Governmental Affairs Updates
Check here for updates on Governmental Affairs provided by ACUA's Governmental Affairs Committee
Mary Lee Brown, Chair
Enclosed is the VERSION 1 - DRAFT of the COGR Response to the Proposed OMB Guidance. Seven workgroups that includes over 20 individuals from the COGR Costing and RCA Committees, plus at-large volunteers, have developed the responses. We will recognize everyone in the upcoming COGR Spring Update due out soon.
Omitted from the DRAFT are two appendices COGR will be developing that includes proposed rewrites to the sections on Subrecipeint Monitoring and Payroll Compensation/Effort Reporting. Also omitted are recommendations to OMB regarding Subchapter H, Appendix I – Definitions. We will share these either through a supplemental mailing to the COGR List or in the VERSION 2 - DRAFT due in mid-May.
The Cover Letter and twelve “Primary Opportunities” (see first 5 pages) may provide some insight as to what COGR sees as the most important issues. This could change over the next month. Members from the COGR Costing and RCA Committees will be meeting in Washington DC on May 1 and 2 to further scrutinize and update the COGR response. The attached VERSION 1 - DRAFT includes yellow highlights and other internal notes. These can be disregarded. Other formatting and font selection edits will be addressed as we work toward the final response.
We appreciate all of your feedback to-date, and we continue to ask for your feedback and any observations or recommendations that you can share.
Director, Cost Policy - COGR
1200 New York Ave. NW, #750
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 289-6655, ext. 112
January 2, 2013
Subject: HHS announces first HIPAA breach settlement involving less than 500 patients
The Hospice of North Idaho (HONI) has agreed to pay the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) $50,000 to settle potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Security Rule. This is the first settlement involving a breach of unprotected electronic protected health information (ePHI) affecting fewer than 500 individuals.
The investigation conducted by the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) followed a breach report submitted by HONI as required by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act reporting the theft of a laptop computer containing the electronic protected health information (ePHI) of 441 patients. Over the course of the investigation, OCR discovered that HONI had not conducted a risk analysis to safeguard ePHI. Further, HONI did not have in place policies or procedures to address mobile device security as required by the HIPAA Security Rule. Since the June 2010 theft, HONI has taken extensive additional steps to improve their HIPAA Privacy and Security compliance program.
A new educational initiative, Mobile Devices: Know the RISKS. Take the STEPS. PROTECT and SECURE Health Information, has been launched by OCR and the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) that offers health care providers and organizations practical tips on ways to protect their patients’ protected health information when using mobile devices such as laptops, tablets, and smart phones. For more information, tips, and steps on protecting and securing health information when using a mobile device visit www.HealthIT.gov/mobiledevices.
The Press Release can be found on the HHS News page: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2013pres/01/20130102a.html and Resolution Agreement can be found on the OCR website at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/enforcement/examples/honi-agreement.html.
The much anticipated proposed guidance on grant reform (i.e., “A-81”) which aims to consolidate cost principles across various constituent groups was published on the federal website today. You can go here if you just can’t wait and want to read it for yourself: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_docs#proposed
I will keep you apprised of COGR efforts on this as we proceed and invite any interested colleagues to work on drafting formal ACUA response.
FYI pasted below is the communication issued this morning to the grants community from Victoria Collin of OMB:
To members of the grants community,
Thank you to all of you for many valuable contributions that all of you have provided to our grant reform initiative over the past two years. We anticipate that the proposal for public comment will be published tomorrow by 9:00AM EST. We have been impressed throughout this process by the expertise and passion in the grants community for improving our governmentwide guidance for grants, and we look forward to our continued work together as this initiative goes forward.
The proposal will be open for a 90-day public comment period. Comments can be submitted at www.regulations.gov under docket number OMB-2013-0001.
Also, please note that further information on the work of the Council on Financial Assistance Reform will be available starting tomorrow at www.cfo.gov/cofar. We will also be hosting an informational webinar on the proposed guidance with members of the grant community on Friday February 8th at 11:00AM EST. A link to the webinar will be available on the cfo.gov website; no advance registration is required. A recorded version will also be available for later viewing.
Many thanks again to all of you for your contributions to this effort. We look forward to receiving your feedback and refining the proposal further in the months to come.
Victoria W. Collin
I share the following posted to the COGR website recently and describes the strategy for developing the COGR response from which institutions, if they choose to respond, may use directly or to assist in developing their own response. I am leading the workgroup addressing Subchapter G – Audit Requirements referenced in item #3 below. As indicated in item #4 your input is welcome and desired.
COGR will provide the COGR membership with regular updates on both logistical issues and the content of the COGR Response to the Proposed OMB Uniform Guidance. It will be important that the COGR Response be complemented with your institutional responses. COGR will share with the membership suggestions and drafts that your institution can use to help formulate your response to OMB.
Below are some initial considerations:
1) Possible 30 day extension. We have contacted OMB to request a 30 day extension. We expect to know more in the next week. If an extension is granted, this should move the deadline for comments from May 2nd to June 1st.
2) Talking Points Analysis. We are working with our Association partners to develop a high-level ?Talking Points? document. While this will not be overly detailed, we will target a comprehensive overview that addresses the most significant issues. We hope to have this available next week.
3) COGR Response, Draft Version. Assuming OMB grants an extension to June 1st, we are targeting to make available a Draft Version of the COGR Response approximately April 19th. While the exact format of the COGR Response is not finalized, we expect to comment on a section by section basis that includes proposed revised language and justifications as to why the language should be updated. We have seven COGR workgroups (led by members from the Costing and RCA Committees) that are addressing various sections of the Proposed OMB Uniform Guidance. Your institution will be able to use the Draft Version to formulate and/or fine-tune your institutional responses.
4) Your Input. We need it. Please forward comments and questions to email@example.com and I will coordinate your comments with the seven workgroups.
Regular updates and active communication with the broad COGR membership are key to submitting the most effective and compelling COGR Response to OMB. We look forward to working with your institutions on this effort over the next several months and will keep you posted on all developments.
COGR has learned that (OMB) delayed the release of the Proposed New Circular and now expects it will be released anytime between mid-October and soon after Election Day. No reason was given for the delay.
Background: OMB published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Guidance last February with a comment period that closed at the end of April. OMB reported out at the June COGR meeting that there was quite a large response during the comment period and over the summer they would be analyzing the feedback and then proposing new rules with an expected release date sometime this month (Sept 2012). OMB intimated that the proposed rules would be issued in a new circular consolidating cost principles for all constituent groups that receive federal grants and cooperative agreements (i.e. A-21, A-87, A-102, A-122, A-110, etc).
- Two items to keep you up to date regarding the previously published Advanced Notice of Proposed Guidance (ANPG) on Federal Grant Reform
- COGR reports that the Office of Management and Budget has agreed to a 30-day extension of the comment period on its recent advance notice of proposed guidance on changes to the A-21 and other circulars governing cost principles for federal grants. OMB is expected to publish a notice in the Federal Register soon granting the extension making the new deadline April 30th.
- To help you respond, COGR completed the document entitled Template for COGR Member Responses to “Questions for Comment”. That document attached to this email and also available at www.cogr.edu (see Home Page, Latest News, March 19, 2012).
Regarding COGR RESPONSE:
In addition to the answers you develop in these Questions for Comment, you are welcome to endorse the COGR Response. COGR expects to send a draft of their Response to the COGR ListServe by Friday, April 20th. They will provide comments on the proposed changes that could be beneficial member institutions, as well as providing strong responses to those items of concern. Many of the themes and topics addressed in the Template also will be incorporated into the COGR Response.
- Hot off the Press....the anitcipated "next steps" in A-21 reform are here! At the COGR meeting we heard from OMB Controller Danny Werfel about the first of 3 planned federal notices.
Slated for publication in the Federal Register on Monday is an Advance Notice of Proposed Guidance seeking comment on Reform of Federal Policies Relating to Grants and Cooperative Agreements; cost principles and administrative requirements (including Single Audit Act)
You can see the advance copy of that notice which was posted last night on the OMB web site at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/financial/fr-notice-grant-reform-2012.pdf.
Comments in response will assist OMB in its development in the coming months of a further Federal Register notice, to be published for comment later this year, (expected sometime late April/early May), which would propose specific revisions to existing requirements. These reform ideas could result in proposed revisions to the following OMB circulars: A-21, A87, A-110, A-122, A-89, A-102, A-133 and A-50 and the Cost Principles for Hospitals. We heard that OMB may later proposed a consolidation of these 8 circulars into 1 (likely to be named A-81).
The reform ideas are outlined in 3 categories:
Section A: Audit Requirements (A-133, A-50)
Section B: Cost PrinciplesHo (A-21, A-87, A-122, and Cost Principles for Hospitals)
Section C: Administrative Requirements (A-102, A-110, A-89)
The costing policies committee along with others at COGR will be drafting a comment letter responding to the questions posed in the notice. All institutions are encouraged to draft and submit comments as well. There will be a 30-day comment period from the date published in the Federal Register.
- OMB is soliciting input and feedback on a set of ideas the agency has developed for revisions to various OMB circulars, including A-21 & A-110. OMB will use the comments it receives to develop a set of specific proposals that it will publish for additional public comment later in the spring, and hopes to publish a final rule by mid-summer.
The notice includes a number of reforms related to audit, cost principles and F&A rates, and administrative requirements, some of which align with the recommendations COGR submitted last summer to the interagency task force on circular A-21, and others that do not. Examples of some of the proposed reforms OMB is considering, relevant to research universities, are: 1) a more risk-based approach to auditing, which aims to create a tiered auditing process based on the amount of federal award dollars received by an entity; 2) exploring alternatives to time and effort reporting, which would likely revolve around existing payroll certification pilot projects; 3) expanding the Utility Cost Adjustment for F&A rates to more institutions; 4) allowing directly allocable project management support to be charged as a direct cost; and 5) establishing either a mandated or optional discounted flat F&A cost rate for use on federally funded research instead of the university's negotiated rate.
There are some positive reforms proposed by OMB in this Notice. However, they are overshadowed by two far greater concerns. First, the potential imposition of a discounted flat F&A rate, and second, that OMB did not propose a reform recommended by COGR to require compliance by agencies with OMB rules on the payment of negotiated rates on all federal awards.
Over the next two weeks, COGR and other Associations (i.e. AAU & APLU) will be developing its response to the notice and will provide guidance to research institutions on effective ways to respond.
See below for initial outline of COGR approach for responding to the Advance Notice.
You may want to share this with others at your College/University, particularly if your institution is planning on responding to the notice.
- Announcement of HIPPA Privacy and Security Audit Program by HHS Office of Civil Rights
For those institutions with HIPAA covered entities, NIST has a free toolkit designed to help covered entities and business associates augment their understanding and implementation of the HIPAA Security Rule. It is available at http://scap.nist.gov/hipaa/
The NSF OIG audit workplan for FY2012 is available. Go to: http://www.nsf.gov/oig/FY12auditworkplan.pdfReview 2 excerpts describing areas of focus which should be of interest to College and University community
Note for institutions with NSF ARRA awards – NSF OIG received $2 million of ARRA funds specifically to audit awardees’ use and management of ARRA funds.