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Dept. of Health and Social Services releases draft for strategic plan

Delaware Public Media

The state’s largest agency recently released a plan for how it can be more efficient.

Delaware’s Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) has 11 different divisions and a more than $1.2 billion annual budget. 

Its strategic plan was formulated in partnership with a contracted consultant group Health Management Associates (HMA).

The document is a by-product of Gov. John Carney’s 2017 executive order creating the Governmental Efficiency and Accountability Review (GEAR) Board. It seeks to integrate DHSS divisions with data sharing, manage its workforce and improve outcomes for its residents. 

“So it takes the parts and pieces that DHSS already has and tries to figure out how does the staff and workforce that is already in existence better integrate, how we better integrate our services and really focus on person-centered delivery,” said outgoing DHSS Sec. Dr. Kara Odom Walker.    

Walker says the plan will be an important tool as DHSS serves most of its clients remotely during the pandemic, and as the agency looks to identify gaps and make it easier for people to navigate the different services they may need. 

“So that when [residents] are making a phone call, a staff member isn’t necessarily just creating a handoff, but they’re also able to walk them through the next steps in creating a [sic] of services, instead of just identifying the one service someone may have contacted us about,” said Walker.    

The plan is in its draft phase and is viewable online and open to public comment for 60 days.

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