Compliance Corner May 2023

Health Center Program Site Visit Protocol Updated

April 13, 2023:  HRSA uses the Health Center Program Site Visit Protocol (SVP) to assess compliance with Health Center Program requirements for all Operational Site Visits and Look-Alike Initial Designation Site Visits.

HRSA updated the SVP on Thursday, April 13. The updates focus primarily on plain language-related edits to make the material clearer and easier to read and understand. These edits provide clarity, but do NOT change the actual conduct of site visits or the meaning. There is one substantive change to align with Calendar Year 2024 Requirements for Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) Coverage for Health Centers and Their Covered Individuals, related to risk management and obstetrical training requirements.

Source: HRSA

Expiration of COVID-19 Public Health Emergency HIPAA Notifications of Enforcement Discretion

On April 11, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights announced the Notifications of Enforcement Discretion issued under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act during the COVID-19 public health emergency will expire on May 11, 2023. OCR is providing a 90-day transition period for covered health care providers to comply with HIPAA Rules in the provision of telehealth.

Read the full release here.

Source:  HRSA Office for the Advancement of Telehealth

HHS Awards $147 Million to Support Ending the HIV Epidemic in the United States

April 27, 2023:  Today, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), awarded more than $147 million to 49 recipients to advance the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. (EHE) initiative, which is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s ongoing efforts to reduce the number of new HIV infections in the United States by at least 90 percent by 2030. This funding will help states and metropolitan areas with the highest levels of HIV transmission link people with HIV to essential care, support, and treatment, as well as support training and other resources for these jurisdictions.

Today’s awards include:

  • Nearly $139.1 million to metropolitan areas and states to implement strategies and interventions to provide medical and support services to reduce new HIV infections in the U.S.; and
  • $8 million to two non-profit organizations to provide training and other resources to recipients of EHE funds.

Read the full release here.

Source: HRSA

Biden-Harris Administration Proposes New Standards to Help Ensure Access to Quality Health Care in Medicaid and CHIP

April 27, 2023:  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today unveiled two notices of proposed rulemaking (NPRMs), Ensuring Access to Medicaid Services (Access NPRM) and Managed Care Access, Finance, and Quality (Managed Care NPRM), that together would further strengthen access to and quality of care across Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the nation’s largest health coverage programs. These rules build on Medicaid’s already strong foundation as an essential program for millions of families and individuals, especially children, pregnant people, older adults, and people with disabilities.

If adopted as proposed, the rules would establish historic national standards for access to care regardless of whether that care is provided through managed care plans or directly by states through fee-for-service (FFS). Specifically, they would establish access standards through Medicaid or CHIP managed care plans, as well as transparency for Medicaid payment rates to providers, including hourly rates and compensation for certain home care and other direct care workers. The rules would also establish other access standards for transparency and accountability, and empower beneficiary choice.

Source: CMS

National Maternal Mental Health Hotline

Upcoming Webinar:  May 22, 2023

Are you a provider or health care professional working to ensure the health and well-being of women during and after pregnancy? Join HRSA as MCHB Associate Administrator Michael Warren, MD, MPH, FAAP, and Project Director Tiffany J. Williams present an overview of the Hotline and how its 24/7, free confidential service can benefit your patients. The webinar will also provide key metrics from the Hotline’s first year of operations.

The National Maternal Health Hotline provides 24/7, free, confidential support before, during and after pregnancy.  Visit their Frequently Asked Questions page, and also view the National Maternal Mental Health Hotline promotional materials.

Source: HRSA

HHS Announces “HHS Bridge Access Program For COVID-19 Vaccines and Treatments” to Maintain Access to COVID-19 Care for the Uninsured

April 18, 2023:  HHS’ press release affirms that, even as commercialization transition plans commence, health centers will continue their critical role in ensuring that COVID-19 vaccines remain available to anyone who needs them.

At this time, HRSA’s COVID-19 Response Programs are continuing as the U.S. government plans commercialization and the end of public health emergency next month. These programs allow HRSA-supported health centers to receive direct allocations of vaccines, testing supplies, and therapeutics. Visit their COVID-19 Information for Health Centers and Partners webpage if you want to learn more about them. If your health center doesn’t yet participate in these programs and would like to, submit an inquiry through the BPHC Contact Form.

Read the release here.

Source: HRSA

Updated Electronic Handbooks Login Process

Effective May 26, 2023:  HRSA’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) is upgrading the login process for external Electronic Handbooks (EHB) users to make it more secure. This new multifactor login procedure, required of all federal IT systems, will impact all BHW awardees reporting into EHB (Annual Performance Reports, Annual Operating Reports, etc.) and applicants responding to current Notice of Funding Opportunities.

The new EHB login process goes into effect May 26, 2023 for all external EHB users. It is important to start this process to set-up the new login procedure now to avoid issues with upcoming application and reporting deadlines.

All awardees and potential applicants should create a account with the same email address they use to log into the EHBs. If you already have a account, you must ensure it is active and it is the same email address used to log into the EHBs.  Visit the Help Page for more information.

Source: HRSA

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