Because Congress was unable to reach an agreement to extend funding for federal agencies and programs into the start of the new fiscal year that began on October 1, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a memo that outlines the department's contingency staffing and operating plans for all non-essential operations. Activities authorized by law, including those that do not rely on annual appropriations, and those that involve the safety of human life and protection of property will largely be unaffected.
Following are some of the specific HHS activities that will continue during the federal government shut-down:
- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will continue patient care for current patients and have minimal support for ongoing protocols. NIH issued specific information about the government shutdown for the extramural grantee community. Read more.
- In the short-term, the Medicare program will experience little disruption, and claims will be paid. Medicare Administrative Contractors will continue to perform all functions related to Medicare fee-for-service claims processing and payment.
- Other activities conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), including health care fraud and abuse control, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, and activities related to implementation of the Affordable Care Act, will continue. States will continue to receive funding for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
- The Food and Drug Administration will continue limited activities related to its user fee funded programs, as well as select vital activities.
- The Indian Health Service will continue providing direct clinical health care services and referrals.
Among the activities that will not continue:
- With limited exceptions, NIH will not admit new patients or initiate new protocols, nor will it take any actions on grant applications or awards. NIH issued specific information about the government shutdown for the extramural grantee community. Read more.
- CMS will not continue discretionary funding for health care fraud and abuse strike force teams, and fewer recertification and initial surveys for Medicare and Medicaid providers will be completed.
- FDA will be unable to support most of its food safety, nutrition, and cosmetics activities.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be unable to support the annual seasonal influenza program.
- The Health Resources and Services Administration will be unable to make payments under the Children's Hospital GME Program and Vaccine Injury Compensation Claims.
In all, about 52 percent of HHS employees will be furloughed, with grant-making and employee-intensive agencies (e.g., the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) experiencing the most severe impacts. Most staff will be retained in agencies that have a substantial direct service component, like the Indian Health Service.
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