UPDATE to American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA): AHRQ Grant Policy Notice Removing Expanded Authorities and No Cost Extensions for AHRQ ARRA Grants

Notice Number: NOT-HS-12-002

Key Dates
Release Date: November 30, 2011

Related Notices
NOT-HS-10-016: American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA): AHRQ Grant Policy Notice Removing Expanded Authorities and No Cost Extensions for AHRQ ARRA Grants

Issued by
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), (http://www.ahrq.gov)

Purpose

This Guide Notice updates Notice HS-10-016 (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-HS-10-016.html) regarding grant awards issued by AHRQ under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA).

In accordance with policy guidance provided by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on September 15, 2011, Federal agencies are directed to accelerate the spending of remaining Recovery Act funds in discretionary grant programs, consistent with existing laws and regulations and programmatic objectives.  If funds have not been spent by September 30, 2013, agencies shall reclaim the funds to the extent permitted by law.  Therefore, Federal agencies are directed to take steps to complete Recovery Act projects by September 30, 2013.  Awarding agencies are to work with recipients of discretionary Recovery Act grants to accelerate the spending rate for all awarded funds while still achieving core programmatic objectives. 
Federal agencies may request waivers from the September 30, 2013, deadline for discretionary grant funds where contractual commitments by the grantee with vendors or sub-recipients prevent adjusting the timeline for spending, where a project must undergo a complex environmental review that cannot be completed within this timeframe, where programs are long-term by design (such as the majority of the High Speed Rail program) and therefore acceleration would compromise core programmatic goals, or where other special circumstances exist.  Agencies should request such waivers sparingly, and waivers will be granted only due to compelling legal, policy, or operational challenges.  Agencies must submit all proposed waivers to OMB for review and approval by September 30, 2012.  Any waiver requests must be made directly by the head of the awarding agency.

Based on the additional policy guidance from OMB, AHRQ is reiterating its position and expectations to AHRQ ARRA grant recipients as follows:

  1. That the primary goal of all AHRQ ARRA awards is to create U.S. jobs and accelerate the pace of health services research.
  2. That recipients will expend project funds in a timely and expeditious manner in accordance with the expected pace of research.
  3. That recipients will complete all grant activities consistent with the schedule of the approved project period; all Recovery Act grants must be completed within the timeframe set forth in the originally approved project period.
  4. That AHRQ ARRA awards were not issued under Expanded Authorities.
  5. That any unexpected delays should be addressed promptly to ensure the timely completion of all planned grant activities.

Policies

In addition, AHRQ is notifying its ARRA grant recipients that AHRQ’s original policy of generally not intending to allow no cost extensions for Recovery Act grants is modified as follows:
AHRQ does not anticipate that any AHRQ ARRA grant with a project period end date of September 29, 2013, qualifies for consideration of submission of a waiver by the Director of AHRQ or HHS to OMB to extend beyond the original project period end date. AHRQ does not intend to allow any no cost extensions for Recovery Act grants with project period end dates of September 29, 2013.

If an AHRQ ARRA recipient believes that its project warrants an exception to this policy, it must submit a request, endorsed by an authorized institutional official, to AHRQ Grants Management no later than June 29, 2012 for review and consideration.  The request must contain compelling rationale and documentation to support the submission of a waiver request to OMB. 

For AHRQ ARRA grants with original project period end dates that are prior to September 29, 2013 (with the exception of  T32’s and K12’s), consideration by AHRQ of any request for additional time to complete grant activities will be undertaken only in very limited circumstances (see  NOT HS-10-016), and in no case extend beyond September 30, 2013. 

For AHRQ ARRA T32 and K12 grant recipients, extensions will be approved to allow trainees and scholars to complete their 12 month appointment as long as the appointment ends prior to September 30, 2013.  In no case will appointments or T32 or K12 grants extend beyond September 30, 2013.

Unexpended funds remaining at the end of an ARRA grant’s original project period must be reported as unobligated on the final Federal Financial Report (FFR, SF 425) due within 90 days of the project period end date, and will be returned to the federal government.  The final FFR may not report any unliquidated obligations.

Inquiries

Questions concerning this Notice should be referred to the AHRQ Grants Management Specialist assigned to a specific grant or to:  gmi@ahrq.hhs.gov.


Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices


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