Health Center Regulatory Issues, Uncategorized

Health Center Spending Plan Outlined

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.

Planning Grants:
• $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.

3 Comments on “Health Center Spending Plan Outlined

  1. As one of the New Access Point applicants who previously received the planning grant, I do not understand why an additional $10M is being allocated to yet more planning grants. With less than 10% of the NAP grants to be funded and a “waiting list” of 730 applicants, that money ($10M) could have funded another 15 NAP centers. Our organization has spent a tremendous sum of money the past 2.5 years preparing for the opportunity to apply as a NAP. Patients have come to depend on us. Without the injection of federal funds, our future does not look very promising.

    1. We have asked the same question, but it is a decision made by HRSA, HHS and OMB. This is what was reported by them, so I posted it, but your question is definitely valid.

  2. On the contrary, there many other communities that could benefit from having Planning Grant funding that will allow clinics to develop the FQHC model, whether these are funded or not. These allow clinics that center around serving the medically disenfranchised to be more efficient and delivery quality of care. A clinic modeling a FQHC then becomes sustainable and fundable from multiple sources.

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