Health Center Program Compliance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can’t find your answer here? Please submit your question through the BPHC Contact Form and select the appropriate issue type, or call Health Center Program Support at 1-877-464-4772.
The term “site visit” in these FAQ refers to:
- Operational Site Visits (OSVs) conducted for awardees
- OSVs conducted for look-alikes
- Initial Designation (ID) site visits conducted for look-alike applicants
The information in these FAQ only relates to requirements and processes of the HRSA Health Center Program.
Scope of project
In order to operate a SSP within your health center’s Health Center Program scope of project and use new or existing Health Center Program funds, your health center must request prior approval from HRSA via the HRSA Electronic Handbooks (EHBs). HRSA must review and approve the prior approval request before Health Center Program funding can be used to support proposed syringe service program costs, as allowable.
Your health center must submit all of the following items in the prior approval request:
- Documentation that your health center's state or local health department, in conjunction with the CDC, has determined that the jurisdiction your health center is located within "is experiencing, or is at risk for, a significant increase in hepatitis infections or an HIV outbreak due to injection drug use." You can find out if your health center is located in a jurisdiction that meets this determination of need requirement by referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Syringe Services Programs website.
- A letter signed by the health officer from the state, local, territorial, or tribal health department certifying that your health center’s SSP will operate in accordance with applicable law.
- Confirmation that your health center has substance use disorder (SUD) services (PDF - 315 KB) appropriately documented in your health center’s approved Health Center Program scope of project on Form 5A: Services Provided (PDF - 113 KB). If your health center does not currently have SUD services approved within its scope of project, you may submit a change in scope (CIS) request prior to submitting the prior approval request for the SSP. For more information on the CIS process, refer to the Scope of Project webpage.
- Confirmation that your health center will not use Health Center Program or any other federal grant dollars to purchase sterile syringes/needles for illegal drug injection.
For additional information, including guidance on the use of Health Center Program grant funds and other health center revenues to support the implementation of an SSP, refer to the latest HRSA Grants Policy Bulletin (PDF - 105 KB).
For technical assistance on the allowable uses of grant funds, contact your health center's Grants Management Specialist. For questions on the prior approval request, use the BPHC Contact Form (select "Program Monitoring H80," then select "Prior Approval").
Further federal guidance on SSPs is available at:
- Health Resources and Services Administration-Specific Implementation Guidance to Support Certain Components of Syringe Services Programs, 2016 (hiv.gov) (PDF - 329 KB)
- Syringe Services Programs (SSPs) | CDC
- Syringe Services Programs | HIV.gov