It’s an exciting day for HHS staff in Hyannis and for the entire Office of Health and Human Services. Earlier today, I attended the official grand opening of the Hyannis Health and Human Service Center (HHS Center), the first in a series of planned HHS Centers across the Commonwealth.
HHS Centers co-locate area offices of HHS agencies, making it easier for Massachusetts residents to access the diverse resources provided by HHS in a “one stop shop” environment. This is particularly beneficial to individuals and families served by more than one HHS agency, as HHS Centers reduce the need for multiple office visits and also break down physical barriers to HHS staff who serve the same clients. At HHS Centers, staff can collaborate across agencies to meet client needs.
The benefits of HHS Centers don’t end with improved client services, however; HHS Centers will also substantially reduce real estate costs while also improving energy efficiency. By making better use of space, the leased real estate footprint will be reduced by 10 to 15 percent, which will achieve an annual savings in lease expenditures of 14 to 25 percent. Further savings are expected from reduced energy usage; the co-location plan will curb growth in energy costs and result in an estimated 10% reduction in energy costs. In the next four years, we plan to have 19 HHS Centers operating across the Commonwealth by co-locating 57 currently separate field offices. Additional HHS Centers are in development. In Barnstable alone, annual savings are expected to exceed $85,000 annually.
These numbers may seem abstract, but they translate into real consequences on the services HHS is able to provide. One of my priorities as Secretary of Health and Human Services has been to make better use of HHS resources. HHS Centers fulfill this goal by reducing costs and at the same time, providing more coordinated, comprehensive client services. Most importantly, the anticipated savings from these centers will help protect program and personnel budgets from further reductions and will provide the opportunity to reinvest administrative funds in programming. These consolidations will also mean additional opportunities for enhanced, state-of–the-art technologies within HHS Centers.
For those who live in the Hyannis area, the new center is located at 181 North Street Hyannis, MA 02601 and combines the Hyannis offices of the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Developmental Services, the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, and the Department of Transitional Assistance. Phone numbers for each agency office remain the same, but each office can also be reached through a new, main number at (508) 862-6600.