HHS Announces Proposal To Extend Discrimination Protections In Research Grants

Monday, August 1, 2016
By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On July 14, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) floated a proposal  that would make several changes to its cost principles and administrative and audit requirements for grants, including a clarification for awards to Native American tribes and a broad bar on discrimination.

The notice of proposed rule-making, which is published in the Federal Register, includes a number of proposed changes, most prominently a clarification that ensures HHS anti-discrimination provisions for service contracts also cover grant programs.

Discrimination Clarification.

This discrimination clarification would extend an existing ban covering HHS contracting to ensure that the ban applies also to grants. This would including both internally administered grants and outside programs administered using HHS grants. The ban covers any discrimination as a result of age, color, disability, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Additional Provisions.

Following a 2013 executive order mandating that federal agencies make data more readily available to the public, HHS also seeks to require that anyone accepting a grant from the agency must allow public access to manuscripts, publications and data produced under that award.

Additionally, the agency wants to clarify several payment provisions related to grants. For instance,  specifying that grant recipients must expend any related refunds and rebates before asking for additional grant funds. Further, HHS is looking to extend a restriction on training grants, under which grantees can apply a maximum of eight percent of the grant amount to indirect costs, to also cover grants to foreign organizations and public groups.

Overall, the measures included in the proposal are intended to help give full effect to certain “important governmentwide initiatives” by implementing aspects of 2014 changes to the federal Uniform Administrative Requirements that either were not previously implemented or whose interaction with other existing laws and regulations was murky, according to the agency.

Click here to read the proposal.

For more helpful information, click here to read one of my prior blogs.

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Wilson, Daniel. “HHS To Extend Discrimination Protections In Grant Update.” Law 360. (July 14, 2016). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida area. www.TheHealthLawfirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone; (407) 331-6620.

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