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Merger of ND Departments of Human Services and Health 'going well'

In element portrait of Human Services Director Chris Jones
Poppy Mills/NDDOT
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In element portrait of Human Services Director Chris Jones

North Dakota’s Human Services Director said the merger of his department and the smaller state Health Department is going well.

The 2021 Legislature passed a bill to combine the two agencies, with a deadline of September first, 2022.

Chris Jones says a consultant has been on-site since Sept. 1, helping with the transition.

"We're getting to the point of having that combined goals, Day-one, milestone document by the end of October," Jones said.

Jones said the only real roadblock to the merger is change itself. He said he wants to make sure everyone’s ideas are being captured.

"This isn't a finite project that is going to end on Sept. 1, 2022," Jones said. "We're keeping an open mindset that we're going to keep reinventing and redesigning how to best provide the services previously provided by the Dept. of Health and the Dept. of Human Services, into one department of Health and Human Services."

Jones called it “evolution,” not “revolution.”