SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The Utah Department of Health and the Utah Department of Human Services will be no more by next summer.
Under House Bill 365, recently signed into law by Governor Spencer Cox, the two departments will combine to become the Utah Department of Health and Human Services by July 2022.
The consolidation is part of Gov. Cox’s ‘One Utah’ platform, which aims to improve efficiency in the state government.
In addition to the departments merging, the policy components of Medicaid eligibility will move from the Department of Health to the Department of Workforce Services by July 1, 2022.
“This is an opportunity for us, as a government, to think differently about how we serve the public. Bringing these agencies together will allow for improvements in coordination and, ultimately, a better delivery of services and outcomes,” says Gov. Cox.
State Representative Paul Ray (R-Davis County) worked with the Governor’s Office, stakeholders, and Department leadership to develop and sponsor the legislation.
“As a longtime member of the Social Services Appropriations Committee, I see many opportunities for funding and policy alignment that will improve the customer experience while protecting taxpayer dollars,” says Rep. Ray. “We worked in expectations that the public and employees will be included in the transition planning and at the forefront of how this system will transform.”
A Tuesday release from the Governor’s Office says the primary goals for the realignment are to:
- promote health and the quality of life for individuals accessing services in the health and human services field;
- align health and human services policy; and
- more efficiently and effectively manage health and human services programs that are the responsibility of the state and create a person-centered system.
According to the Governor’s Office, the Department of Health, the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Workforce Services manage 36% of the entire state budget.
The release says a robust public involvement and planning effort is underway. You can visit hhsplan.utah.gov and #hhsplan on agency social media channels to receive updates, submit feedback, participate in workgroups and meetings, and engage in the planning process.