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DHSS wants public input as it seeks to become more efficient

Delaware Public Media

Delaware’s Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) is asking the public to weigh in on its new strategic plan. 

DHSS paid the consulting group Health Management Associates (HMA) $250,000 last year to facilitate the planning process. State officials say they are looking to amend the contract and increase the amount to $350,000 adding to the scope of work from HMA.

The strategic plan comes as part of a 2017 executive order from Gov. John Carney creating the Government Efficiency and Accountability Review Board (GEAR) meant to oversee an increase government efficiency. 

DHSS says it has since been working with HMA to conduct interviews with stakeholders and employees, and take inventory of its 11 divisions and almost 200 programs and services. 

The department and its Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker are now opening the conversation up to the public to help formulate a strategic plan going forward. 

“We want more individuals to engage and tell us what we’re doing right and what we could do better, whether we have the plan heading in the right direction or not, and the only way we’ll get there is if we ask and if people give us feedback along the way,” said Walker.  

DHSS lists customer service, measurable data-driven outcomes, coordination of funding and cultural competency as the four main themes in its strategy. Walker says an additional goal is aligning the DHSS workforce with current and future service needs. 

“We’re trying to figure out how us as a state agency can better use the talent that we have, but also figure out how to provide career opportunities and ladders to those who have been working in the state and have a lot of expertise, but don’t necessarily have growth opportunities,” she said.  

 The other draft goals and objectives can be found on the DHSS website under Publications and Reports. Delawareans can offer their perspective by sending emails to

The state plans to hold town halls in January. Final recommendations for the plan are expected in February.

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