Health and Human Services impacts
The Department of Health and Human Services said Friday that a government shutdown could mean furloughing 40,512 staff, while retaining 37,686.
But while the agency would be sending home more than half of its workers, the lack of funding would not affect various offices equally. For instance, HHS said “grant-making and employee-intensive agencies” such as the Administration for Children and Families and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration would have to furlough “the vast majority of their staff.” Meanwhile, many employees in offices that contain “a substantial direct service component,” such as the Indian Health Service, would continue working.
Many parts of HHS would linger in a state between full functioning and total shutdown. The National Institutes for Health would continue to care for clinical center patients, but it would not admit any new patients (“unless deemed medically necessary”) and would take no actions on grant applications or research awards. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would continue “minimal support to protect the health and well-being of U.S. citizens,” but it would have a “significantly reduced capacity” to respond to outbreaks and would be unable to support its annual flu program.
The Food and Drug Administration, which monitors everything from prescription drugs to medical devices to the safety of the nation’s food supply, would furlough 6,620 workers, or about 45 percent of its 14,779-person workforce. The agency would continue “limited activities” at programs that are funded through industry user fees, and would continue “select vital activities” such as handling high-risk recalls of tainted food or drugs. But officials said the FDA would be unable to keep up the majority of its food safety, nutrition and cosmetics oversight. The agency would have to cease routine inspections, monitoring of imports and “the majority of the laboratory research necessary to inform public health decision-making.”