Gov. Cox and Lt. Gov. Henderson sign bill that consolidates Utah Department of Health and Human Services by July 2022

SALT LAKE CITY (March 23, 2021) — Consistent with his One Utah platform to improve efficiency in state government, Gov. Spencer J. Cox signed H.B. 365, “State Agency Realignment,” which consolidates the Utah Departments of Health and Human Services and moves policy components of Medicaid eligibility from the Department of Health to the Department of Workforce Services by July 1, 2022. 

“This is an opportunity for us, as a government, to think differently about how we serve the public. Bringing these agencies together will allow for improvements in coordination and, ultimately, a better delivery of services and outcomes,” said Gov. Cox. 

Rep. Paul Ray worked with the Governor’s Office, stakeholders and Department leadership to develop and sponsor the transformative legislation. “As a longtime member of the Social Services Appropriations Committee, I see many opportunities for funding and policy alignment that will improve the customer experience while protecting taxpayer dollars,” said Rep. Ray. “We worked in expectations that the public and employees will be included in the transition planning and at the forefront of how this system will transform.”

The primary goals for the realignment are to: 

  • Promote health and the quality of life for individuals accessing services in the health and human services field. 
  • Align health and human services policy.
  • And more efficiently and effectively manage health and human services programs that are the responsibility of the state and create a person-centered system. 

The Utah Department of Health (UDOH), the Department of Human Services (DHS), and the Department of Workforce Services (DWS) manage 36% of the entire state budget. The consolidation was recommended by the Cox-Henderson Transition Team based on synergies across their missions, policies, funding sources, and recipients of social services programs. 

Transparent and inclusive public and staff engagement during planning are requirements of the bill. A plan for implementation is due to the Governor and legislature by Dec. 1, 2021, with the transition in place by July 1, 2022. 

A robust public involvement and planning effort is underway. Follow hhsplan.utah.gov and #hhsplan on agency social media channels to receive updates, submit feedback, participate in workgroups and meetings, and engage in the planning process.

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