Preparing for a Government Shutdown — What to Know

In the event of a government shutdown on Sunday, Oct. 1, the Department of Health and Human Services HHS released its contingency staffing plan for operations. Here are the specific plans for HRSACDCCMS, and SAMHSA.

Of specific note:

  • Health centers should expect to continue operations as usual. HRSA staff will continue programs and activities that are funded through carryover funding, or user fees, which include the Health Center program.
  • Medicaid payments will continue, though there may be slight delays in claims processing. CMS will have sufficient funding for Medicaid to fund the first quarter of FY24.
  • SAMHSA will continue substance abuse and mental health programs, including those that provide critical behavioral health resources in the event of a natural or human-caused disaster (e.g, such as the 988/Suicide Lifeline) to connect people in crisis with life-saving resources.
  • Social security checks (SSI/SSDI) will continue to go out, and SNAP benefits will continue to be allocated.
  • However, applications for new social security or Medicare benefits, and requests for new cards or changes may experience significant delays.

Most federal staff will be furloughed during this time and will be prohibited from working during the shutdown. Agencies likely will be running only with a skeleton crew, so organizations may not be able to get in touch with their federal partners during this time.

Update 10/2: Congress narrowly avoided a shutdown over the weekend by passing a Continuing Resolution that will fund the government through Nov. 17.

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