TEFCA Recognized Coordinating Entity (RCE) Notice of Funding Opportunity Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Please note that this is a competitive award and we are only able to answer general questions. We will make information equally and publically available in the form of a written FAQ which is updated on a weekly basis. ONC IS NOT ABLE TO ANSWER DIRECT QUESTIONS SPECIFIC TO INDIVIDUAL ORGANIZATION’S PROPOSALS.

New FAQs for week ending 6/12/19

  1. Q: How, where, and in what format are we to upload the documents for the Appendices A: support letters and B: Resumes/CV?

    Should the appendices be:

    • combined and incorporated as Appendix pages at the end of the Project Narrative document (if so, is there a file size limit?);
    • uploaded as one separate attachment each, i.e. all Support letters combined into one pdf document to upload as an attachment and labeled Appendix A, all resumes combined and labeled Appendix B. (if so, is there a file size limit?) or;
    • each uploaded individually, i.e., each letter and resume would be uploaded separately (if so, is there a limit to the number of attachments)

    A: Applicants should group all Appendix A: Letters of Support and all Appendix B: Key Staff and Key Partner Resumes/CVs and upload as two separate attachments. There is no file limit for uploads.

    Applicants should not add appendices to the program narrative since this will affect the page limit restrictions as indicated in the Notice of Funding Opportunity under Application and Submission Information, B. Content and Form of Application Submission, Section II. Program Narrative:

    “Program Narratives should be no more than 25 pages. ONC will not review Program Narrative pages beyond the allowed 25 pages.”

Questions for week ending 6/7/19

  1. Q: Is this Grant subject specifically to the HHSAR 331.101-70 Salary Rate Limitation clause, specifically 352.231-70? We see on Page 47 of the NOFO that 45CFR Part 75 is referenced in its entirety but understood that the Clause has to be specifically referenced within the solicitations and contracts to be applicable. If the Salary Rate Limitation is in effect for this Grant would our Contracted providers be subject to the same limitation?

    A: The salary rate limitation clause does not apply to this award; however, ONC requests all applicants ensure that anything being charged to the project is necessary, reasonable, allowable, and allocable. This would also apply to any sub-recipients or contracts being included in the application.

  2. Q: Within Page 67 of the NOFO, reference is made to “Whenever the applicant/recipient intends to delegate more than 33% of a program’s total budget to the contractual line item, the applicant/recipient must provide a completed copy of Section B of the SF 424A Budget Categories for each subcontractor or subrecipient, and separate Budget Narrative/Justification for each subcontractor or subrecipient for each year of potential grant funding.” For our clarification, is the 33% provision applicable to the total budget per year proposed?

    A: While applicants are required to propose a budget for the entire period of performance (48 months), the 33% provision is applicable to the total federal funds awarded.

  3. Q: Given that Grant.gov is having some system technical maintenance performed and will be down for the period 06/15/2019 – 06/17/2019 at 6:00 AM will the Grant period for submission be extended?

    Details
    Production System will go offline Saturday June 15, 2019 at 12:01 AM ET. Production System will go online Monday June 17, 2019, at 6:00 AM ET.

    A: Due to the scheduled maintenance on Grants.gov, the NOFO application submission deadline has been extended to 11:59 pm ET on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

Questions for week ending 5/24/19

  1. Q: I wanted to inquire about the following grant opportunity.

    Announcement: Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement - Recognized Coordinating Entity (RCE) Cooperative Agreement
    Program Office: ONC Office of Non-ARRA Projects
    Grant Program: ONC Standard
    CFDA: 93.347
    Due Date:

    06/17/2019 11:59 PM (GMT - 05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada) June 20, 2019 11:59 PM (GMT - 05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada) 

    NOTE: Due to scheduled maintenance on Grants.gov, the NOFO application submission deadline has been extended to 11:59 pm ET on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

    I apologize as this is my first time navigating grant solutions, I would like further details in respect to the criteria for this grant. Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.

    A. For more information on the ONC Funding Opportunity related to the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA) Recognized Coordinating Entity (RCE), please go to https://www.healthit.gov/topic/onc-funding-opportunities/trusted-exchan… and download the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). The following sections of the NOFO provide important information regarding the criteria for this funding opportunity:

    • Section 3, Eligibility Information (pages 27-28)
    • Section 4, Application and Submission Information (pages 28-39)
    • Section 5, Application Review Information (pages 39-46)

    You may also submit questions regarding this NOFO to TEFCA.NOFO@hhs.gov. All questions will be answered in the form of an FAQ and updated weekly on the TEFCA RCE NOFO FAQ page at healthIT.gov.

    The NOFO application submission deadline is 06/17/2019 11:59 PM (GMT - 05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada) June 20, 2019 11:59 PM (GMT - 05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada) 

    NOTE: Due to scheduled maintenance on Grants.gov, the NOFO application submission deadline has been extended to 11:59 pm ET on Thursday, June 20, 2019.

    Other helpful information:

Questions for week ending 5/17/19

  1. Q: Can you confirm that the 5/17/19 deadline to submit a Letter of Intent is for the RCE only? Or is it also the deadline to submit and LOI to be a QHIN?

    A. ONC is requesting a letter of intent from applicants interested in applying for the funding opportunity to become the Recognized Coordinating Entity. It is not applicable to applicants interested in becoming a QHIN. This request can be found in the Notice of Funding Opportunity under Funding Opportunity Award Information, Section E. Letter of Intent:

    “Although not required, applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a non-binding e-mail letter of intent to apply for this funding opportunity. This letter of intent will assist ONC in planning for the application review process.

    The letter of intent is requested by 11:59 P.M. Eastern Time on 5/17/2019 and should be sent to TEFCA.NOFO@hhs.gov. The notice should identify the name of the applicant organization, the city and state in which the applicant organization is located, and the Notice of Funding Opportunity title and number.”

Questions for week ending 5/10/19

  1. Q: Once letters of intent are submitted will there be a public announcement of how many there are or what organizations have submitted them?

    A: No, there will not be a public announcement of how many organizations have submitted letters of intent or what organizations have submitted them.

    Per the NOFO, in the Funding Opportunity Award Information Section E. Letter of Intent:

    “Although not required, applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a non-binding e-mail letter of intent to apply for this funding opportunity. This letter of intent will assist ONC in planning for the application review process.”

    “The letter of intent is requested by 11:59 P.M. Eastern Time on 5/17/2019 and should be sent to TEFCA.NOFO@hhs.gov. The notice should identify the name of the applicant organization, the city and state in which the applicant organization is located, and the Notice of Funding Opportunity title and number.”
  2. Q. Can you please clarify what is meant by an applicant being “affiliated” with an “operating entity” that would otherwise qualify as a prospective QHIN?
    - What is meant by “affiliation”?
    - What is meant by “operating entity”?

    A: Two parties (e.g., the applicant/RCE and prospective QHIN) are affiliated if one has the power to control the other, or if both parties are under the common control or ownership of a common owner.

    When we use the term operating entity, we are referring to the prospective QHIN as the operating entity and its affiliation with the applicant/RCE.

    Per the NOFO, under the Program Narrative, Collaborator Involvement and Partnerships section (Section 4.B.II.e on page 34):

    “Applicants must provide confirmation that if they have an affiliation with an operating entity that would otherwise qualify as a prospective QHIN, that entity shall not serve as a QHIN so long as the applicant is the RCE, should the applicant be awarded as the RCE.”

    Per the NOFO, under Program-Specific Terms and Conditions (Section 6.C.III on page 48-49):

    “The RCE will also be required to meet and maintain certain independence criteria throughout the Cooperative Agreement, in that, if the recipient has an affiliated operating entity that would otherwise qualify as a prospective QHIN, such entity shall never serve as a QHIN during the time the recipient serves as the RCE.”

  3. Q: Can you clarify the implications if the funding is insufficient to perform the work? Has ONC considered the risk of an organization undertaking this substantial work, with unclear and speculative future funding?

    A: Per the NOFO, under the Funding Opportunity Award Information in Section 2.A (pp 23-24):

    “Funding of future noncompeting continuation awards is conditioned on the availability of funds, satisfactory progress by the recipient, and an awarding office determination that continued funding of the award is in the best interests of the Government…. It is important to note that progress must be made toward achieving the milestones as outlined in the RCE’s approved budget and program narrative.”

    Per Section 1 of the NOFO, under Program Description (pp 9-10):

    “This Cooperative Agreement will fund a single award with a 4-year program period of performance. The program will be funded for fiscal year 2019 at $900,000, with funding in additional years contingent upon availability of funds, satisfactory completion of milestones, and a determination that continued funding is in the best interest of the federal government and the public.”

    Per Section 4 of the NOFO, under Application and Submission Information (pp 34-37):

    “While initial funding will be awarded for the first year of the program, the recipient must submit a budget to reflect the costs anticipated for the entire program period.”

  4. Q: If an applicant has a non-profit that may play a role but likely may not be well suited to take this on alone, how might that company connect with other prospective bidders?

    A: In an effort to ensure the application process remains objective and fair, ONC is unable to provide guidance on how applicants should connect with other prospective bidders.

    Per the Executive Summary (p 6) of the NOFO:

    “Entities may enter into multi-organizational agreements to apply to this notice of funding opportunity. However, one singular entity must be the Applicant; act as the responsible agent; submit the application on behalf of all partners, who must provide written documentation affirming the Applicant’s role as their agent; and maintain accountability for the proper use of federal funds.”

    Per the Funding Opportunity Description, under Section 1.C (p 10) of the NOFO:

    “To meet the goals of the Cures Act to build on existing work done by the industry, and to scale interoperability nationwide, ONC believes that an external entity is well suited to implement and monitor compliance with the Common Agreement on behalf of ONC.”

  5. Q: Can an applicant have membership interest in another non-profit corporation that serves as a QHIN if there is no control over that other non-profit and if that non-profit has its own governance?

    A: It is possible for an applicant to have a membership interest in another entity that would otherwise qualify as a prospective QHIN; however, multiple considerations would apply, including the following.

    Per the NOFO, under Program-Specific Terms and Conditions (Section 6.C.III on page 48-49):

    “The RCE will also be required to meet and maintain certain independence criteria throughout the Cooperative Agreement, in that, if the recipient has an affiliated operating entity that would otherwise qualify as a prospective QHIN, such entity shall never serve as a QHIN during the time the recipient serves as the RCE.”

    Additionally, per the NOFO, under the Program Narrative, Collaborator Involvement and Partnership section (Section 4.B.II.e on page 34):

    “Applicants must provide confirmation that if they have an affiliation with an operating entity that would otherwise qualify as a prospective QHIN, that entity shall not serve as a QHIN so long as the applicant is the RCE, should the applicant be awarded as the RCE.”

    See also the answer to Question 2, which is relevant, because it provides definitions of “affiliated” and “operating entity”.

  6. Q: What kind of relationships between an applicant and an operating network trigger the requirement for them not to be a QHIN, vs. what kind of relationships do not trigger the prohibition against the network operating as a QHIN?

    A: Per the NOFO, under Collaborator Involvement and Partnership (Section 4.B.II.e on page 34, and Section 5.A on page 43):

    “Applicants must provide confirmation that if they have an affiliation with an operating entity that would otherwise qualify as a prospective QHIN, that entity shall not serve as a QHIN so long as the applicant is the RCE, should the applicant be awarded as the RCE.”

    Also per the NOFO, under Program-Specific Terms and Conditions (Section 6.C.III on page 48-49):

    “The RCE will also be required to meet and maintain certain independence criteria throughout the Cooperative Agreement, in that, if the recipient has an affiliated operating entity that would otherwise qualify as a prospective QHIN, such entity shall never serve as a QHIN during the time the recipient serves as the RCE.”

    See also the answer to Question 2, which is relevant, because it provides definitions of “affiliated” and “operating entity”.

  7. Q: I am seeking the materials for the presentation held on April 30, 2019, 2-3:00PM ET. Can you please tell me when these materials will be available to the public?

    A: The informational webinar on the TEFCA RCE Notice of Funding Opportunity was held on Tuesday, April 30, 2019, at 2:00 p.m. ET. The webinar materials are available here on healthIT.gov.

  8. Q: Can you please provide the slides from the April 30th webinar? In addition, are you all compiling and providing a list of any questions submitted?

    A: Please refer to the answer in question 7.

    All questions submitted will be answered in the form of an FAQ that will be updated weekly here at healthIT.gov.

Content last reviewed on June 13, 2019
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