Evaluation activities of the various HHS agencies are largely supported through two funding mechanisms: direct use of program funds and use of special legislative set-aside authorities for evaluation. The first is a common mechanism by which programs managers have discretionary authority to use appropriated program funds to support contracts that will design, implement, and analyze evaluation data. In some cases, a programs legislative authority calls for a specially mandated evaluation, and program funds are used directly to support the evaluation.
The second mechanism for evaluation funding is the legislative set-aside authority which permits the Secretary of HHS to use a proportion of overall program funds for evaluation purposes. The largest of such set-aside authorities at HHS is one established for evaluations conducted by several agencies of the U.S. Public Health Service (AHRQ, CDC, HRSA, NIH, and SAMHSA), ASPE, and the Office of Public Health and Science (OPHS) in the Office of the Secretary. The mechanism is called the PHS evaluation set-aside legislative authority, which is provided for in Section 241 of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act. This authority was established in 1970, when the Congress amended the Act to permit the HHS Secretary to use up to 1 percent of appropriated funds to evaluate authorized programs. Section 206 of the FY 2002 Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Act increases the amount the Secretary may use for evaluation to 1.25 percent. Section 241 limits the base from which 1.25 percent of appropriated funds can be reserved for evaluations of programs authorized by the PHS Act. Excluded are funds appropriated for FDA, IHS and certain other programs that are managed by PHS agencies but not authorized by the Act (e.g., HRSAs Maternal and Child Health Block Grant and CDCs National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health).