The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it launched a new $90 million initiative to improve data collection for health centers to reduce health disparities. The initiative will utilize the remaining American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

The modernized data collection and reporting initiative, called Uniform Data System Patient-Level Submission (UDS+), is designed to collect more and better data on social determinants of health and streamline and improve data quality reporting for Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) health centers.

“This effort will enable health centers to tailor their efforts to improve health outcomes and advance health equity, more precisely targeting the needs of specific communities or patients,” the agency stated in the April 21 announcement.

USD+ will also help health centers better target community needs with funding for COVID-19 efforts, improving health IT, data collection, and related training. HHS also hopes that this will help health centers prepare for future health emergencies.

Additionally, UDS+ funds will support patient-level reporting and enable health centers better identify, measure, and investigate disparities in health care. According to HHS, the standardization of patient-level health data enables the identification of populations most at risk for health disparities and informs potential clinical interventions.

The funds for the new initiative come from the remaining $1 billion HRSA made available through the American Rescue Plan-Capital funding opportunity in April 2021. HRSA plans to award about $60,000 per awardee around August 1, 2022.

Health centers have until 5 p.m. ET on May 23, 2022, to apply for supplemental funding.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.