By Craig Kennedy & Lindsay Mehalik
In a call that took place in early June, the Bureau for Primary Health Care (BPHC) took time to announce and then explain the 2011 BPHC spending plan, which includes $2.6B for the Health Center Program. The $2.6B represents a $396M increase over the FY2010 budget level; however it also reflects a $604M decrease from the FY2011 expected budget. BPHC emphasized the difficulty the budget decrease had presented in the allocation of award funding; as such BPHC was asked to identify their 2011 funding priorities, which they outlined as (1) maintaining base operations in funding, (2) a commitment to growth, as well as (3) a continued investment in communities and organizations through planning grants. In order to meet these priorities, BPHC plans to award the $396M in the following allocations:
Ongoing base operations:
• $250M will support the continuation of Recovery Act service grants (IDS) and all new access point (NAP) grants.
• $56M will be allocated to the Federal Tort Claims Act program in order to continue properly addressing FTCA claims.
Growth and Expansion:
• $40M in New Access Point grants will be awarded in August 2011, which will support approximately 60-70 grants. This means slightly less than 10% of the over 800 applications submitted will be awarded, however the application is good for one year and may be considered should additional funding become available later in the calendar year.
• There will be no funding available this fiscal year for the expanded service opportunity.
• $10M will fund up to 125 new planning grants, also set to be awarded in August. These planning grants will support the initial planning activities for new community health centers across the country.
In addition to the above, BPHC also announced the following:
Quality Improvement Investment:
• Health Centers will be eligible for $25k grants for one time, upfront costs relating to becoming a Patient Centered Medical Home. This funding can be used for access redesign, patient flow, interdisciplinary team development, or system upgrades.
• $10M will be dedicated to Beacon Community Initiative grants, which will be used to provide investments to support the participation of health centers located in Beacon communities. These grants will be limited to health centers that have been asked to participate in the initiative.
Technical Assistance Funding:
• Cooperative agreements received an increase over FY2010; however BPHC was still forced to reduce the allocation from the original FY2011 target by 15%.
• BPHC itself has reduced their own budget by 20%, which has unfortunately resulted in pay freezes and rescinded job offers.
After funding talk wrapped up, the discussion moved to an update of of PINS, PALS, and news from the Office of Quality and Data.