Department of Health and Human Services
Part 1. Overview Information -- 4 20 2016
Participating Organization(s)

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

NOTE:  The policies, guidelines, terms, and conditions stated in this announcement may differ from those used by the NIH.  Where this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) provides specific written guidance that may differ from the general guidance provided in the grant application form, please follow the instructions given in this FOA. Also note that AHRQ may have different page limits than NIH for the application Research Strategy; if this is the case, page limits are indicated within the individual FOA. AHRQ Grants Policy and Information to applicants regarding Funding Opportunity Announcement procedures can be found at http://www.ahrq.gov/funding/policies/foaguidance/index.html

Components of Participating Organizations

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

Funding Opportunity Title
Pediatric Quality Measures Program (PQMP): Dissemination and Implementation of Child Health Quality Measures Cooperative Research Grants (U18)
Activity Code

U18 Research Demonstration – Cooperative Agreements

Announcement Type

New

Related Notices
  • May 4, 2016 - Notice of Update to AHRQ FOA RFA-HS-16-002. See Notice NOT-HS-16-014.
  • NOT-OD-16-004 - NIH & AHRQ Announce Upcoming Changes to Policies, Instructions and Forms for 2016 Grant Applications (November 18, 2015)
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

RFA-HS-16-002

Companion Funding Opportunity

None

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s)

93.226 

Funding Opportunity Purpose

The FOA invites cooperative agreement applications to support the dissemination and implementation of a subset of new child health quality measures developed by the Pediatric Quality Measures Program-Centers of Excellence (PQMP-COE) in key pediatric measurement and quality improvement (QI) gap areas through the work of multi-disciplinary partnership teams.  These teams include pediatric measure developers, QI and systems experts, state Medicaid/CHIP programs, health plans, provider-level organizations, and other key stakeholders. 

The partnership teams will have two key goals focused on assessing the feasibility and usability of the new PQMP-COE measures within the Medicaid/CHIP patient populations at the state, health plan, and provider levels to support performance monitoring and QI through: (A) field testing, refinement, data collection, and reporting on new measures; and (B) use of performance data from the measures to define QI goals and test multilevel improvement strategies. 

Key Dates
Posted Date

April 22, 2016

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

May 28, 2016

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

May 27, 2016

Application Due Date(s)

June 28, 2016, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization.

Applicants are encouraged to apply early to allow adequate time to make any corrections to errors found in the application during the submission process by the due date.

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

 Not Applicable

Scientific Merit Review

 Generally, four months after receipt date.

Advisory Council Review

Not Applicable

Earliest Start Date

Generally, four months after peer review date.

Expiration Date

June 29, 2016

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, except where instructed to do otherwise (in this FOA or in a Notice from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts). Conformance to all requirements (both in the Application Guide and the FOA) is required and strictly enforced. Applicants must read and follow all application instructions in the Application Guide as well as any program-specific instructions noted in Section IV. When the program-specific instructions deviate from those in the Application Guide, follow the program-specific instructions. Applications that do not comply with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.


Table of Contents

Part 1. Overview Information
Part 2. Full Text of the Announcement

Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
Section II. Award Information
Section III. Eligibility Information
Section IV. Application and Submission Information
Section V. Application Review Information
Section VI. Award Administration Information
Section VII. Agency Contacts
Section VIII. Other Information


Part 2. Full Text of Announcement
Section I. Funding Opportunity Description

The FOA invites cooperative agreement applications to support the dissemination and implementation of a subset of new child health quality measures developed by the Pediatric Quality Measures Program-Centers of Excellence (PQMP-COE) in key pediatric measurement and quality improvement (QI) gap areas through the work of multi-disciplinary partnership teams.  These teams include pediatric measure developers, QI and systems experts, state Medicaid/CHIP programs, health plans, provider-level organizations, and other key stakeholders. 

The partnership teams will have two key goals focused on assessing the feasibility and usability of the new PQMP-COE measures within the Medicaid/CHIP patient populations at the state, health plan, and provider levels to support performance monitoring and QI through: (A) field testing, refinement, data collection, and reporting on new measures; and (B) use of performance data from the measures to define QI goals and test multilevel improvement strategies.

Background

Together, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) serve more than 43 million children annually, representing more than 1 in 3 children in the United States.  Medicaid/CHIP play a key role in ensuring that low-income children get health care coverage, access to a comprehensive set of benefits, and other medically necessary services.  The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is working closely with states, health plans, and providers to ensure a high-quality system of care for children in Medicaid/CHIP. 

The AHRQ-CMS Pediatric Quality Measures Program (PQMP) is a central component to the overall HHS strategy for implementing Public Law 111-3, the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA), to support state Medicaid/CHIP agencies in collecting and reporting on a core set of standardized child health quality measures (“Initial Core Set” now called the “Child Core Set”) in alignment with other quality measures collected by states, health plans, and providers. The primary goal for Child Core Set--and more broadly the implementation of pediatric quality measures--is to achieve better care, a healthier population, and affordable care as identified in the HHS’ National Strategy for Quality Improvement in Health Care.  

As identified in CHIPRA Title IV, Sec. 401, the PQMP was established to increase the portfolio of evidence-based, consensus pediatric quality measures available to public and private purchasers of children's health care services.  This current FOA to continue the work of the PQMP is funded through Public Law 114-10, effective April 16, 2015, and known as “The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015” (MACRA), Section 304(b).

The initial phase of the PQMP focused on developing new and enhanced pediatric measures to improve children’s quality of care through cooperative agreement grants with the PQMP-COEs. This new phase of the PQMP builds on the work previously completed in the first phase [see: http://www.ahrq.gov/policymakers/chipra/pqmpback.html] with a shift in focus to disseminating and implementing the PQMP-COE measures.  More specifically, the new phase of work will focus on assessing the feasibility and usability of the newly-developed PQMP-COE measures at the state, health plan, and provider levels.  Overall, this effort will build knowledge and evidence to support performance monitoring and QI for children in Medicaid/CHIP by: increasing the number of new measures being implemented and reported at multiple levels (state, health plan, and provider) in key gap areas; informing efforts to streamline data collection and reporting processes; and supporting states to drive improvement in health care quality using the Child Core Measures and the PQMP-COE measures. 

Project Scope and Specific Objectives

The FOA is aimed at supporting the dissemination and implementation of a subset of new child health quality measures developed by the Pediatric Quality Measures Program-Centers of Excellence (PQMP-COE) in key pediatric measurement and QI gap areas through the work of multi-disciplinary partnership teams.  These teams include pediatric measure developers, QI and systems experts, state Medicaid/CHIP programs, health plans, provider-level organizations, and other key stakeholders. 

The partnership teams will have two key goals focused on assessing the feasibility (data required for measure is available or can be captured without undue burden) and usability (measure will provide practical and meaningful data for performance monitoring and QI efforts) of the new PQMP-COE measures within the Medicaid/CHIP patient populations at the state, health plan and provider levels to support performance monitoring and QI through: (A) field testing, refinement, data collection, and reporting on new measures; and (B) use of performance data from the measures to define QI goals and test multilevel improvement strategies. 

Partnership teams will work collaboratively to meet the following specific objectives which fall under goals A and B above:

  • Identify and recruit multi-disciplinary team (additional information below);
  • Prioritize and select measures/measure sets drawn from those developed by PQMP-COEs (additional information below);
  • Field test to ensure scientific acceptability of measures (reliability and validity) as well as, feasibility and usability, and  also refine measure specifications based on testing to support use of measures by Medicaid/CHIP programs at the state, health plan, and provider levels;
  • Develop strategies for streamlining data collection and reporting of measures/measure sets needed to facilitate performance monitoring and QI at the state, health plan, and provider levels;
  • Identify opportunities for measures to be e-specified and/or collected via electronic medical record, registries, health information exchanges or other health information systems;
  • As appropriate, prepare and submit measures to National Quality Forum/HHS-Consensus Based Entity, leveraging field testing results;
  • Use performance data on measures/measure sets to define QI goal, strategies and implementation plan (including frameworks and driver models)
  • Implement and evaluate improvement strategies at the state, health plan, and provider levels, within identified focus areas utilizing rapid-cycle improvement methods;
  • Produce outcomes including, but not limited to: testing and data collection plans for measures; refined measure specifications; reports on field testing including (but not limited to) scientific acceptability, feasibility and usability of measures at different levels (provider, health plan, and state) for both performance monitoring and QI, documentation of QI strategies and associated tool kits, and PQMP-Learning Collaborative (additional information below) joint work/products, to support dissemination and implementation efforts.  Reporting on practical application along with implementation successes and challenges will also be prioritized. 
Multi-disciplinary Teams

While applications must be submitted by single, eligible organizations, AHRQ recognizes that the scope and breadth of this project is best carried out through partnerships of multiple entities and, thus, strongly encourages applications that bring together the skills, experiences, and resources necessary to meet the key goals.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to identify and recruit team members representing key stakeholders. 

Letters of commitment from all partners outlining expectations and roles with regard to participation in and support of team and goals/objectives of the PQMP are required.  To the extent that access to data sources will be critical for field testing/refinement and the application of these measures for monitoring and QI, letters of support from data holders should also be included with detailed descriptions of how access to data will be facilitated for the partnership teams while maintaining applicable patient privacy requirements.   

Partnership teams must include the state Medicaid or CHIP agency, External Quality Review Organizations (where managed care contracts are in place), and at least one provider group/ organization that serves Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries (including, but not limited to, Federally Qualified Health Centers and Academic Pediatric Centers including Children’s Hospitals).

Partnership teams may also include other entities/stakeholders necessary to improve the quality of care and health of Medicaid/CHIP enrollees, including academic researchers, QI and systems experts, managed care organizations/health plans, hospitals, health systems, health clinics, community resources, provider groups, families, and other state agencies responsible for children enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP (including those overseeing behavioral and mental health, social services, and education).  

Partnership teams are encouraged to consider inclusion of multiple state partners where there are common performance measurement and QI goals. Designated leads for goals A (testing/refinement of measures) and B (QI focus) are strongly encouraged, in addition to the principal investigator (PI) overseeing overall dissemination and implementation project activities.  

Prioritizing Measures

Partnership teams should prioritize "sets" of measures drawn from those developed by the PQMP-COEs that reflect common performance and QI goals of partnership team members.  Ideally partnerships would select 2-3 sets of measures.  A "set" is comprised of 2 or more measures organized under a focus area (e.g., behavioral and mental health, perinatal health, acute conditions, chronic conditions, preventive care, family experiences, access to care/services, and medical complexity) and/or condition (e.g., asthma, sickle cell, dental, ADHD, high risk pregnancy).  A special emphasis should be placed on inclusion of PQMP-COE measures already incorporated in the Child Core Set. Measures should be able to support both performance monitoring and QI at multiple levels.  For information on PQMP-COE measure technical specifications see: http://www.ahrq.gov/policymakers/chipra/pqmpback.html or contact: Teresa Hammond (Teresa.Hammond@ahrq.hhs.gov).

PQMP Learning Collaborative

Additionally, this work will be performed through a collaborative model (within and between partnership teams), focused on improving understanding of best practices for dissemination and implementation of quality measures to build capacity and sustainability for performance monitoring and QI efforts within the Medicaid/CHIP patient populations at the state, health plan and provider levels. 

Partnership teams will be required to participate in the PQMP Learning Collaborative (PQMP-LC) led by AHRQ in collaboration with CMS, which will support and foster collaboration within and between individual grantee partnership teams.   The PQMP-LC will have bi-weekly web-based meetings and will also meet in-person annually.  Applicants should plan and budget for three team members (PI, implementation lead, QI lead) to travel to the Washington, DC area once a year for each year of the grant to participate in a one or two-day grantee meeting.

Specific Areas of Research Interest

This cooperative agreement provides an opportunity to enhance understanding regarding the feasibility and usability of newly developed measures by testing a variety of different measurement and QI approaches to answer the following important questions:

  • How can the same measure be used to evaluate quality of care between multiple levels (i.e., state, health plan, and provider levels) to ascertain how improvement at one level drives overall improvement at the state level? 
  • How might relative performance be compared at each level, such as between different provider groups/organizations (e.g., Federally Qualified Health Centers, pediatric group practice, multi-specialty group practice) or between different Accountable Care Organizations/managed care health plans?
  • What measurement (e.g., data collection, reporting, QI) challenges and successes are identified at different levels (e.g., state, health plan, practice, provider, patient levels)?
  • What are evidence-based and scientifically sound methods for benchmarking progress on these measures? What level of improvement can be expected for measures--and in what time frame --taking into account different QI approach(es) undertaken at different levels? For example, if improvement is likely to be more rapid at the provider-level, what are the implications for performance targets established at the state-level?
  • For those measures for which improvement is unlikely to be seen within the CMS annual reporting cycle (calendar year), how might “intermediate” progress be measured at other levels which would predict improvement at the state-level, with a high predictive value? 
  • What are the appropriate uses for each measure and each level of measurement, given a measure's “intended use” by developer/steward? What are the different standards and criteria that should be applied to the development and use of measures used for payment versus QI?   How do we determine measures can be appropriately used/ aggregated at multiple levels (state, health plan, and provider levels) and be “folded up or down”?

Applicants must provide a detailed approach to achieve goals (A and B), including the plans to address each of the "Specific Objectives" as well as the "Specific Areas of Research Interest".  Associated improvement frameworks and driver diagrams should be included as part of the application.  Applications may also address additional areas central to implementation not noted above.    

See Section VIII. Other Information for award authorities and regulations.
Section II. Award Information
Funding Instrument

Cooperative Agreement: A support mechanism used when there will be substantial Federal scientific or programmatic involvement. Substantial involvement means that, after award, AHRQ scientific or program staff will assist, guide, coordinate, or participate in project activities. See Section VI.2 for additional information about the substantial involvement for this FOA.

Application Types Allowed

New

The OER Glossary and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide provide details on these application types.

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

The number of awards is contingent upon HHS appropriations and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications. Future year amounts will depend on annual appropriations.

AHRQ intends to fund up to 6 awards, corresponding to a total of $3,350,000, for fiscal year 2016.

Award Budget

The total costs (direct and indirect) for a project awarded under this FOA will not exceed $675,000 per year and $2,700,000 for the entire project period. 

Award Project Period

The project period may not exceed 4 years.

These projects are authorized by 42 U.S.C. 299a, which provides that AHRQ shall conduct and support research, support demonstration projects, and disseminate information on health care and on systems for the delivery of such care, including activities with respect to the quality, effectiveness, efficiency, appropriateness, and value of health care services.

All applications submitted and AHRQ grants made in response to this FOA are subject to 45 CFR Part 75 (Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for HHS Awards; http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?node=pt45.1.75) , the HHS Grants Policy Statement (see http://www.ahrq.gov/funding/policies/hhspolicy/index.html and  http://www.hhs.gov/asfr/ogapa/aboutog/hhsgps107.pdf), and the terms and conditions set forth in the Notice of Award.

Section III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants
Eligible Organizations

You may submit an application(s) if your institution/organization is a (an):

  • Public or non-profit private institution, such as a university, college, or a faith-based or community-based organization;
  • For-profit private institution;
  • Unit of local or State government;
  • Eligible agency of the Federal government (as determined by HHS policy);
  • Indian/Native American Tribal Government (Federally recognized)
  • Indian/Native American Tribal Government (Other than Federally recognized);
  • Indian/Native American Tribally Designated Organization.

The following types of Higher Education Institutions are always encouraged to apply for AHRQ support as Public or Non-Profit Private Institutions of Higher Education:

  • Hispanic-serving Institutions
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
  • Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs)
  • Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions
  • Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs)

Because the purpose of this program is to improve healthcare in the United States, foreign institutions may participate in projects as members of consortia or as subcontractors only.  Applications submitted by foreign institutions will not be reviewed.  Organizations described in section 501(c) 4 of the Internal Revenue Code that engage in lobbying are not eligible.

HHS grants policy requires that the grant recipient perform a substantive role in the conduct of the planned project or program activity and not merely serve as a conduit of funds to another party or parties. If consortium/contractual activities represent a significant portion of the overall project, the applicant must justify why the applicant organization, rather than the party(s) performing this portion of the overall project, should be the grantee and what substantive role the applicant organization will play. Justification can be provided in the Specific Aims or Research Strategy section of the PHS398 Research Plan Component sections of the SF424 (R&R) application.  There is no budget allocation guideline for determining substantial involvement; determination of substantial involvement is based on a review of the primary project activities for which grant support is provided and the organization(s) that will be performing those activities.

Foreign Institutions

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.

Required Registrations

Applicant Organizations

Applicant organizations must complete and maintain the following registrations as described in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide to be eligible to apply for or receive an award. All registrations must be completed prior to the application being submitted. Registration can take 6 weeks or more, so applicants should begin the registration process as soon as possible. The NIH Policy on Late Submission of Grant Applications states that failure to complete registrations in advance of a due date is not a valid reason for a late submission.

  • Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) - All registrations require that applicants be issued a DUNS number. After obtaining a DUNS number, applicants can begin both SAM and eRA Commons registrations. The same DUNS number must be used for all registrations, as well as on the grant application.
  • System for Award Management (SAM) (formerly CCR) – Applicants must complete and maintain an active registration, which requires renewal at least annually. The renewal process may require as much time as the initial registration. SAM registration includes the assignment of a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code for domestic organizations which have not already been assigned a CAGE Code.
  • NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) Code – Foreign organizations must obtain an NCAGE code (in lieu of a CAGE code) in order to register in SAM. 
  • eRA Commons - Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the eRA Commons registration. Organizations can register with the eRA Commons as they are working through their SAM or Grants.gov registration. eRA Commons requires organizations to identify at least one Signing Official (SO) and at least one Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) account in order to submit an application.
  • Grants.gov – Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the Grants.gov registration.

Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD/PI)

The PD/PI must have an eRA Commons account.  The PD/PI should work with his/her organizational officials to either create a new account or to affiliate their existing account with the applicant organization in eRA Commons. If the PD/PI is also the organizational Signing Official, he/she must have two distinct eRA Commons accounts, one for each role. Obtaining an eRA Commons account can take up to 2 weeks.

Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) is invited to work with his/her organization to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for AHRQ support.

Only one PD/PI may be designated on the application.

2. Cost Sharing

This FOA does not require cost sharing.

While there is no cost sharing requirement included in this FOA, AHRQ welcomes applicant institutions, including any collaborating institutions, to devote resources to this effort.  An indication of institutional support from the applicant and its collaborators indicates a greater potential of success and sustainability of the project.  Examples of institutional support would include: donated equipment and space, institutional funded staff time and effort, or other resource investments.  Applicant institutions should indicate institutional support by outlining the specific contributions to the project and providing assurances that their organization and any collaborators are committed to providing these funds and resources to the project. This information can be included at the end of the budget justification section of the application, but institutional support dollars are not to be shown/included in the detailed budget request. 

3. Additional Information on Eligibility
Number of Applications

Applicant organizations may submit more than one application, provided that each application is scientifically distinct.

AHRQ will not accept duplicate or highly overlapping applications under review at the same time.  This means that AHRQ will not accept:

  • A new (A0) application that is submitted before issuance of the summary statement from the review of an overlapping new (A0) or resubmission (A1) application.
  • A resubmission (A1) application that is submitted before issuance of the summary statement from the review of the previous new (A0) application.
  • An application that has substantial overlap with another application pending appeal of initial peer review (see NOT-OD-11-101).
Section IV. Application and Submission Information
1. Requesting an Application Package

Applicants must obtain the SF424 (R&R) application package associated with this funding opportunity using the “Apply for Grant Electronically” button in this FOA or following the directions provided at Grants.gov.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, including Supplemental Grant Application Instructions except where instructed in this funding opportunity announcement to do otherwise. Conformance to the requirements in the Application Guide is required and strictly enforced. Applications that are out of compliance with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

For information on Application Submission and Receipt, visit Frequently Asked Questions – Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.

Letter of Intent

Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does not enter into the review of a subsequent application, the information that it contains allows AHRQ staff to estimate the potential review workload and plan the review.

By the date listed in Part 1. Overview Information, prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes the following information:

  • Number and title of this funding opportunity
  • Descriptive title of proposed activity
  • Name(s), address(es), email (s) and telephone number(s) of the PD/PI
  • Names and background expertise of key personnel/partnership team members
  • Nature and role of participating institution(s)
  • Proposed prioritized measure set(s)

Please send the letter of intent electronically to: 

Kamila Mistry PhD MPH
Senior Advisor, Child Health and Quality Improvement
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Email: kamila.mistry@ahrq.hhs.gov  

NOTE:  Please mark subject line of email as "PQMP LOI"

Page Limitations

All page limitations described in the SF424 Application Guide and the Table of Page Limits must be followed, with the following exceptions or additional requirements:

Instructions for Application Submission

The following section supplements the instructions found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and should be used for preparing an application to this FOA.

SF424(R&R) Cover

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.  

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.  

SF424(R&R) Other Project Information

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.  

SF424(R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed. 

R&R or Modular Budget

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions:

Budget Component:  Special Instructions for AHRQ applications

AHRQ is not using the Modular Grant Application and Award Process.  Applicants for funding from AHRQ are to ignore application instructions concerning the Modular Grant Application and Award Process, and prepare applications using instructions for the Research and Related Budget Components of the SF 424 (R&R).  Applications submitted in the Modular format will not be reviewed.

R&R Subaward Budget

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.  

PHS 398 Research Plan

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide that are not otherwise specified within this Funding Opportunity Announcement must be followed, with the following additional instructions: 

Appendix:  Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide with the following modification: An appendix may be used to include letters that detail support and commitment from partnership team members.

PHS Inclusion Enrollment Report

When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing PHS Inclusion Enrollment Report as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

PHS Assignment Request Form

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed. 

3. Unique Entity Identifier and System for Award Management (SAM)

See Part 1. Section III.1 for information regarding the requirement for obtaining a unique entity identifier and for completing and maintaining active registrations in System for Award Management (SAM), NATO Commercial and Government Entity (NCAGE) Code (if applicable), eRA Commons, and Grants.gov

4. Submission Dates and Times

Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates and times. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications before the due date to ensure they have time to make any application corrections that might be necessary for successful submission. When a submission date falls on a weekend or Federal holiday, the application deadline is automatically extended to the next business day.

Organizations must submit applications to Grants.gov (the online portal to find and apply for grants across all Federal agencies). Applicants must then complete the submission process by tracking the status of the application in the eRA Commons, NIH’s electronic system for grants administration. NIH and Grants.gov systems check the application against many of the application instructions upon submission. Errors must be corrected and a changed/corrected application must be submitted to Grants.gov on or before the application due date and time.  If a Changed/Corrected application is submitted after the deadline, the application will be considered late. Applications that miss the due date and time are subjected to the NIH Policy on Late Application Submission.

Applicants are responsible for viewing their application before the due date in the eRA Commons to ensure accurate and successful submission.

Information on the submission process and a definition of on-time submission are provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

5. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

6. Funding Restrictions

For efficient grant administration, AHRQ grant administration procedures will be used and conducted in accordance with the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the HHS Grants Policy Statement. The Grants Policy Statement can be found at http://www.ahrq.gov/funding/grants/policies/hhspolicy.html.

Pre-award costs are not allowable.

7. Other Submission Requirements and Information

Applications must be submitted electronically following the instructions described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.  Paper applications will not be accepted.

Applicants must complete all required registrations before the application due date. Section III. Eligibility Information contains information about registration.

For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit Applying Electronically. If you encounter a system issue beyond your control that threatens your ability to complete the submission process on-time, you must follow the Guidelines for Applicants Experiencing System Issues. For assistance with application submission, contact the Application Submission Contacts in Section VII.

Important reminders:

The PD/PI must include his/her eRA Commons ID in the Credential field of the Senior/Key Person Profile Component of the SF424(R&R) Application Package. Failure to register in the Commons and to include a valid PD/PI Commons ID in the credential field will prevent the successful submission of an electronic application to NIH. See Section III of this FOA for information on registration requirements.

The applicant organization must ensure that the DUNS number it provides on the application is the same number used in the organization’s profile in the eRA Commons and for the System for Award Management. Additional information may be found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

See more tips for avoiding common errors.

The applicant should pay particular attention to the SF424 (R&R) application guide instructions concerning letters of support. Letters of support, recommendation, or affirmation from any entity or individual not directly participating in the project should not be included.

Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness and compliance with application instructions by the Center for Scientific Review, NIH and for responsiveness by AHRQ. Applications that are incomplete or non-compliant will not be reviewed.

In order to expedite the review, applicants are requested to notify the AHRQ Referral Office by email Gerald.Calderone@ahrq.hhs.gov when the application has been submitted.  Please include the FOA number and title, PD/PI name, and title of the application.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval of human subjects is not required prior to peer review of an application (see https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-HS-00-003.html). However, initiation of IRB review, if necessary or applicable, is strongly encouraged to assure timely commencement of research.

Although there is no immediate acknowledgement of the receipt of an application, applicants are generally notified of the review and funding assignment within eight (8) weeks

Priority Populations

AHRQ supports research, evaluations, and demonstration projects concerning the delivery of health care in inner-city and rural areas (including frontier areas), and health care for priority populations.  Priority populations include low income groups; minority groups; women; children; the elderly; and individuals with special health care needs, including individuals with disabilities and individuals who need chronic care or end-of-life health care.  42 USC 299(c).  Women and members of minority groups are included in all AHRQ-supported research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and compelling rationale and justification is provided that inclusion is inappropriate, e.g. because of the lack of connection between the study and the health of women or particular minorities.  Investigators should review the document entitled, “AHRQ Policy on the Inclusion of Priority Populations,” which is available https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-HS-03-010.html.  Applicants under this FOA should consider and discuss including priority populations in the research design as specified in this Notice.

Plan for Sharing Research Data

The precise content of the data-sharing plan will vary, depending on the data being collected and how the investigator is planning to share the data. Applicants who are planning to share data may wish to describe briefly the expected schedule for data sharing; the format of the final dataset; the documentation to be provided; whether or not any analytic tools also will be provided; whether or not a data-sharing agreement will be required and, if so, a brief description of such an agreement (including the criteria for deciding who can receive the data and whether or not any conditions will be placed on their use); and the mode of data sharing (e.g., under its own auspices by mailing a disk or posting data on its institutional or personal website or through a data archive or enclave). Investigators choosing to share under their own auspices may wish to enter into a data-sharing agreement. References to data sharing may also be appropriate in other sections of the application.

The reasonableness of the data sharing plan or the rationale for not sharing research data will be assessed by the reviewers. However, reviewers will not factor the proposed data sharing plan into the determination of scientific merit or the priority score.

Public Access to AHRQ-Funded Scientific Publications

Investigators should review the document titled ‘AHRQ Announces new Policy for Public Access to AHRQ-Funded Scientific Publications’ which is available at (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-HS-16-008.html).  For all research arising from AHRQ support, this policy requires that AHRQ-funded authors submit an electronic version of the author’s final peer-reviewed accepted manuscript to the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central (PMC) to be made publicly available within 12 months of the publisher’s date of publication.

 
Data Confidentiality

The AHRQ confidentiality statute, 42 USC 299c-3(c), requires that information that is obtained in the course of AHRQ supported activities and that identifies individuals or establishments be used only for the purpose for which it was supplied.  Information that is obtained in the course of AHRQ-supported activities and that identifies an individual may be published or released only with the consent of the individual who supplied the information or is described in it.  There are civil monetary penalties for violation of the confidentiality provision of the AHRQ statute. 42 USC 299c-3(d).  In the Human Subjects section of the application, applicants must describe procedures for ensuring the confidentiality of the identifying information to be collected.  The description of the procedures should include a discussion of who will be permitted access to this information, both raw data and machine readable files, and how personal identifiers and other identifying or identifiable data will be restricted and safeguarded.  Identifiable patient health information collected by grantees under this FOA will also be obtained and managed in accordance with the HIPAA Privacy Rule, 45 CFR Parts 160 and 164. 

The grantee should ensure that computer systems containing confidential data have a level and scope of security that equals or exceeds that established by the HIPAA Security Rules, if applicable, and that established by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in OMB Circular No. A-130, Appendix III - Security of Federal Automated Information Systems. The applicability and intended means of applying these confidentiality and security standards to subcontractors and vendors, if any, should be addressed in the application.

 
Sharing Research Resources:  Rights in Data

Unless otherwise provided in grant awards, AHRQ grantees may copyright, or seek patents for, as appropriate, final and interim products and materials developed in whole or in part with AHRQ support, including, but not limited to, methodological tools, measures, software with documentation, literature searches, and analyses.  Such copyrights and patents are subject to a royalty-free, non-exclusive, and irrevocable AHRQ license to reproduce, publish, use or disseminate for any purpose consistent with AHRQ’s statutory responsibilities and to authorize others to do so for any purpose consistent with AHRQ’s statutory responsibilities. In accordance with its legislative dissemination mandate, AHRQ purposes may include, subject to statutory confidentiality protections, making project materials, databases, results, and algorithms available for verification or replication by other researchers.  In addition, subject to AHRQ budget constraints, final products may be made available to the health care community and the public by AHRQ or its agents if such distribution would significantly increase access to a product and thereby produce substantial or valuable public health benefits.  Ordinarily, to accomplish distribution, AHRQ publicizes research findings but relies on grantees to publish research results in peer-reviewed journals and to market grant-supported products. 

AHRQ requests that grantees notify the Office of Communications and Knowledge Transfer (OCKT) when an AHRQ-funded research article has been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Researchers should submit manuscripts that have been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal to JournalPublishing@ahrq.hhs.gov at least four to six weeks in advance of the journal’s expected publication date. 

Regulations applicable to AHRQ grantees concerning intangible rights and copyright can be found at 45 CFR 75.322.

All grantees must agree to the "Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award" in Section VI.2.A "Award Administration Information".

Post Submission Materials

Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in NOT-OD-13-030.

Section V. Application Review Information
1. Criteria

The mission of AHRQ is to produce evidence to make health care safer, higher quality, more accessible, equitable, and affordable, and to work with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other partners to make sure that the evidence is understood and used.  

AHRQ's priority areas of focus are:

  • Improve health care quality by accelerating implementation of patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR).
  • Make health care safer.
  • Increase accessibility by evaluating Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage expansions.
  • Improve health care affordability, efficiency, and cost transparency.

As part of this mission, applications submitted to AHRQ to support health services research are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the AHRQ peer review system. 

Applications that are complete and responsive to the FOA will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate peer review group convened in accordance with standard AHRQ peer review procedures that are described in 42 CFR Part 67, Subpart A.  Incomplete and/or non-responsive applications or applications not following instructions given in this FOA will not be reviewed.  Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process.

Administrative Criteria:  Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness by the Center for Scientific Review, NIH, and for responsiveness by AHRQ.

Merit Review Criteria:  Merit Review Criteria, as described below, will be considered in the review process.

Overall Impact

Reviewers will provide an overall impact score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) involved, in consideration of the following review criteria and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed).

Scored Review Criteria

Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific merit, and give a separate score for each. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact. For example, a project that by its nature is not innovative may be essential to advance a field.

Significance

Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? Is there a strong scientific premise for the project? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will the project improve the ability of Federal and State policy makers and program administrators to monitor the quality of care provided to Medicaid and CHIP enrollees, better target their QI and technical assistance resources, and better understand which service delivery models facilitate performance improvement?  How likely is it that the proposed project will improve our understanding of performance measurement and QI at multiple levels (state, health plan, and provider)? How likely is it, if the aims of the project are achieved, that scientific knowledge regarding the feasibility and usability of COE measure (s) for performance measurement and QI will be advanced? Will the methods proposed allow for the evaluation of the "practical" implementation or use of these measures for reporting and also of the QI efforts that can ultimately show improvements in child health at the state level?  How will the project overall move forward our knowledge regarding best practices for dissemination and implementation and advance the field of child health quality measurement and QI--including the areas of specific research interest?  How likely is it that the project will produce information or products both as part of the PQMP-LC and individual partnerships useful to others who seek to disseminate and implement pediatric quality measures? 

Investigator(s)

Are the PD/PI, collaborators, and other researchers appropriately trained and well-suited to the project? Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level of the PD/PI and other researchers? Do the PD/PI and investigative team bring complementary and integrated expertise to the project (if applicable)? Is the leadership approach, governance, and organizational structure appropriate for the project? Does the team have specific expertise and track record in measure development, testing, data collection, and reporting at multiple levels (state, health plan, and provider)? Does the team have specific expertise and track record in QI research and methods at multiple levels (state, health plan, and provider)? Are the proposed levels of effort for all key personnel appropriate for carrying out the project successfully?  Are the partnership components clearly explained and appropriate?  Have the teams conducted outreach with key stakeholders?

Does the applicant provide letters of commitment from all partners outline expectations and roles with regard to participation and support of team and goals/objectives of the PQMP including the PQMP-LC?  To the extent that access to data sources is critical for field testing/refinement and the application of these measures for monitoring and QI, are letters of support from data holders and detailed descriptions of how access to data will be facilitated for the partnership teams--while maintaining applicable patient privacy requirements--included? Does the partnership team include the required state Medicaid or CHIP agency, External Quality Review Organizations (where managed care contracts are in place), and at least one provider group/ organization that serves Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries?  Does the partnership team include additional entities/stakeholders necessary to improve the quality of care and health of Medicaid/CHIP enrollees, including academic researchers, QI and systems experts, managed care organizations/health plans, hospitals, health systems, health clinics, community resources, provider groups, families, and other state agencies responsible for children enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP (including those overseeing behavioral and mental health, social services, and education)? 

Partnership teams were encouraged to consider inclusion of multiple state partners where there are common performance measurement and QI goals--was this addressed by the applicant?  

Did the applicant designate leads for goals A (testing/refinement of measures) and B (QI focus), in addition to the principal investigator (PI) overseeing overall dissemination and implementation project activities?

Innovation

Is the project original and innovative? For example: Does the project challenge current research or seek to shift measurement and QI practice/ paradigms, or address an innovative hypothesis or critical barrier to progress in the child health measurement/QI field? Does the project develop or employ novel concepts, approaches or methodologies, tools, or technologies to drive the child health measurement and QI field? Will the project bring together resources and commitment from various organizations and levels that will improve the chances of project success? 

Approach

Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific goals the partnership team?

Have the investigators presented strategies to ensure a robust and unbiased approach, as appropriate for the required goals and objectives?  Does the approach include specific and appropriate plans for the each of the goals and for the following key aspects/objectives of work including (but not limited to)?:

  • Identify and recruit multi-disciplinary team (additional information below);
  • Prioritize and select measures/measure sets drawn from those developed by PQMP-COEs (additional information below);
  • Field test to ensure scientific acceptability of measures (reliability and validity) as well as feasibility and usability, and also refine measure specifications based on testing to support use of measures by Medicaid/CHIP programs at the state, health plan, and provider levels;
  • Develop strategies for streamlining data collection and reporting of measures/measure sets needed to facilitate performance monitoring and QI at the state, health plan, and provider levels;
  • Identify opportunities for measures to be e-specified and/or collected via electronic medical record, registries, health information exchanges or other health information systems;
  • As appropriate, prepare and submit measures to National Quality Forum/HHS-Consensus Based Entity, leveraging field testing results;
  • Use performance data on measures/measure sets to define QI goal, strategies and implementation plan (including frameworks and driver models)
  • Implement and evaluate improvement strategies at the state, health plan, and provider levels, within identified focus areas utilizing rapid-cycle improvement methods;
  • Produce outcomes including, but not limited to: testing and data collection plans for measures; refined measure specifications; reports on field testing including (but not limited to) scientific acceptability, feasibility and usability of measures at different levels (provider, health plan, and state) for both performance monitoring and QI, documentation of QI strategies and associated tool kits, and PQMP-Learning Collaborative (additional information below) joint work/products, to support dissemination and implementation efforts.  Reporting on practical application along with implementation successes and challenges will also be prioritized. 

Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented for objectives listed above?  

Does the applicant describe how they will link goals A and B (this should be clear in the research plan and project timeline)?

In addition to providing a detailed approach for meeting the goals and objectives, did the applicant discuss how they would address the "specific areas of interest"?    

In assessing the likelihood of success of the approach, is a project timeline included that shows the major milestones for all aspects of work in goals A and B for the project? A more detailed Gantt chart should be included as an appendix. The timeline should document how all aspects of the proposed work to meet goals, objectives, and specific areas of interest, including interdependencies, will be accomplished within the 4-year grant period.”. 

Is there a description of particularly risky aspects of the work and how these will be managed?

Does the application include a plan and budget for travel for three team members (PD/PI, implementation lead, and QI lead) to the Washington, DC-area once a year for each year of the grant to participate in a grantee-meeting?

Environment

Will the scientific and practical/real-world environment (at multiple levels -- state, health plan, and provider) in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Are the institutional and partnership support and resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed? Will the project benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangements? 

Are there existing relationships among partners/stakeholder groups that can be leveraged?   Do(es) the scientific environment(s) provide the capacity for investigators and others on the partnership team to collaborate with other awardees, the PQMP-LC, AHRQ, CMS, and others? If additional resources will be needed to create the necessary environment, did the applicant indicate what resources are needed and how they would be paid for with an award under this FOA or another source of funds and expertise?

Additional Review Criteria

As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will evaluate the following additional items while determining scientific and technical merit, and in providing an overall impact score, but will not give separate scores for these items.

Protections for Human Subjects

For research that involves human subjects but does not involve one of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate the justification for involvement of human subjects and the proposed protections from research risk relating to their participation according to the following five review criteria: 1) risk to subjects, 2) adequacy of protection against risks, 3) potential benefits to the subjects and others, 4) importance of the knowledge to be gained, and 5) data and safety monitoring for clinical trials.

For research that involves human subjects and meets the criteria for one or more of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate: 1) the justification for the exemption, 2) human subjects involvement and characteristics, and 3) sources of materials. For additional information on review of the Human Subjects section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Human Subjects.

 
Degree of Responsiveness 

Reviewers will assess how well the application addresses the purpose and objectives of this FOA.  How responsive is the application to the special eligibility criteria, including the project requirements, noted in the FOA? []

Inclusion of Priority Populations

Reviewers will assess the adequacy of plans to address the needs of both genders, racial and ethnic minorities (and subgroups).  Reviewers will assess the adequacy of attention to AHRQ priority populations (see above discussion on Priority Populations in section IV.6 “Other Submission Requirements”).

Budget and Period of Support

The committee will evaluate whether the proposed budget is reasonable and whether the requested period of support is appropriate in relation to the proposed research. [NOTE: Information may be added here.

Privacy and Security Protections for Patients

Reviewers will assess the resources and processes to be used to address privacy and security issues in the development and implementation of the intervention [

Resubmissions

Not Applicable

Renewals

Not Applicable

Additional Review Considerations

As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will consider each of the following items, but will not give scores for these items, and should not consider them in providing an overall impact score.

 Not Applicable

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group, in accordance with AHRQ review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Assignment to a Scientific Review Group will be shown in the eRA Commons.

As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:

  • May undergo a selection process in which only those applications deemed to have the highest scientific and technical merit (generally the top half of applications under review) will be discussed and assigned an overall impact score.
  • Will receive a written critique.

Applications will be assigned on the basis of established AHRQ referral guidelines to the appropriate AHRQ Office or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications submitted in response to this FOA. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

  • Scientific and technical merit of the proposed project as determined by peer review.
  • Availability of funds.
  • Responsiveness to goals and objectives of the FOA.
  • Relevance and fit within AHRQ research priorities, as well as overall programmatic and geographic balance.
3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

After the peer review of the application is completed, the PD/PI will be able to access his or her Summary Statement (written critique) via the eRA Commons. Refer to Part 1 for dates for peer review, advisory council review, and earliest start date.

Generally, applicants should anticipate eight months between the application submission date and the earliest possible start date.

Section VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices

If the application is under consideration for funding, AHRQ will request "Just-In-Time" information from the applicant.  Just-In-Time information generally consists of information on other support, any additional information necessary to address administrative and budgetary issues, and certification of IRB approval of the project's proposed use of human subjects.  For details regarding IRB approval, applicants may refer to the "AHRQ Revised Policy for Institutional Review Board (IRB) Review of Human Subjects Protocols in Grant Applications" (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not-hs-00-003.html). 

If all administrative and programmatic issues are resolved, a formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NoA) will be provided to the applicant organization for successful applications. The NoA signed by the AHRQ grants management officer is the authorizing document and will be sent via email to the grantee’s business official.

Awardees must comply with any funding restrictions described in Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions.

Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance.  Any costs incurred before receipt of the NOA are at the recipient’s risk.  These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs.  See also Section IV.5., “Funding Restrictions.”

Any application awarded in response to this FOA will be subject to the DUNS, SAM Registration, and Transparency Act requirements as noted on the AHRQ web site at http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/postawrd.htm#terms.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

All AHRQ grant and cooperative agreement awards are subject to OMB's Uniform Grant Guidance, HHS’s “Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for HHS Awards,” (http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?node=pt45.1.75), and the HHS Grants Policy Statement (see http://www.ahrq.gov/funding/policies/hhspolicy/index.html), and the terms and conditions set forth in the Notice of  Award.

A standard term and condition of award will be included in the Notice of Award (NOA) that states:  “in any grant-related activity in which family, marital, or household consideration are, by statute or regulation, relevant for purposes of determining beneficiary eligibility or participation, grantees must treat same-sex spouses, marriages, and households on the same terms as opposite-sex spouses, marriages, and households, respectively. By “same-sex spouses,” HHS means individuals of the same sex who have entered into marriages that are valid in the jurisdiction where performed, including any of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or a U.S. territory or in a foreign country, regardless of whether or not the couple resides in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage.  By “same-sex marriages,” HHS means marriages between two individuals validly entered into in the jurisdiction where performed, including any of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or a U.S. territory or in a foreign country, regardless of whether or not the couple resides in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage.  By “marriage,” HHS does not mean registered domestic partnerships, civil unions or similar formal relationships recognized under the law of the jurisdiction of celebration as something other than a marriage.”

All applicants will be subject to a term and condition that applies the terms of 48 CFR section 3.908 to the award, and requires that grantees inform their employees in writing of employee whistleblower rights and protections under 41U.S.C. 4712 in the predominant native language of the workforce.

As necessary, additional Terms and Conditions will be incorporated into the NoA.

Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

The following Terms and Conditions will be incorporated into the award statement and will be provided to the PD/PI as well as to the appropriate institutional official, at the time of award.

Terms and Conditions of Cooperative Agreement Award

The following special terms of award are in addition to otherwise applicable OMB administrative guidelines:  45 CFR Part 75 (Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for HHS Awards; http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?node=pt45.1.75), the HHS Grants Policy Statement (see http://www.ahrq.gov/funding/policies/hhspolicy/index.html and  http://www.hhs.gov/asfr/ogapa/aboutog/hhsgps107.pdf), the terms and conditions set forth in the Notice of Award, , and other DHHS, PHS, and AHRQ grant administration policy statements.  AHRQ will use these procedures in evaluating and administering the cooperative agreements under this FOA.

The administrative and funding instrument used for this program will be the cooperative agreement. A cooperative agreement is an "assistance" mechanism (rather than an "acquisition” mechanism), in which substantial AHRQ programmatic involvement with the grantee is anticipated during the performance of the activities.  Under the cooperative agreement, the AHRQ purpose is to support and stimulate the recipient's activities by involvement in and otherwise working jointly with the award recipient in a partnership role; it is not to assume direction, prime responsibility, or a dominant role in the activities.  Consistent with this concept, the dominant role and prime responsibility resides with the PD/PI for the project as a whole, though specific tasks and activities may be shared between a grantee and AHRQ as described in this subsection of the FOA. Cooperative activities are intended to strengthen the individual grantee activities through the facilitation of data/information sharing, data access, and cross cutting communications.

All cooperative activities that include significant government involvement will require prior approval by the AHRQ Program Officer.

Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) Rights and Responsibilities
The PD/PI will have the primary responsibility for conducting research in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Notice of Award, and cooperating with other key parties, including the AHRQ Program Official, designated CMS staff, other awardees, and the PQMP-LC.

Each PD/PI and his/her Center representative are required to participate in the PQMP-LC conference calls and in-person meetings.  The PD/PI will actively participate in the plans to promote collaboration among LC members.  The PD/PI and their teams will be responsible for collaborating on/co-producing PQMP-LC products over the course of the project.  These may include (but are not limited to) common frameworks, toolkits, case studies for dissemination.

The PQMP-LC will meet annually, in addition to telephone conferences and electronic exchanges.   For budget purposes, applicants should assume that the PQMP-LC will meet in the Washington, D.C. area- key personnel for implementation and QI activities and PD/PI must attend.  

AHRQ Responsibilities
AHRQ program staff will have substantial programmatic involvement that is above and beyond the normal stewardship role in awards, as described below.

AHRQ staff will provide advice and support to the awardee, and will assist in the cooperative work of the project beyond the usual program stewardship for grants.

The Program Official will maintain contact with the PD/PI in between PQMP-LC meetings to consult on key project decisions, help to trouble-shoot implementation barriers/challenges, and confirm that projects are proceeding according to project timelines and plans.  The Program Official, in coordination with the grantee and CMS, will also disseminate project findings to research and policy audiences.  The progress of work by each awardee will be reviewed quarterly to assure alignment with the overall goals for the PQMP. 

AHRQ will:

  • Review topic areas, measures selections, and QI strategies (including the development of project timelines and project plans, including testing plans and improvement frameworks and strategies/driver diagrams for QI implementation along with project results/outcomes).   
  • Establish and lead the PQMP-LC to support and oversee work within and between partnerships teams.
  • Facilitate the development of common frameworks, tool kits, and other products for measurement and improvement activities based on the overarching work of the PQMP-LC.
  • Facilitate bi-weekly web-based meetings with grantees and annual in-person meetings. 
  • Facilitate CMS's engagement in the cooperative agreement work including calls and meetings involving the grantees.
  • Work closely with grantees and CMS to ensure dissemination of PQMP-LC products. 


Additionally, AHRQ program staff will be responsible for the normal scientific and programmatic stewardship of the award and will be named in the award notice.

Collaborative Responsibilities

Awardees will be required to work collaboratively with each other, with AHRQ and CMS, and within and outside of the PQMP-LC to share information and develop common resources as noted above.   Awardees, AHRQ, and CMS will also participate in periodic meetings including bi-weekly web-based meetings and annual in-person meetings. 

3. Reporting

When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) annually unless specified otherwise in the terms of the award.   Grantees are required to submit expenditure data on the Federal Financial Report (FFR; SF 425) annually.

For details regarding progress report submission, refer to http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/noncomp.htm.  If instructions on the AHRQ website are different from the RPPR Instructions, follow the instructions on the AHRQ website. Progress reports are due 3 months before the anniversary of the award.

In addition to the annual progress report, recipients will be required to submit quarterly progress reports to AHRQ. Detailed instructions on additional reporting requirements will be provided with the grant award.

Expenditure data is to be reported on the Federal Financial Report (FFR; SF 425). AHRQ requires annual financial expenditure reports for ALL grant programs as described in the HHS Grants Policy Statement (http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/hhspolicy.htm).  AHRQ implementation of the FFR retains a financial reporting period that coincides with the budget period of a particular project.  However, the due date for annual FFRs is 90 days after the end of the calendar quarter in which the budget period ends.  For example, if the budget period ends 4/30/2015, the annual FFR is due 9/30/2015 (90 days after the end of the calendar quarter of 6/30/2015).

A final Progress Report, final Federal Financial Report, and Final Invention Statement are required when an award ends.  All final reports are due within 90 days of the project period end date.  For further details regarding grant closeout requirements, refer to http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/closeout.htm.

The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Transparency Act), includes a requirement for awardees of Federal grants to report information about first-tier subawards and executive compensation under Federal assistance awards issued in FY2011 or later.  All awardees of applicable AHRQ grants and cooperative agreements are required to report to the Federal Subaward Reporting System (FSRS) available at www.fsrs.gov on all subawards over $25,000.  See the HHS Grants Policy Statement (http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/hhspolicy.htm) for additional information on this reporting requirement.

Section VII. Agency Contacts

We encourage inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants.

Application Submission Contacts

eRA Service Desk (Questions regarding ASSIST, eRA Commons registration, submitting and tracking an application, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, post submission issues)
Finding Help Online: https://grants.nih.gov/support/ (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)

Grants.gov Customer Support (Questions regarding Grants.gov registration and submission, downloading forms and application packages)
Contact CenterTelephone: 800-518-4726
Email: support@grants.gov

GrantsInfo (Questions regarding application instructions and process, finding NIH grant resources)
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov (preferred method of contact)
Telephone: 301-710-0267

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Direct your questions about general FOA issues, including information on the inclusion of priority populations to:

Kamila Mistry, PhD MPH
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Office of Extramural Research, Education and Priority Populations
Telephone: 301-427-1012
Email:  kamila.mistry@ahrq.hhs.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Direct your questions about peer review issues of grant application made in response to this FOA to:

Nghia Vo, MD
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Office of Extramural Research, Education and Priority Populations
Division of Scientific Review
Telephone: 301-427-1191
Email:  Nghia.Vo@ahrq.hhs.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Direct your questions regarding fiscal matters to:

Galen Gregor
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Telephone: 301-427-1457
Email: Galen.Gregor@ahrq.hhs.gov

Section VIII. Other Information

Recently issued AHRQ policy notices may affect your application submission. A full list of policy notices published by AHRQ is provided in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. Notices can also be found at AHRQ Grants Policy Notices.  All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the HHS Grants Policy Statement.

Authority and Regulations

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance at http://www.cfda.gov/ and is not subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review. Awards are made under the authority of 42 USC 299 et seq., and in accordance with 45 CFR Part 75 and other referenced applicable statutes and regulations.  All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the HHS Grants Policy Statement. The HHS Grants Policy Statement can be found at http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/hhspolicy.htm.

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