Performance Improvement 1997. Evaluation Resources

02/01/1997

Evaluation activities of the various HHS agencies are largely supported through two funding mechanisms: direct use of programs funds and use of special legislative set-aside authorities for evaluation. The first is a common mechanism giving program managers discretionary authority to use appropriated program funds to support contracts that will design, implement, and analyze evaluation data. In some cases, a program's legislative authority calls for a special mandated evaluation, and program funds are used directly to support the evaluation.

The second mechanism for evaluation funding is legislative set-aside authorities permitting the Secretary of HHS to use a proportion of overall program funds for evaluation purposes. The largest of such set-aside authorities is one established for evaluations conducted by several agencies of the U.S. Public Health Service (AHCPR, CDC, HRSA, NIH, and SAMHSA), ASPE, and the Office of Public Health and Science (OPHS) in the Office of the Secretary. The mechanism, called the 1-percent evaluation set-aside legislative authority, is provided for in Section 241 of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act. This authority was established in 1970 when Congress amended the Act to permit the HHS Secretary to use up to 1 percent of appropriated funds to evaluate authorized programs. Section 241 limits the base from which 1percent of appropriated funds can be reserved for evaluations of programs authorized by the PHS Act. Excluded are funds appropriated for FDA, IHS,1 and certain other programs that are managed by PHS agencies but not authorized by the Act (e.g., HRSA's Maternal and Child Health Block Grant and CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health).

In FY 1996, HHS invested more than $33 million in set-aside evaluation funds to carry out evaluation activities related to relevant public health programs. In FY 1997, HHS estimates that it will use approximately $35 million in PHS evaluation set-aside funds to continue current evaluation activities and to initiate new evaluation projects. Table I-1 provides a breakdown of the usage for FY 1996 by PHS agencies, ASPE, and OPHS, as well as the estimates for FY 1997.

Table I-1. Agency Use of Evaluation Set-Aside Funds,
in Thousands of Dollars
FY 1996 FY 1997
Agency evaluation use:
    AHCPR $0 $250
    CDC 2,000 2,000
    HRSA 6,680 6,868
    NIH 4,300 4,500
    SAMHSA 995 1,423
    ASPE 15,500 15,500
    OPHS 3,852 4,552
Total use $33,327 $35,093