May 16, 2018
As mandated in executive orders from the current administration, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is zeroing in on ways to streamline reporting and administrative requirements for clinicians, hospitals and health systems as part of an overall effort to “reduce administrative burden” and free providers from tasks that take time away from care delivery and quality improvement. Toward that end, a Regulatory Reform Task Force of representatives from each of the HHS agencies has begun identifying potential “deregulatory” actions with input from stakeholders. In a recent request for information (RFI), HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) solicited comments and input on proposed changes to several of its programs.
In brief, the agency is seeking input on potential ways to lighten providers’ administrative load in the following areas:
Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC): BPHC provides grant funding and technical assistance to a nationwide network of 1,400 community-based and patient-directed health centers for underserved populations. The centers, which served 26 million people in 2016, are required to report annually on their activities through the Uniform Data System (UDS) reporting process. BPHC is considering a change that would give the health centers more time (one quarter prior to the start of the official reporting period) to populate their UDS reports and validate the data they’ve entered.
Healthcare Systems Bureau (HSB): HSB provides national leadership for such programs as the Organ Donation and Transplantation Program, the Cell Transplantation Program, the 340B Drug Pricing Program and the Poison Control Program. The agency is considering decreasing reporting requirements for the Hill Burton Program, which provided grants to healthcare facilities in the 1990s to purchase equipment in exchange for providing low- or no-cost healthcare to income-eligible patients. Currently, recipients are required to report every other year; HSB is considering reducing reporting requirements to every three years.
HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB): HAB administers the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program (RWHAP), which provides medical care, medications and support services to more than 500,000 individuals living with HIV. RWHAP funds can only be used for services not covered by other federal or state programs or by private insurance. HAB is looking at ways to streamline the process through which grant recipients may request a waiver of the requirement that 75 percent of their funds be spent on core medical services. Currently, grant recipients must prove that there is no AIDS Drug Assistance Program waiting list for medications and that all core medical services are available and accessible in their service area. HAB is interested in suggestions on how to reduce the overall burden of the waiver request.
Bureau of Health Workforce (BHW): BHW works to improve the health of underserved and vulnerable populations by strengthening the health workforce and connecting skilled professionals to communities in need. Currently, BHW collects data on applicants and participants through the National Health Service Corps and NURSE Corps application process in an online Customer Service Portal. BHW is interested in feedback from current and former participants on data points and/or documents requested as part of the application process that are particularly burdensome. BHW is also soliciting comments on recent improvements to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), an information tool designed to help protect authorized healthcare entities and agencies from healthcare fraud and abuse. The NPDB contains data about adverse actions by clinicians, providers and suppliers.
Office of Federal Assistance Management (OFAM): OFAM provides administrative oversight for HRSA’s grant programs. The agency is looking at ways to lighten the administrative burden for HRSA grant recipients, particularly those who have received multiple grants. Specific areas of interest include the application process, the post-award process and the clarity of the Notices of Funding Opportunity.