The Secretary, acting through the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, shall under authority of this section continue in effect the Healthy Start Initiative and may carry out such program on a national basis.
For purposes of paragraph (1), the term “Healthy Start Initiative” is a reference to the program that, as an initiative to reduce the rate of infant mortality and improve perinatal outcomes, makes grants for project areas with high or increasing above the national average annual rates of infant mortality and that, prior to the effective date of this section, was a demonstration program carried out under section 241 of this title.
In making grants under subsection (a), the Secretary shall require that applicants (in addition to meeting all eligibility criteria established by the Secretary) establish, for project areas under such subsection, community-based consortia of individuals and organizations (including agencies responsible for administering block grant programs under title V of the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. 701 et seq.], participants and former participants of project services, public health departments, hospitals, health centers under section 254b of this title, State substance abuse agencies, and other significant sources of health care services) that are appropriate for participation in projects under subsection (a).
Nothing in paragraph (2) shall be construed to prevent the Secretary from awarding grants under subsection (a) for special projects that are intended to address significant disparities in perinatal health indicators in communities along the United States-Mexico border or in Alaska or Hawaii.
Recipients of grants under subsection (a) shall coordinate their services and activities with the State agency or agencies that administer block grant programs under title V of the Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. 701 et seq.] in order to promote cooperation, integration, and dissemination of information with Statewide systems and with other community services funded under the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant.
The Secretary shall ensure coordination of the program carried out pursuant to this section with other programs and activities related to the reduction of the rate of infant mortality and improved perinatal and infant health outcomes supported by the Department.
Except to the extent inconsistent with this section, this section may not be construed as affecting the authority of the Secretary to make modifications in the program carried out under subsection (a).
For the purpose of carrying out this section, there are authorized to be appropriated $125,500,000 for each of fiscal years 2021 through 2025.
Not later than 4 years after March 27, 2020, the Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct an independent evaluation, and submit to the appropriate Committees of Congress a report, concerning the Healthy Start program under this section.
In conducting the evaluation under paragraph (1), the Comptroller General shall consider, as applicable and appropriate, information from the evaluations under subsection (e)(2)(B).