Work on those com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills, HHS

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS -

This time, the “C” doesn’t re­fer to Medi­care Part C or Hospi­tal Com­pare. In­stead, it stands for the “sat­is­fac­tory” grade HHS re­ceived re­cently from the Cen­ter for Plain Lan­guage on how well the depart­ment fol­lows the re­quire­ments of the Plain Writ­ing Act, a 2010 law that re­quires the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to write all pub­li­ca­tions, forms and doc­u­ments in a “clear, con­cise, well-or­ga­nized man­ner.”

The Falls Church, Va.-based group re­cently re­leased its Plain Writ­ing Act Re­port Card, which gave 12 fed­eral agen­cies two grades: one for how well an agency fol­lowed the act’s re­quire­ments, and an­other for how well it re­flected the “spirit” of the act. HHS earned a “C” for the for­mer and a “B” for the lat­ter cat­e­gory.

“Un­less fed­eral agen­cies are held ac­count­able, they won’t im­ple­ment the changes re­quired by the Plain Writ­ing Act,” Rep. Bruce Bra­ley (DIowa)—au­thor of the act—said in a news re­lease that an­nounced the re­sults. “The mixed re­sults of the first-ever Plain Lan­guage Re­port Card show that we still have a long way to go to make gov­ern­ment forms and doc­u­ments sim­pler and eas­ier for tax­pay­ers to un­der­stand.”

HHS fared much bet­ter than the Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Depart­ment, which earned an “F” in both cat­e­gories, but not as well as the U.S. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture, which got an “A” for the first cat­e­gory and a “B” for the sec­ond.

While Out­liers is a lit­tle dis­ap­pointed HHS only got a C for de­liv­er­ing clear, con­cise lan­guage, we hope it does more to live up to its po­ten­tial next se­mes­ter. And VA, we’ll see you af­ter school.

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