Updates on Health Center Funding

The Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC), part of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), hosted some technical assistance calls to update Health Centers on funding opportunities and the impact of the sequester.

All Health Centers will receive the full 2013 Continuation Award, avoiding the impact of the sequester. A $48 million base adjustment will be made in August to address the increased demand for care and to sustain quality improvement. Allocations will be formula-based.

Awards for 25 New Access Points will be issued in September. A total of $19 million is available, and approved by unfunded applications will be good for one year from award date.

Other updates from the call include:

  • BPHC still trying to strike balance between financial sustainability and the Health Center mission and thus still hasn’t released the SFS PIN.
  • The change of scope process has been updated with many more questions, but considerably reduces the back and forth with grantees and project officers.
  • Helpful websites on ACA are:  http://www.hrsa.gov/affordablecareact/ and http://www.healthcare.gov/
  • OIG audits have created many disallowances because federal and non-federal budgets haven’t been as clear as they need to be. Health Centers will be required to submit federal and non-federal budgets to the BPHC. This will come out in a PAL soon, along with an updated service area competition PAL.
  • All Health Centers will be moved to a three year (rather than five year) project period to help assist with compliance.
  • New publicly available UDS data views will be available on the BPHC website in late summer and no longer just PDFs.
  • There are several quality measures that will be changed/merged in this year’s UDS. Tobacco cessation, mental health follow-up and lipids measures will be impacted.
  • FTCA deeming applications are being reviewed.
  • Veterans hiring initiative is still a priority of the BPHC.  They are working on resources for CHCs to help make employment matches.  www.servicelocator.org/onestopcenter.asp is an opportunity to find job centers.

During the TA call for the Outreach and Enrollment supplemental funding opportunity, officials said the focus on this funding is for Health Centers to do in-reach, outreach, and education on new coverage options available under the Affordable Care Act. They said the $150 million available for Health Centers  is a historic opportunity, and probably the biggest investment the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has ever made for outreach efforts.  The goal is to add in-person capacity for outreach and enrollment and to train new and old staff.

Other information included:

  • HRSA-BPHC is working closely with CMS on training, which is expected to be 20-30 hours, and based online
  • Help enrollees understand their health coverage options
  • Asking for projections on number of staff needed, staff being trained, how many people will be assisted/educated
  • Be realistic with projection by looking at current experience as a baseline
  • An application may take 1 to 3 hours, depending on family circumstance
  • Make sure you only write for allowable costs, listed in the FOA
  • The electronic application will be available tomorrow, and you should submit your application as early as possible; the application is due May 31, 5 pm
  • Grant are formula-based supplemental funding with a base amount of $50,000 and $5,000 for one-time expenses, and accounts for about $11 per enrollment of uninsured in your Health Center’s service area from UDS data
  • It makes sense to collaborate with other Health Centers, community organizations in your service area
  • Health Centers are still eligible for Navigator grants
  • 1,000 characters of an answer per question, which equals about half a page
  • Project your 12-month impact
  • Pre-award expenses can be counted, so it’s ok to advertise and hire for outreach and enrollment staff
  • Goal is to award funds by early July, and get people trained in August
  • Can’t fund giveaways like pens, trinkets, etc. but can count fee for booths at outreach events
  • They’re unsure of an actual expense for federal training, but some funding should be budgeted

Visit the Health Center Outreach and Enrollment Assistance Page from HRSA.  MPCA also has a webpage for its members with FAQs.

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