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Frequently Asked Questions

As the Evaluation Work Group has begun reporting on its work, some of the following questions have been asked of the members.

Q:  How much more work is this going to be for me? We’re already stretched thin and have so many reporting requirements already. 

A:  We do recognize that this will require some additional time and effort for project staff, as does any new process. Until we have a final product in hand, we do not know exactly how much more work will be required. We certainly do not want to make this onerous and plan to make documentation of standards fit into existing reporting processes. We also hope that through the pilot project, we will be able to identify redundancies, remove barriers and streamline the process. We anticipate that eventually the initial investment of time will pay off as we establish Healthy Start as an evidence-based model able to attract stable funding. Much of what we are already doing is meeting standards, but we are not being given credit for what we are doing. It will require some investment in time, though, to be able to identify what we need to pursue as documentation to carry out best practices. Capturing what we are doing. Documentation to show meeting standards are in place is what we will need. Once certified at meeting practice standards; you are done. None of the ideas are new; HRSA has been saying these things. 

Q:  Are these standards going to require a higher level of performance? What is meant by performance, setting the bar higher? More than what we are currently held to? Increase percentages significantly, more women, etc?

A:  No, they should not require anything beyond what HRSA currently requires. The proposed standards are simply intended to create a common set of benchmarks, to identify best practices for implementing the core components, and to serve as a way of operationalizing and measuring the core components already required by HRSA. In addition, the standards will show how all the components working together serve to set Healthy Start apart as a unique model and to account for its success in improved outcomes.

Q:  How will compliance with the standards be documented, reported, and monitored?  By whom?  How often? 

A:  Preliminary thought has already been given to this. Documentation is set up in the form of a self-assessment or something like this. Level of ability to meet standards will be determined, and then move forward to meet all standards. This will be determined through the pilot project. A group of peer reviewers will be determined and trained to do onsite review on how to meet standards.

Q:  What are the implications or consequences for projects that do not meet all the standards?

This remains to be worked out with HRSA, but we do not anticipate any punitive measures such as cutting funding or eliminating projects. Rather, there would most likely be offers of technical assistance and/or mentoring by more experienced projects to help struggling projects meet the standards and demonstrate outcomes. We know that the Healthy Start community is a caring one and wants to do everything possible to help each other succeed! 

Q: How can our particular site be a part of any pilot study?

A: As we move forward and we begin thinking about the logistics of the pilot study, Healthy Start sites will be made aware of this step and will have the opportunity to make their interest in participating in the study known.

Q: If HRSA approves these standards, will there be added funding in order to be able to meet the added cost of implementing them?

A: We are not sure what HRSA’s response will be with regard to funding for the implementation of these standards, but we will advocate for as much support as we can including technical support and training.

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