Ongoing Efforts to Reduce Reporting Burden for HHS HIV Grantees
To help achieve a more coordinated response to HIV in the U.S., the National HIV/AIDS Strategy contains the following recommendation: “The Federal Government should take short and longer-term efforts to simplify grant administration activities, including work to standardize data collection and grantee reporting requirements for Federal HIV programs.”
Acting upon that recommendation, in April 2012, then-HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sent an action memo to HHS agencies and offices directing them to finalize a set of common core HIV indicators and to develop an implementation plan to deploy the core indicators and streamline data collection and reduce reporting burden by at least 20-25%. (See related post.) In response to that memo and the NHAS, in July 2012 HHS agencies and offices agreed upon a set of 7 common indicators to monitor HHS-funded HIV services. Subsequently, 9 HHS operating divisions and staff offices developed and received Secretarial approval on plans to implement those indicators and to streamline data collection and reduce reporting requirements for HIV services grantees (NASTAD), the Urban Coalition for HIV/AIDS Prevention ServicesExit Disclaimer (UCHAPS), the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS which detailed health department reporting requirements associated with federally-funded HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, STD and TB programs. NASTAD leadership reported that they continue to field concerns from members regarding reporting burden, especially in terms of redundancies, lack of data harmonization across agencies, and lack of data sharing across funding streams and federal agencies.
During the HAIIG meeting, I – along with some of the non-federal participants – applauded our HHS colleagues for the progress they’ve made while at the same time urging them to identify additional opportunities to reduce grantee reporting requirements. Toward that end, CDC and HRSA have already initiated a process to integrate HIV prevention and care planning activities, which has great potential to streamline requirements and improve outcomes.
The HAIIG will continue to address this important operational issue through a number of follow-up actions, including a thorough review of the recommendations made by NASTAD in its December 2014 report as well as an active “cross-walk” of HIV prevention and care data requirements to identify potential areas for further streamlining.