The Department of Health and Human Services is the United States government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves. The Department includes more than 300 programs, covering a wide spectrum of activities. Some highlights include medical and social science research; preventing outbreak of infectious disease, including immunization services; assuring food and drug safety; Medicare (health insurance for elderly and disabled Americans) and Medicaid (health insurance for low-income people); financial assistance for low-income families (AFDC); child support enforcement; improving maternal and infant health; Head Start (pre-school education and services); preventing child abuse and domestic violence; substance abuse treatment and prevention; and services for older Americans, including home-delivered meals HHS is the largest grant-making agency in the federal government, providing some 60,000 grants per year. HHS' Medicare program is the nation's largest health insuror, handling more than 800 million claims per year. HHS works closely with State and local governments, and many HHS-funded services are provided at the local level by state or county agencies, or through private sector grantees. The Department's programs are administered by 11 HHS operating divisions. In addition to the services they deliver, the HHS programs provide for equitable treatment of beneficiaries nationwide, and they enable the collection of national health and other data.
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