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HHS in the 21st Century: Charting a New Course for a Healthier America
general candidates for Presidential appointmentthat gives high priority to qualifications and leadership, and Congress is strongly urged to consideralonger termfor this office.
The secretary should work with the Presidentand Congress to establish a selection process forthe department’s senior-level officials thatprotects the scientific and administrative integrity ofmajor departmental units, promotes progress toward departmental goals, and isbased primarily onthe candidates’ qualifications and experience.Congress again is strongly urged to considerlonger termsfor some of these officials—especially the directors of the National Institutesof Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the commissionerof the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—which would provide critical continuity in the nation’s public health and scientific endeavors.
The President should make timely appointmentsand Congress should expedite the confirmationprocess for key HHS officials, including the secretary, deputy secretary, surgeon general, and theheads of FDA and NIH. Secretarial appointments, such as the director of CDC, also shouldbe expedited.
The secretary should ensure thatall departmenthealth programs, including the reimbursementprograms, reinforce public health priorities andstrategiesin order to provide a consistent framework for protecting the public from health risks,promoting health, preventing disease and disability, and providing health services for vulnerablepopulations in the most efficient, cost-effectiveways.
To maximize value in the health care system, thesecretary muststrengthen the scientific base andcapabilities of the departmentand ensure thatagencies’ research findingsare shared department-wide and thatcurrent best evidence is used