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Department of Health EXECUTIVE STAFF


Secretary of Health
 - Pennsylvania’s top health official 1) serves as the chief executive officer of the department; 2) sets overall policy and direction, defines the department’s mission, establishes strategic goals and outlines specific objectives; 3) prepares annual budgets for submission to the governor, identifying priorities and accountability in fiscal matters; 4) proposes initiatives to further department objectives; 5) represents the department and the administration before other state agencies, the legislature, professional organizations, the health industry, community and stakeholder groups, consumers, and the general public.
  
Executive Deputy Secretary – This administrator 1) manages the operations of the major programmatic functions of the department; 2) directly supervises the deputy secretary for Health Planning and Assessment, the deputy secretary for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, the deputy secretary for Quality Assurance, the deputy secretary for Administration and the deputy secretary for Health Innovation; 3) serves as principal advisor to the secretary of health on all matters relating to departmental program services, and formulates and publicly advocates policies related to all areas of the department.
 
Physician General - The chief medical officer for the state, this individual 1) advises the governor and the secretary of health on health policy; 2) participates in the decision-making process of the department on policies relating to all medical and public health-related issues and in the decision-making process of other executive branch agencies as directed by the governor; 3) reviews professional standards and practices in medicine and public health related to matters within the jurisdiction of the department and other executive branch agencies. This officer is also responsible for the supervision of the Bureau of Epidemiology and the Bureau of Laboratories.
 
The Office of Communications 1) disseminates information about the department, its health programs and related issues to the media and the public; 2) issues press releases, answers inquiries and arranges interviews, press conferences and public events for the secretary, physician general and other staff as appropriate, and oversees the publication of numerous health promotion and disease prevention materials; 3) coordinates press and public education activity throughout the department, including in district and field offices; 4) serves as liaison between the department and the Office of the Governor on all facets of communications.
 
The Office of Legislative Affairs 1) serves as liaison between the department and the General Assembly and, as appropriate, with the U.S. Congress in concert with the  Washington Office of the Governor; 2) assists in developing proposed legislation and in promoting health-related initiatives of the administration; 3) works with members of the legislature, responds to inquiries on behalf of their offices and their constituents, and explains and promotes department programs and policies.
 
The Office of Policy 1) provides policy development support to the department and assists the secretary in setting health policy; 2) strategically sets focus on policy objectives and contributes to the development of health policy priorities through analysis and research of emerging public health issues; 3) evaluates the impact of state and federal health policy, stays abreast of legislative activity, coordinates bill analysis for the department, and provides input on legislative and regulatory initiatives; 4) works closely with “deputates” to ensure programs align with department and administration initiatives, policies and priorities; 5) provides advice to the secretary on policy issues and the development to implementation of department initiatives, while working closely with the Office of the Governor and through close collaboration with OLA, the General Assembly.
 
The Office of Chief Counsel 1) advises the secretary of health, physician general and senior staff on state and federal statutes, regulations and other legal documents; 2) provides policy input and counsel to assist the secretary in carrying out the department's mission and mandates in a lawful manner; 3) represents the department in courts of law and before regulatory agencies; 4) reviews proposed legislation for legality in conjunction with the Office of State and Federal Relations.
 

The Department has multiple bureaus and divisions which are divided by “deputate.” These include:

Health Promotion and Disease Prevention - This office is responsible for developing and implementing a wide variety of educational, preventative and treatment programs for people of all ages. Bureaus within this area include: Communicable Diseases; Family Health; WIC; Health Promotion and Risk Reduction; and the Office of Health Equity (OHE).
 
Health Planning and Assessment  - This area 1) monitors, tracks and analyzes the health status of Pennsylvania communities; 2) oversees the state laboratories and licenses independent clinical labs; 3) supervises emergency medical services; and 4) ensures epidemiological data collection, dissemination and analysis. Bureaus include: Community Health Systems; Emergency Medical Services;  and Bureau of Public Health Preparedness (BPHP).
 
Quality Assurance - This office works to ensure the delivery of quality health care in most inpatient and outpatient health care facilities throughout Pennsylvania. It also approves building, engineering and construction plans for these facilities and also oversees the licensing of tanning beds and various drug registration requirements. Bureaus include: Community Program Licensure and Certification and Facility Licensure and Certification.
  
Administration - This office 1) directs the provision of all  management support; 2) is responsible for the development of the department's administrative policies and procedures and for all of the department's information technology functions; 3) and assists the secretary of health in effectively utilizing public health data to make policy decisions. Bureaus include: Health Statistics and Research; Administrative and Financial Services; and Informatics and Information Technology.
 
Health Innovation – Bureaus include: Health Planning; Managed Care; Office of Health Innovation; and Office of Health Research. Visit Health Innovation.
  

Boards and Commissions - Numerous boards provide advice and consultation to the department. Members include a broad representation of health care providers, consumers and professionals.
     Advisory Health Board - Responsible for approving rules and regulations necessary for the prevention of disease, immunization standards and local health services.
 
      Drug, Device and Cosmetic Board - Advises the Secretary on matters pertaining to the manufacture and distribution of drugs, devices and cosmetics subject to the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act and the Generic Drug Law. (11 members)
 
     Health Policy Board - Reviews rules and regulations prepared by the Department of Health and advises the Secretary on proposed regulations and the state health services plan. The board also serves as an administrative hearing body for appeals of licensure decisions. (13 members)
   
      Organ Donation Advisory Committee - Recommends educational programs promoting organ and tissue donation, provides advice on the distribution of funds from The Governor Robert P. Casey Memorial Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Trust Fund, and issues reports on the status of organ donation in the commonwealth. (15 members)
 
     Pennsylvania Advisory Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse - Advises the Secretary of Health on matters concerning substance abuse prevention and treatment. (seven members)