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Oct 21 -- Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Department of Health and Human Services, invites comments by December 20, 2022 regarding Healthy Start Evaluation and Quality Improvement.

The National Healthy Start Program, authorized by 42 U.S.C. 254c-8 (section 330H of the Public Health Service Act), and funded through HRSA's Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), has the goal to improve health outcomes before, during, and after pregnancy, and reduce racial/ethnic differences in rates of infant death and adverse perinatal outcomes. The program began as a demonstration project with 15 grantees in 1991 and has expanded since then to 101 grantees across 35 states; Puerto Rico; and Washington, DC. Healthy Start grantees operate in communities with rates of infant mortality at least 1.5 times the U.S. national average and high rates for other adverse perinatal outcomes. These communities are often low-income and located in geographically, racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse areas. Healthy Start offers services during the perinatal period (before, during, after pregnancy) and the program works with women, men, and infants/children through the first 18 months after birth. The Healthy Start program pursues four goals: (1) improve women's health, (2) improve family health and wellness, (3) promote systems change, and (4) assure impact and effectiveness. Over the past few years, MCHB has sought to implement a uniform set of data elements for monitoring and conducting an evaluation to assess grantees' progress towards these program goals. Under the current OMB approval, the data collection instruments for the program's reporting requirements include three participant-level screening tools: (1) Background, (2) Prenatal, and (3) Parenting Information.

In this proposed revision, MCHB plans to retain the participant-level tools as approved by OMB in 2020; however, MCHB did introduce minor changes to the forms. These changes included only the following: correction of typos, addition of response options (e.g., “don't know,” “declined to answer”), and clarification of instructions. The purpose of these minor changes is to improve the quality of the instruments and make it easier for the respondents to complete the forms. The improved instructions should reduce confusion in completing the forms. Adding additional response options will eliminate forced responses that do not represent the participant's intent and will increase response accuracy.

The purpose of the revised data collection instruments will be to assess grantee and participant-level progress towards meeting Healthy Start program performance measures. The data will be used to conduct ongoing performance monitoring of the program, thus meeting program needs for accountability, programmatic decision-making, and ongoing quality assurance.

For the General Background, Prenatal, and Parenting Information participant-level forms, respondents include pregnant women, women of reproductive age, and men who are served by the Healthy Start program.
Healthy Start EPIC Center: https://healthystartepic.org/healthy-start-implementation/monitoring-data-and-evaluation/
Draft information collection instruments and technical documentation requested by HRSA by AEA.
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-22863

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