Health Care Emergency Preparedness Funding: New Matching Requirements
Sunday, August 15, 2010
By Chris LaPage
August 2010 (GO Know)
HHS recently announced over $390 million in federal funding for the Hospital Preparedness Program. This is federal funding that passes through state health departments to health care providers. Fiscal year 2010 is the first year that the federal government is requiring a 10% match on federal funds. In other words, states and local providers must commit at least $1 for every $10 in federal contributions.
Many health care organization completely shut the door on applicable funding programs when they find out a match is required. Since match requirements sometimes can be addressed with in-kind contributions and other private sources, health care organizations should keep an open mind with these types of funding mechanisms. In other cases, such as funding for emergency preparedness in health care organizations, grants that require a cash match cannot be overlooked because these organizations must meet regulatory requirements established by state health departments and the Joint Commission.
The intent of the cash match as far as the federal government is concerned is to increase the dollars available through the program to improve emergency management capabilities of hospitals and other health care providers. While some states are increasing the amount of money available by directly matching the federal contribution at 10%, others that are experiencing critical cash flow issues are passing it on to the end recipients (the healthcare organizations that ultimately receive the funding). Health care providers located in the states that are not requiring a local match should see an increase in the emergency management funding that flows from the state. In cash-strapped states, health care organizations will see their funding levels remain stagnant and will be asked to provide matching funds.
Since the match is only 10% for the next two fiscal years, health care organizations may be able to absorb the match requirement with current operating funds. At the very least, they need to be considering this match requirement for their 2011 budgets. For those organizations that cannot fill the gap with operating funds, the good news is that it the base allotment from the federal government that passes through the states puts health care organizations in an excellent position to leverage private resources, such as foundation funding.
The most important step is to make contact with your state department of health and inquire whether a match will be required in your state this year, how much is being requested, and any local application deadlines that may apply for the HPP funding stream.