CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A consulting firm hired to review West Virginia’s health agency has concluded the department should not be split as lawmakers wanted.
The McChrystal Group of Alexandria, Virginia, was hired to review the Department of Health and Human Resources.
The report said the current configuration “is not an option” but that splitting the agency would “divert time, funding, and leadership’s focus away from serving West Virginians.”
The department should remain a single department with all efforts focused on the strategic plan to address top priorities, the report recommended. It said DHHR employees want to help improve the agency.
Gov. Jim Justice said he directed DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch to immediately implement the recommendations.
McChrystal Group was awarded a contract in June to conduct a thorough review. The firm provided a cost estimate of $503,648 for the Department of Health and Human Resources’ organizational assessment and $578,770 to develop a strategic plan.
In March, Justice vetoed a bill that would have split the DHHR into separate agencies.
Some supporters of the failed bill had said it was long overdue for such a large agency and could have helped better address the state’s substance abuse crisis. West Virginia has the nation’s highest drug overdose death rate.