HHS' Sebelius talks health care


The Health and Human Services Department will rely on the expertise of current federal employees to implement hundreds of changes mandated in the recently-signed health care law, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said April 6.

“We’re not starting with the assumption that we have to build a new bureaucracy … One of the ways we’ll save money is by depending heavily on people and systems that are already in place.  Our department already has great talent, resources, and knowledge of the health care system,” she said at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C

Sebelius’ speech was billed as a look at how HHS will implement the new health care law, but Sebelius avoided discussing how the agency will mount the largest health care changes since the creation of Medicare in 1965. She spoke mainly platitudes about how the law will help millions of Americans, though she said the agency will be transparent in how it makes changes and administers the law.

Once such example of transparency, she said, is a new Medicare dashboard. The dashboard will allow users to aggregate, search and sort a collection of data on Medicare costs and services, all while protecting patient privacy, she said.

“Today, we’re making available Medicare’s inpatient hospital spending data, which you’ll be able to sort by state, condition, and hospital. But this is just the first step of many we’ll be taking to give consumers, purchasers and providers the health information they need to make smarter choices,” she said.


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