Department of Health, Social Services to split into two


Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy’s Executive Order 121, to divide the State’s largest and most bureaucratic department in two smaller departments, has become law with the Legislature offering no objection, and takes effect July 1.

The reorganization of the Department of Health and Social Services will create two more nimble departments focused on a more proactive approach to serving Alaskans.

“Reorganization will create an environment for innovation and greater responsiveness,” said Gov. Dunleavy today. “The two departments will be able to manage their programs more efficiently and more responsibly to the constituents they serve. And they’ll be able to work on long-term strategic goals such as focused stakeholder engagement, federal partner negotiations, and Alaska-specific solutions for health care.”

The budget of DHSS is bigger than 12 other state departments’, the Legislature, Court System and Governor’s Office combined, thanks to vast expansion of state government under Gov. Bill Walker, who adopted Obamacare. The department has a team of five who have to manage 3,200 employees. 

Gov. Dunleavy’s Executive Order divides DHSS into two departments that are aligned by functionality:

  • Dept. of Health (DOH) will focus on payments, processes and programs
  • Dept. of Family and Community Services (DFCS) offers direct care to Alaskans 24/7 either in a facility or in the community

“The reorganization was designed to not disrupt services to beneficiaries or payments to providers,” said DHSS Commissioner Adam Crum. “These two departments allow for proper management and support to work on improving critical services delivered to and for Alaskans.”

View a pdf on the reorganization. Read EO 121 here.  


  1. A very smart management approach to a very heavy bureaucratized department. This kind of break-up offers easier channels to operate from. Walker’s approach was to muddy-up the channels, and clog up the system……..the Democrat’s way to justify more bureaucracy. The corrupt, humiliated, undignified Bill Walker was not a good governor.
    Good job, Dunleavy.

  2. A disgrace. Bureaucrats breeding Bureaucrats to increase cost. Who loses? seniors, Alaskans with disabilities, children and those needing social services.
    The administration cut $2.5 million from senior benefits to fund political favors and hire friends.
    Too late to recall, vote them out!!

  3. Unfortunately this will increase costs. Not only will there be another commissioner and two more deputies, but each commissioner will have an office in Juneau and one in Anchorage. There will be more secretaries, at least one more press director (but very likely even more), and additional administrative services division with director, etc. All these people will have their own secretaries or administrative assistants; otherwise how would you know they are important? There will be at least one additional legislative liaison but very likely more. There will now be two sections dealing with the feds and fed funding where now there is just one. I would have expected this move from Bill Walker or Tony Knowles but not from a supposedly conservative Republican. You would not have seen this from Parnell or Murkowski, and in fact you did not see it. Bureaucracy breeds bureaucracy. Didn’t we hire Dunleavy to fix the problem instead of increase them?

  4. Alaska specific solutions for health care. MY health care is private isn’t it. Which health care “solution”. Sounds naziesque. Your health director has NO delegated authority expressed in The US Constitution to my knowledge.

  5. Well intentioned, but this will be twisted by the bureaucrats to be another excuse to grow government. More nimble? – like two left feet on a caterpillar…

  6. This will help only if Dunleavy can keep these two smaller agencies small. Small wonder that such a radical action was needed after Walker’s monstrous embrace of Obamacare against the will of Alaskans failed to timely address Alaskans’ need with too many Maitre’ d’s and not enough Servers. CMS could not ignore HSS/DSDS taking as long as two years on-hold to get Alaskan vulnerables a first disability assessment! So incompetent under Duane Mayes’ “leadership” that the Feds’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services put them on a two-year intensive oversight just to try to put some reins on the runaway program that was cutting services to the existing needy (at a lower reimbursement rate) to fund new enrollments at a higher rate of reimbursement. I’m voting for Dunleavy again! His thinking outside the box is the primary reason we don’t belong to the CCP already. And Walker is trying to run for Governor again! That man should be in jail!

  7. DHSS is a goliath bureaucracy waiting to be broken up. No different than the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Break them up and actually loosen the bureaucracy.

  8. Good management move. All the Medicaid document problems will be in one barrel and easier to get through all the federal paperwork. Having it in the one big department instead of putting all of the Fed related areas together as Dunleavy has done really created logjams. Now the Federal paperwork will flow better and the personal services can be done better and quicker. Good Move. Hope Walker doesn’t get back in to screw things up again. Good for Dunleavy. Hope Alaskans don’t undo this by failing to re-elect Dunleavy to a second term.

  9. I am still trying to wrap my head around “3200 employees”. I would like to see that list because that is probably where to begin to address the problem. Bureaucracy is a government wide problem. It starts at the local level and just balloons as it moves toward DC.

  10. The government is going through mitosis. Two new bureaucracies, each of which will eventually split into two more, and so on.

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