Tracking Use and Impacts of Health IT on U.S. Office-Based Physicians (NOFO) Information Session Questions

FAQs for week of 9/2/20

  1. Q: Regarding the Project Narrative:

    1. On the first page, may we include our letterhead, which includes a logo?

      A: Yes, you can include letterhead in the narrative.

    2. Are we required to include the DUNS number on the Project Narrative document, or only in the Application for Federal Assistance?

      A: Unless outlined in the Project Narrative guidance in the Notice of Funding Opportunity, you are not required to include the DUNS number in the project narrative. You are required to include it in the Application for Federal Assistance.

    3. Which style should be used for citations?

      A: A footnote is fine. We do not have a required format for citations.

  2. Q: The NOFO instructions suggest that only the Project Narrative and Budget Narrative documents (i.e., excluding the Project Abstract and appendices) must be double-spaced. Would you be able to confirm this?

    A: That is correct. Unless otherwise noted in the Notice of Funding Opportunity, narratives must follow the page limits and formatting guidance.

  3. Q: Should resumes and/or biosketches for project personnel be included as part of the “Evidence of Personnel Qualifications and Past Performance” appendix document, or should they form a separate appendix document?

    A: Biosketches and resumes for key personnel can be included as separate attachments and not count as part of the project narrative.

  4. Q: Regarding the budget:

    1. Are there caps/ceilings on salaries, fringe benefits or administrative rates or fees?

      A: There are no caps for salaries, however, please ensure that salaries charged to projects are comparable to that particular market, and are necessary and reasonably applied to the award. Fringe benefits must be applied per your organizations policies and procedures, as well as administrative rates or fees. Please note that these should also be necessary and reasonably applied to your award.

    2. In the absence of a current indirect cost agreement, may we allocate non-administration expenses that are vital to support the project (e.g., costs to maintain a technology database and technical infrastructure that contain data)?

      A: Please see the UNIFORM ADMINISTRATIVE REQUIREMENTS, COST PRINCIPLES, AND AUDIT REQUIREMENTS FOR FEDERAL AWARDS 2 CFR 200.414 (f) which states that any non-Federal entity that has never received a negotiated indirect cost rate, except for those non-Federal entities described in Appendix VII to Part 200—States and Local Government and Indian Tribe Indirect Cost Proposals, paragraph D.1.b, may elect to charge a de minimis rate of 10% of modified total direct costs (MTDC) which may be used indefinitely. As described in §200.403 Factors affecting allowability of costs, costs must be consistently charged as either indirect or direct costs, but may not be double charged or inconsistently charged as both. If chosen, this methodology once elected must be used consistently for all Federal awards until such time as a non-Federal entity chooses to negotiate for a rate, which the non-Federal entity may apply to do at any time.

  5. Q: Can a proposal exceed the budget amount indicated in the NOFO?

    A: An application submission can include a budget that exceeds the funding level outlined in the notice of funding opportunity (NOFO). Awards are typically issued at the funding level indicated, however, an award can be made that is above this amount provided funding is available.

  6. Q: Can you please clarify eligibility – i.e. slide 13 is different than what is on your web site and the legal program documentation page 7/45 Section B “Eligible Applicants: Eligible applicants include domestic public or private, non-profit or for-profit entities.

    A: Yes, for-profit entities are eligible; however, they cannot generate profits from the award of this NOFO nor charge overhead resulting in profit.

  7. Q: Can you provide a link to recording of presentation?

    A: The recording is now available on the main page announcing the grant:

  8. Q: The budget period is listed as 9-30-20 through 9-29-20 and the Project Period is listed as 9-30-20 to 9-29-23. Further instructions state that “Applicants requesting funding for multi-year grant programs are required to provide a combined multi-year budget narrative/justification for each year of potential grant funding”. Are we to submit a budget for each separate year of the project (3 years) or is the budget to be submitted and the associated budget justification, to be reflective of the one year budget period?

    A: This current funding would apply to the entire project period of 3 years. Budget periods are awarded in 12 month increments. We would require a cumulative budget to span across the 3 years and a budget worksheet and narrative for each year of the award.

FAQs for week of 8/25/20

  1. Q: Is ONC aiming for breadth of specialties vs. depth of geography, practice type, and EHR diversity?

    A: We are looking for a nationally representative sample of office-bases physicians, which includes primary care vs. specialist; rural vs. urban; practice size; and ownership. We would like to ensure that a diverse set of EHRs are included. Note that one could do this by ensuring diversity in the sample of physicians. For example, physicians in smaller, independently owned practices or rural practices may have EHRs with different EHR developers compared to practices that are part of large health systems, for example.

  1. Q: Would an application that only focused on primary care be acceptable if it could reach broad geography, practice types, and EHR types with very high reliability (response rate 65-100%)?

    A: We would like to include specialists in the sample, so primary care alone would not be enough. There are a variety of means to address this, including but not limited to, collaborating with other organizations that have access to a broader set of physicians or purchasing datasets with physician data that could be used to generate a diverse sample.

  1. Q: Would ONC consider other types of clinician SMEs in interoperability other than physicians? For example, nurses and others with clinical experience?

    A: We prefer having physician SMEs given that this is a survey of physicians that seeks to capture the experiences and perspectives of physicians. ONC would consider other types of clinician SMEs that work in ambulatory office-based settings as well.

  1. Q: Can you speak more about the need for matching funds if this cooperative agreement is awarded?

    A: The matching fund language provided in the notice of funding opportunity announcement was for reference only. This award does not require matching funds.

  1. Q: Are you looking for a “fresh” approach (ex: AI technologies) or continuation of “existing” approach? Your point evaluation system underscores the latter and not the former. Please clarify.

    A: We are looking for a fresh approach with regards to boosting our response rate. In terms of methodology, we’d prefer consistency to continue trending on some of our key measures.

  1. Q: Will these slides be available on the ONC website, or elsewhere? If so, could you circulate the location via email to the webinar list of attendees. If not, could you circulate the slides, would you please circulate by email to the webinar attendees the website address for the FAQs through which you will answer the questions?

    A: The slides and recorded webinar will be on the ONC website.