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Oct 21 -- The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Department of Health and Human Services invites comments to OMB by December 5, 2022 regarding Optimizing Virtual Care (OVC) Grant Program Performance Measures. [Comments to OMB are open for 30 days after HRSA submission on November 4.]

The Health Center Program and supplemental awards for health centers are authorized by Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 254b). Notably, HRSA is authorized to make supplemental awards for health centers to “implement evidence-based models for increasing access to high-quality primary care services, which may include models related to expanding the use of telehealth and technology-enabled collaborative learning and capacity building models.” 42 U.S.C. 254b(d)(1)(E). Under the Optimizing Virtual Care (OVC) grant program, 29 high-performing health centers received 2-year supplemental awards to increase health care access and quality for underserved populations through virtual care such as telehealth, remote patient monitoring, digital patient tools, and health information technology platforms. Specifically, award recipients will use OVC funding to develop and implement innovative evidence-based strategies with the potential to be adapted, leveraged, and scaled across the Health Center Program to increase access to care and improve clinical quality by optimizing the use of virtual care with a specific focus on underserved communities and vulnerable populations.

The goal of the OVC grant program is to continue to support innovation that began during the COVID-19 pandemic, when health centers quickly expanded their use of virtual care to maintain access to essential primary care services for underserved communities. HRSA-funded health centers serve special and vulnerable populations facing barriers to virtual care access, such as low digital literacy, low connectivity capabilities, or limited technology access. The OVC grant recipients will serve as a model for how to increase equitable virtual care, generating and refining strategies that can be adapted and scaled across the Health Center Program.

The information collected on OVC grant recipient activities and performance will help HRSA demonstrate, adapt, assess, and disseminate promising practices, strategies, and novel models of virtual care across the nation's health centers. The information will support an assessment that yields:

-- Increased evidence of how to optimize the use of virtual care in the Health Center Program to enhance access to care and improve clinical quality for underserved communities and special and vulnerable populations.
-- Maximized impact of the new OVC grant program, as a model to be adapted, leveraged, and scaled across other HRSA funding opportunities.
-- Enhanced evidence base for recommendations to promote and scale virtual care innovations focused on increasing health equity specific to Health Center Program patients.

The assessment will include descriptive analyses of the data on grant recipient activities and performance, including analyses of trends over time. The analyses will inform recommendations for performance measures that HRSA could scale across the Health Center Program and across other grant programs like the OVC grant program.

The grant recipient activities related to implementation of novel models of virtual care, including aggregate data on patients served and the services they received, will be captured via monthly progress reports. A set of health center performance measures will be captured in a bi-annual progress report and will provide insight into health equity and virtual care. Grant recipients will collect and report performance measures based on project goals and objectives that span four key population health and clinical domain areas, including (1) Increased Access to Care and Information; (2) Improve Clinical Quality and Health Outcomes; (3) Enhance Patient Care Coordination; and (4) Promote Health Equity.

Respondents will be the 29 health centers that received supplemental awards through the OVC grant program.
 
OVC webpage: https://bphc.hrsa.gov/funding/funding-opportunities/optimizing-virtual-care
OVC submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202211-0906-002 Click IC List for information collection instrument, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comments through this webpage.
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-22868

For AEA members wishing to submit comments, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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