HHS Recovery Act activities increase access to health care, protect those in greatest need, create jobs, expand educational opportunities, lay the groundwork for successful Health Reform, and provide immediate relief to states and local communities. HHS has been entrusted with carefully investing $167 billion of taxpayer’s funds for these purposes, and is committed to making every dollar count.
HHS is moving quickly and carefully to award Recovery Act funds in an open and transparent manner that will achieve the objectives of each Recovery Act program. We have established new policy and technical processes to design Recovery Act program and spending plans and to implement the Recovery Act requirements for transparency and accountability. A Recovery Act Implementation Team comprised of the Department’s top leadership meets on a regular basis to review specific program plans and Recovery Act policies being implemented in HHS.
To coordinate and manage the complexity of HHS’ role in the Recovery Act, HHS established an Office of Recovery Act Coordination. This Office will ensure that HHS fully implements the Act’s requirements and OMB’s guidance. This includes ensuring that programs are designed to best meet the Recovery Act’s objectives, reporting due dates are met, performance outcomes are established and tracked, risks of fraud and abuse are mitigated, and the public is kept informed through the Web and other means of communication.
HHS Recovery Act activities touch the lives of Americans, lay a solid foundation for Health Reform, and make a down payment on the “Zero to Five” plan of early care and education of infants by:
• Promoting access to health insurance and increasing the number of health care professionals through additional grants to healthcare workforce training institutions;
• Computerizing Americans’ health records, which will improve the quality of health care, reduce medical errors, and save health care costs;
• Advancing scientific and biomedical research and development related to health and human services;
• Promoting economic and social well-being of individuals, families, and communities;
• Assessing necessary healthcare services for medically underserved individuals and as part of the unique relationship between Tribes and the Federal government, providing healthcare services to American Indians and Alaska Natives;
• Providing information on the relative strengths and weaknesses of various medical interventions, so clinicians and patients have valid information to make decisions, which will improve the performance of the health care system;
• Expanding access to vaccines and vaccination services, preventing hospital acquired infections, and promoting prevention of disease through a large-scale community-oriented prevention intervention using proven techniques to reduce rates of chronic disease;
• Ensuring that all Recovery Act funds achieve the goals of the Act and the specific programmatic goals by designing ARRA programs so risks of fraud and abuse are mitigated up-front, and then reporting, auditing, and investigating for fraud and abuse once programs are underway; and protecting the confidentiality and integrity of HHS data systems.
Examples of performance measures include:
• Number of new patients served at community health centers.
• Number of Head Start children served by Recovery Act funds.
• Number of home delivered meals served.
• Reduction in Healthcare Associated Infections.