BH TIG Week: GPRA Reporting by Kathleen Ferreira and Roger Boothroyd

Greetings! We’re Kathleen Ferreira and Roger Boothroyd, Co-Chairs of AEA’s Behavioral Health Topical Interest Group (TIG). The Behavioral Health TIG is pleased to sponsor this week’s blogs for AEA365. We have chosen to draw upon our members’ experience, expertise, and thoughts as it applies to GPRA, the Government Performance and Results Act. As you will read more throughout the week, the Act was originally enacted in 1993 and updated in 2010 and is designed to improve government performance management. As a result of the Act, members conducting evaluations of grants funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration are required to report data on the GPRA measures. At the Evaluation 2017 conference, we had a thought-provoking discussion during our Behavioral Health TIG’s Business Meeting on issues such as how federal performance monitoring reporting requirements can be used to enhance local program impact and how we can maximize the use of the large volume of data collected at the local level in making day-to-day decisions in improving local service delivery. We thought that this would be an interesting topic for this week’s blog. We hope you agree.

If we go to our dictionary (does anyone have a real dictionary anymore?) requirements is defined as “a thing that is compulsory; a necessary condition.” As many are aware, GPRA has mandated federal reporting requirements. That doesn’t sound appealing, does it? In particular, it sounds like more work! Yet, as evaluators, this creates a real opportunity—one in which we can work closely with our program staff to determine how data that we must report can best meet our local program staffs’ needs. It may not be readily apparent to us at first, it may take us some time to figure it out, but in the end, if we are thoughtful and persistent, we’ll find the answer. Why? Because we’re evaluators – it’s our job! It’s what we do.

This week, readers will learn:

  • the definition of GPRA and how GPRA data can be used for program monitoring and evaluation at the local level.
  • why it is critical for us to continue to collect and report GPRA data, even during governance challenges and uncertain times.
  • how to create data reporting sheets in order to reduce burden on program staff.
  • (taking this idea of data reporting sheets a step further) how to maximize the use of GPRA data by creating program fact sheets.
  • lessons learned during a 5-year evaluation of a Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) program in which behavioral health services were integrated into a medical setting.

We hope you enjoy the week!

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Behavioral Health (BH) TIG Week with our colleagues in Behavioral Health Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our BH TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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