Consulting firm not in favor of WVa health agency split

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A consulting firm hired to review the West Virginia health agency has concluded that the department should not be split as lawmakers wanted.

The McChrystal Group of Alexandria, Va., was hired to review the Department of Health and Human Resources.

The report says the current setup “is not an option,” but that splitting the agency “would divert leaders’ time, funding, and attention from serving the people of West Virginia.”

The department should remain a single department with all efforts focused on the strategic plan to meet key priorities, the report recommends. He said DHHR employees want to help improve the agency.

Gov. Jim Justice said he had instructed DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch to immediately implement the recommendations.

McChrystal Group was awarded a contract in June to perform an in-depth review. The company provided a cost estimate of $503,648 for the Department of Health and Human Resources organizational assessment and $578,770 for the development of a strategic plan.

In March, the court vetoed a bill that would have split 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 drug addiction crisis. West Virginia has the highest drug overdose death rate in the country.

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