"We don't want to add layers of bureaucracy," she said. "The size of our organization is not a problem. What has been probably the challenge is maybe the way we've managed it."
She said the department lacks "structural clarity" and would be reorganized, although she could not provide specific details.
The DHHR has moved forward with some of Public Works recommendations. Bowling said the agency now has grant management specialists, whose sole purpose is to find, apply for and manage grant monies.
Speaking after the meeting, Bowling said most of the changes to DHHR would focus on reducing turnover and filling vacancies.
The agency has set up "crisis intervention teams" that move in when an office experiences a critical lack of employees. Bowling said the department is trying to develop an expedited process to filling positions, like hiring employees on a temporary or contract basis.
DHHR also is working with Workforce West Virginia, a state-run job placement program, to advertise and fill vacancies.
Bowling said it would not always be easy to fill vacant jobs, however, because there is a statewide shortage of nurses and other health professionals.
Near the end of the meeting, Perdue again brought up the idea of breaking up DHHR, saying it's easy to tell which hens have too many chicks: some will inevitably be left out in the cold.
Perdue, D-Wayne, said West Virginia's health statistics are a looming train wreck, and they are not improving.
"We can't spend two or three more years doing the same thing and getting the same results," he said.
Senate Health Committee Chairman Ron Stollings, D-Boone, said many of the changes needed at DHHR likely would not require legislative action.
He said he has spoken to the Governor's Office and fellow legislators, and believes many of Public Works' recommendations for the department could be done with internal policy changes.