THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES is the United States government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves.
THE DEPARTMENT INCLUDES MORE THAN 300 PROGRAMS, covering a wide spectrum of activities. Some highlights include:
- Health and social science research
- Preventing disease, including immunization services
- Assuring food and drug safety
- Medicare (health insurance for elderly and disabled Americans) and Medicaid (health insurance for low-income people)
- Health information technology
- Financial assistance and services for low-income families
- Improving maternal heath and infant health
- Head Start (pre-school education and services)
- Faith-based and community initiatives
- Preventing child abuse and domestic violence
- Substance abuse treatment and prevention
- Services for older Americans, including home-delivered meals
- Comprehensive health services for Native Americans
- Medical preparedness for emergencies, including potential terrorism.
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 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. 11 operating divisions, including 8 agencies in the U.S. Public Health Service and 3 human services agencies, administer the Department’s programs. In addition to the services they deliver, the HHS programs provide for equitable treatment of beneficiaries nationwide, and they enable the collection of national health and other data.