Rep. Gladys spellman (D-Md.) has asked the Department of Health, Education and Welfare to reconsider its plan to transfer more than 900 HEW employes to Baltimore from offices in downtown Washington and Rockville. The move is scheduled to start in January.
Under the move, about 600 employes of the recently created Health Care Financing Administration, now working at HEW offices at 3rd and C streets SW, and 300 other employes, with offices in the Parklawn Building in Rockville, would be transferred. They would join about 1,600 HCFA employes already in Baltimore.
Spellman is asking HEW Secretary Joseph A. Califano Jr. to reconsider the move since he recently agreed to postpone the transfer of more than 200 Social Security Administration employes from Baltimore to Washington.
She said that move was put "on hold" because of timing problems and opposition from other Maryland members of Congress. "And if it's not going forward, I see no reason to move ahead with the transfer of the HCFA employes to Baltimore," Spellman said.
"Last summer when we asked about the effect of the Social Security transfer on Baltimore, HEW said everything was fine because the HCFA transfers would counterbalance it," she said. "Now the Washington area stands to lose (900) HEW jobs in a move that also will cost the American taxpayers $2 million."
The HCFA move was first announced in the spring of 1977 when Califano ordered the creation of the new agency to handle Medicare and Medicaid as part of a major reorganization of HEW, the federal government's largest civilian agency. Califano predicted that the reorganization would save taxpayers $2 billion a year by 1981 and cut down on fraud.
The HCFA move is to take place in a series of four transfers during a two-year period. Approximately 300 employes will be moved each time.
Peter Kirsch, spokesman for HCFA, said this week that Spellman's letter had not yet been received by HEW and he could not comment on it. "At the moment the move is going forward as planned," Kirsch said.
Kirsch said HCFA expected that 100 to 200 employes would decline to be transferred, not wishing to move, and that HCFA was attempting to find comparable government jobs for them here. Kirsch said that the results of a survey and employes' reactions to be move are not in yet, but he thought most HCFA employes were taking the move well.