United States Department of Health and Human Services

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The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is a Cabinet department of the United States government with the goal of protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services. Its motto is "Improving the health, safety, and well-being of America". Before the separate federal Department of Education was created in 1979, it was called the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW).



President Harding proposed a Department of Education and Welfare as early as 1923, and similar proposals were also recommended by subsequent presidents, but for various reasons were not implemented.[2] It was only enacted thirty years later as part of the authority, in which the president was allowed to create or reorganize bureaucracies as long as neither house of Congress passed a legislative veto. This power to create new departments was removed after 1962, and in the early 1980s the Supreme Court declared legislative vetoes unconstitutional.

The department was renamed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in 1979,[3] when its education functions were transferred to the newly created United States Department of Education under the Department of Education Organization Act.[4] HHS was left in charge of the Social Security Administration, agencies constituting the Public Health Service, and Family Support Administration.

In 1995, the Social Security Administration was removed from the Department of Health and Human Services, and established as an independent agency of the executive branch of the United States Government.

HHS is administered by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, who is appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. The United States Public Health Service (PHS) is the main division of the HHS and is led by the Assistant Secretary for Health. The United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, the uniformed service of the PHS, is led by the Surgeon General who is responsible for addressing matters concerning public health as authorized by the Secretary or by the Assistant Secretary of Health in addition to his primary mission of administering the Commissioned Corps. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) investigates criminal activity for HHS. The special agents who work for OIG have the same title series "1811", training and authority as other federal criminal investigators, such as the FBI, ATF, DEA and Secret Service. However, OIG Special Agents have special skills in investigating white collar crime related to Medicare and Medicaid fraud and abuse. Organized crime has dominated the criminal activity relative to this type of fraud.

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