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The Public Health Service (PHS) is the principal health agency of the Federal Government and is one of five operating divisions of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). PHS, which is under the direction of the Assistant Secretary for Health, comprises the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH) and eight major agencies: the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR), the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Indian Health Service (IHS), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Descriptions of the primary areas of concern of these organizations is listed below.

One of the important activities that PHS carries out in pursuit of its mission is awarding grants and cooperative agreements in support of efforts that help PHS and the recipients achieve mutually beneficial goals.

PHS administers a diverse array of assistance programs concerned with the whole spectrum of health concerns reflected in the missions of its several agencies as outlined above. The PHS agencies and offices are responsible for the award, administration, and monitoring of these programs under a variety of legislative authorities, governing regulations, policies, and procedures utilizing mechanisms ranging from discretionary project grant awards to block grants to States. They administer awards to a wide range of recipients, including State and local governments, educational institutions, hospitals, nonprofit organizations and, in certain programs, for-profit organizations.

The administration of these grant and cooperative agreement programs not only requires adherence to the program objectives for which the award was made but also requires that those objectives be accomplished in a businesslike manner. This is particularly important when the costs to recipients and the Federal Government are rising and Federal funds are limited. For these reasons, recipients of PHS funds must establish sound and effective business management systems to assure proper stewardship of funds and activities. Recipients are expected to exercise the same degree of prudence in the expenditure of Federal funds as they use in expending their own funds.

PHS views its relationship with recipients as a partnership, with the recipient providing the effort and expertise necessary to carry out approved activities and PHS providing financial assistance. In furtherance of its role in this relationship, PHS has established Grants Management Offices in each of its awarding offices. The awarding office Grants Management Officer (GMO) serves as the focal point for the business management aspects of grants administration, including receipt of required reports. The GMO is also the official authorized to make the decision on requests for any changes to the terms of an award. Questions concerning the interpretation of policies or the applicability of certain policies to particular programs should be directed to the designated PHS GMO.

This publication is intended to provide a common understanding of the framework for the administration of discretionary grants within which PHS and recipients must operate. Any questions relating to the subject matter in this document or PHS grant and cooperative agreement policies in general should be directed to the Grants Policy Branch, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Public Health Service, Room 17A-45 Parklawn Building, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857, telephone: 301-443-1874.

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