This week, the Friends of AHRQ and the Friends of NCHS--two voluntary coalitions that support the work of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), respectively--launched an educational campaign on the Public Health Service (PHS) Evaluation Set-Aside, known informally as the "evaluation tap."
Since 1970, this budgetary mechanism has been used to fund research, evaluation, and data collection activities within the Department of Health and Human Services by "tapping" a portion of budget authority for public health agencies. The result is that funding for these agencies is actually less than what has appeared in appropriations bills for the past 40+ years.
The "Mind the Tap" campaign was borne out of an indication that policymakers may look to eliminate or reduce the evaluation tap as a way to "increase" funding for the contributing health agencies while complying with austere spending caps. However, such action is not without consequences. While appropriators are framing the reduction or elimination of the tap as a way to free up funding, they are evading the fact that more than a dozen critical public health and health research functions are funded--in full or part--by the tap.
This one pager, created by the Friends, describes the tap's nuances and what important programs would be undermined or eliminated entirely unless a viable alternative funding mechanism is put in place to preserve these functions.
If you have questions, please contact Emily Holubowich.
The Friends of AHRQ and the Friends of NCHS are voluntary coalitions of organizations that support the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), respectively. The Friends advocate on behalf of these agencies to Congress, and are housed at AcademyHealth. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.