Important Information Regarding AHRQ Only Non-competing Awards Converted to a Payment Management System Subaccount in FY 2015

Notice Number: NOT-HS-15-009

Key Dates
Release Date:   May 28, 2015

Related Announcements
NOT-HS-14-002 – AHRQ Awards to Transition to Payment Management System Subaccounts in FY 2014 and FY 2015 
NOT-HS-16-012 - Important Information for AHRQ Grantees Regarding FFR Instructions for AHRQ Awards that Transitioned to Subaccounts in the Payment Management System in FY 2015

Issued by
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

Purpose

This Notice informs AHRQ recipients of non-competing continuation awards that are being, or have been, converted from a Payment Management System (PMS) pooled account (“G” account) to a PMS subaccount (“P” account) in FY2015 of revised AHRQ implementation plans concerning drawing down funds from these transitioned accounts. 

Background

The Guide Notice HS-14-002, referenced above, advised AHRQ grantees that in accordance with new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) payment policies for grant awards, AHRQ would transition payment for grant awards from PMS pooled accounts (G accounts) to PMS subaccounts (P accounts).

Between October 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014, AHRQ transitioned payment for all FY 2014 domestic awards with new document numbers (i.e., Types 1, 2, 6, and 7) from PMS pooled accounts (G accounts) to PMS subaccounts (P subaccounts).  Any resultant Type 5 (non-competing continuation) awards will also be issued in subaccounts in future fiscal years.

AHRQ implementation for FY 2015 non-competing continuation awards that had not already transitioned to subaccounts began 10/1/2014.   For this population of non-competing continuation awards, PMS establishes a subaccount for each AHRQ award made on or after 10/1/2014 by creating a new document number in which the last character of the original document number changes (e.g., from RHS012345A to RHS012345B).  AHRQ issues the non-competing award as a “funded extension” (Type 4), solely for the purpose of the transition.  This use of the Type 4 enables AHRQ to separately track obligations and payments for grants that span Federal FYs 2014 and 2015. In addition to changing the record Type from 5 to 4 and the document number for the FY 2015 award, AHRQ will change the project period end date of the FY 2014 award when the FY 2015 award is issued. The FY 2014 project period end date will be changed to be the same as the budget period end date. This effectively breaks the original single competitive segment into two shorter competitive segments. The FY 2014 award becomes the final year of the first competitive segment and requires final Federal Financial Report (FFR) expenditure data.


Revised AHRQ Implementation Plans for Non-competing AHRQ Awards Converted from PMS Pooled Accounts to PMS Subaccounts Issued during FY 2015 (October 1, 2014 – September 30, 2015)

While our goal was to make this transition as seamless as possible for grantees, current limitations in PMS prevent implementation of an automated process for transferring unexpended funds from a pooled account to a subaccount.  It is anticipated that grantee compliance with the revised implementation plans described below will ensure that all obligated funding is available to the grantee and is expended in a manner that facilitates timely implementation of the new HHS PMS subaccount policy.

Note that the AHRQ implementation of the transition to PMS subaccounts for non-competing continuation awards is occurring a full fiscal year ahead of the NIH transition (see NIH NOT-OD-14-103) as AHRQ’s request to delay the transition of non-competing continuation awards for an additional year was not approved by HHS.

Awards with Expanded Authority:  For AHRQ non-competing continuation awards with expanded authority that are or have been converted from a pooled account to a subaccount during FY 2015, it is important that the AHRQ grant recipient fully draw down all funds in the PMS pooled account before drawing down funds from the PMS subaccount.  Any recipient that has already drawn down funds from the subaccount before exhausting funds in the pooled account is asked to adjust their drawdown request to instead draw funds from the pooled account.  Recipients should refrain from drawing funds from the subaccount until all funds are drawn from the pooled account.

EXAMPLE:

Grant number R01 HS012345-03 was issued on 3/1/2015 for $500,000. The issuance of the 03-year award transitioned this project to a subaccount by creating a new document in the Payment Management System (PMS) (RHS012345B).

The 01 and 02 year awards were awarded as follows and reside in RHS012345A in PMS:

R01 HS 012345-01 was issued for $500,000
R01 HS 012345-02 was issued for $500,000
The total authorized amount is $1,000,000.

The FFR data for years 01 and 02 is as follows:

R01 HS 012345-01       Cumulative Authorized $500,000
Total Federal Share of Expenditures $400,000
Total Unobligated Balance $100,000

R01 HS 012345-02       Cumulative Authorized $1,000,000
Total Federal Share of Expenditures $925,000
Total Unobligated Balance $75,000

With the award of the 03 year on 03/01/2015, a subaccount was created (RHS012345B), and the balances of the PMS accounts were as follows:

RHS012345A                $75,000 (unobligated balance from the 02 year)
RHS012345B                $500,000 (funding for the 03 year)

At the end of the first quarter of the R01 HS012345-03 award, the grantee had spent $175,000.  It withdrew $75,000 from the RHS012345A account and $100,000 from the RHS012345B account, resulting in the following balances as of 06/01/2015:

RHS012345A                $0
RHS012345B                $400,000

The pooled account (RHS012345A) will automatically close when the balance is zero.  For the remainder of the award the grantee will draw down funds from RHS012345B.

AHRQ will not automatically transfer the remaining unobligated balance of $75,000 from document RHS012345A to RHS012345B. The grantee is responsible for expending the $75,000 remaining in the A document, on a first-in-first-out basis, prior to drawing funds from the B document. AHRQ estimates most grantees will be able to expend all funds remaining in the pooled account within one to two full quarterly reporting cycles in the Payment Management System after the transition has occurred.

T32 Awards:  For T32 recipients, grantees should not draw down any funds from the pooled account that have been reported as an unobligated balance on the Federal Financial Report (FFR) for the final budget period in which the grant was in a pooled account (this should normally be funds that were awarded in FY 2014).  These funds will be used as an offset to a future year award and will be manually transferred by AHRQ to the PMS subaccount.

Awards that Do Not Have Expanded Authority:  For awards that do not have expanded authority, a final Federal Financial Report (FFR) for the final budget period in which the grant was in a pooled account (this should normally be funds that were awarded in FY 2014) must be submitted before AHRQ will consider transferring funds from the pooled account (G) to the subaccount (P).  The grantee is required to submit a prior approval request to carryover unobligated funds. The request needs to include an explanation of why funds remain unexpended, a statement of research activities to be accomplished if the carryover is approved, and a detailed budget page and budget justification.  If the request is approved, a revised NoA reflecting the approved carryover amount will be issued and AHRQ will transfer funds equal to the amount approved for carryover from the PMS G account to the PMS P subaccount.  Failure to submit FFR expenditure data in a timely manner may affect future funding.

Inquiries

Please direct all inquiries to:

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Grants Management Office
Telephone: 301-427-1447
Email: GrantsManagementInbox@ahrq.hhs.gov