Friday, 19 January 2018 15:04

Notice of Health Agency Changes During a Government Shutdown

Published in Notices

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released the FY 2018 HHS Contingency Staffing Plan for Operations in the Absence of Enacted Annual Appropriations to communicate the changes we can expect due to the government shutdown. Below is a summary of some HHS activities that may be of interest to ASM members:

• National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH would not admit new patients (unless deemed medically necessary by the NIH Director), or initiate new protocols, and would discontinue some veterinary services. NIH will not take any actions on grant applications or awards. NIH would continue patient care for current NIH Clinical Center patients, minimal support for ongoing protocols, animal care services to protect the health of NIH animals, and minimal staff to safeguard NIH facilities and infrastructure. 

• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): HHS would use the full extent of the authority under the ADA to protect life and property under a lapse in appropriations. CDC's immediate response to urgent disease outbreaks, including seasonal influenza, would continue. To continue ongoing influenza surveillance, CDC would collect data being reported by states, hospitals, and others, and report out critical information needed for state and local health authorities and providers to track, prevent and treat the disease. CDC will continue minimal support to protect the health and well-being of US citizens here and abroad through a significantly reduced capacity to respond to outbreak investigations, processing of laboratory samples, and maintaining the agency’s 24/7 emergency operations center

• Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ): AHRQ would be unable to fund new grants and contracts or monitor previously-funded projects related to health services research initiatives, including research on improving patient safety and reducing healthcare-associated infections. AHRQ would continue to maintain oversight of ongoing projects funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund (PCORTF).

• Food and Drug Administration (FDA): FDA would continue limited activities related to its user fee funded programs including the activities in the Center for Tobacco Products. FDA would also continue select vital activities including maintaining critical consumer protection to handle emergencies, high-risk recalls, civil and criminal investigations, import entry review, and other critical public health issues.

• Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC): ONC will be unable to continue work on standards coordination, implementation, and testing as required by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act and the 21st Century Cures (Cures) Act. ONC will be unable to increase interoperability and coordinate federal efforts to ensure improvements of usability related to the use of health IT. ONC will not continue working with its partners to combat information blocking and advance other policy and rulemaking activities as required under the Cures Act.

• Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS): CMS would continue key Federal Exchange activities, such as open enrollment eligibility verification, using Federal Exchange user fee carryover. In the short term, the Medicare Program will continue largely without disruption during a lapse in appropriations.

To see the complete list of HHS activities that will remain open and closed during the shutdown, visit: