organization; and controlling health system costs.

  1. A “new compact” between Congress and the department is essential as HHS works toward achieving its vision for a healthy nation, departmental mission, and key health goals. Under this compact, the secretary would provide Congress and the nation regular, rigorous reports about departmental activities and assume greater accountability for improving performance and obtaining

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