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FAQs: Quality Improvement Solutions for Sustained Epidemic Control Project (QISSEC)HRSA-21-096

  1. I wish to confirm that either of these approaches is acceptable for submitting letters of support for the application for HRSA-21-096: 1. A listing of the letters of support/commitment by entity, that includes signatory, their position, and the date of signature, with a statement “Original documents available upon request. 2. Multiple reduced facsimiles of the letters of support/commitment on a page, clear enough to be read when enlarged digitally."

    Submitting letters of support is outlined within the instructions for Attachment 4 (page 17). The manner in which these letters are presented is the determination of the applicant. However, the letters must be clear and legible, dated, and specifically indicate a commitment to the project/program (in-kind services, dollars, staff, space, equipment, etc.).

  2. For the application of HRSA-21-096, I want to confirm that past performance references are not required of consortium members, although 3 past performance references are required (p. 13 of NOFO). Thank you.

    Past performance references are outlined within the instructions for Attachment 9 (page 18). Consortium partners may provide up to three past performance references from the last three years for contracts, grants and/or cooperative agreements of similar size, scope, and complexity (optional) as appropriate. The applicant should clearly list their decision in the Attachment section.

  3. Are quality improvement interventions targeting pre-service providers considered an acceptable intervention under this NOFO?

    A: Instructions for quality improvement interventions is described in the Project Level Activities section (page 7). Facilitate rapid scale up and dissemination of interventions that: Are ministries of health (MOH) and stakeholder vetted, are targeted and time-limited, extend across country programs, and across distinct technical areas to facilitate the spread of new knowledge.

  4. How does HRSA envision that QI interventions will be supported between this NOFO and other recently released NOFOs (capacity-building and Reach)?

    The NOFO HRSA-21-096 interventions are outlined in the Purpose section (page 1). Each NOFO should be read in its’ entirety and based on its’ own outlined instructions.

  5. Does this NOFO permit description of QI interventions that would generically support any intervention across the cascade of care, or just retention and viral load suppression?

    The NOFO states in the purpose section (page 1); this project is to facilitate improvements in quality across the HIV care continuum…

  6. Does this NOFO focus on implementation of QI Collaboratives as a primary strategy?

    The NOFO states in the work plan section (page 11) that the applicant must describe the activities or steps that you will use to achieve each of the objectives proposed during the entire period of performance. This may include QI Collaboratives as a methodology that complements and collaborates with stakeholders.

  7. Does this NOFO support the development of a web-based platform to promote best practices?

    The NOFO states in the Project Narrative section (page 10) of Dissemination/Spread Quality Improvement Tools and Resources that this transfer can be achieved through traditional face-to- face methods or ideally through a cost-effective virtual platform.

  8. As HRSA has stated that two awards will be made up to the $20,000,000 funding ceiling, does HRSA anticipant the two awards to be split by geography and/or other factors?

    The NOFO states in the Summary of Funding section (page 4) that HRSA anticipates a funding ceiling of $20,000,000 to be available annually to fund two (2) recipients. Other funding factors are determined as they arise.

  9. On page 16 of the NOFO: “The line-item budget for each of the five years is uploaded as an attachment to the application as Attachment 6”. Please confirm if this line-item budget refers to the Summary SF424 by object class categories, or does it refer to a detail line-item budget that includes the list of personnel separately by position, which supports the summary 424 object class budget?

    The NOFO states in the Budget section (page 16) that a program-specific line item budget for each year of the five-year period of performance using the object class categories in the SF-424A. This refers to Attachment 6 (page 17).

  10. If Attachment 6 refers to a detail line-item budget for the five years, in support of the Summary budget by SF 424 Object class categories, for each partner, please confirm that this is excluded from the page count?

    The NOFO states in the Content and Form of Application Submission section (page 5) that the page limit includes the abstract, project and budget narratives, attachments, and letters of commitment and support required in the Application Guide and this NOFO. Standard OMB-approved forms that are included in the workspace application package do not count in the page limit. The line item budget and budget narrative include both components.

  11. Are bidders required to include detail budgets for the three sample countries analyzed in the technical? If so, please confirm that this is excluded from the page count?

    The NOFO states in Attachment 6 (page 17) that you must provide a program-specific line item budget for each year of the five-year period of performance using the object class categories in the SF-424A. This covers the proposed activities in the three sample countries. The NOFO states in the Content and Form of Application Submission section (page 5) that the page limit includes the abstract, project and budget narratives, attachments, and letters of commitment and support required in the Application Guide and this NOFO. Standard OMB-approved forms that are included in the workspace application package do not count in the page limit. The line item budget and budget narrative include both components.

  12. For staff planning and budgeting, will the awardee be marketing to country missions for country buy-ins? If yes, what level of funding are bidders to assume are included as central funds before country mission buy-ins are added? Will the award include country mission funds for immediate start-up? If yes, how many countries are bidders assuming will start-up in Year 1?

    The NOFO states in the Criterion 1: Need section (page 27) that the applicant must demonstrate the extent to which the applicant understands the problem and associated factors contributing to the problem in the sampled country. HRSA will address country missions and buy-ins.

  13. Could you please highlight any differences between the QISSEC RFA released last March (but not funded by HRSA) and this RFA?

    This NOFO HRSA-21-096 should be read in its’ entirety and responded to independent of any other NOFO. Comparison to any other NOFO may result in confusion.

  14. Also could you please speak to any specific countries that this award will cover?

    The NOFO states in the Project Level Activities (page 7) that the applicant must include a sample of PEPFAR-funded countries to illustrate and identify quality improvement gaps across the HIV care continuum.

  15. Should the workplan be specific to the three countries used for the case studies, or more generally for the proposed activities?

    The NOFO states in the Work Plan section (page 11) that the applicant must provide a work plan that demonstrates how the outcomes, strategies, activities, timelines, and staffing will take place over the course of the award for the proposed activities.

  16. How does HRSA envision funding new quality initiatives using this program as opposed to the QI Programming intended through the capacity building NOFO?

    This NOFO HRSA-21-096 should be read in its’ entirety and responded to independent of any other NOFO. Comparison to any other NOFO may result in confusion.

  17. Does the proposed budget total limit the amount that can be awarded to a funded prime applicant, or can the funded applicant be awarded up to the ceiling of $20M regardless of their proposed budget total?

    The NOFO states in the Budget section (page 15) that the Total Project or Program Costs are the total allowable costs (inclusive of direct and indirect costs) incurred by the recipient to carry out a HRSA- supported project or activity. Total project or program costs include costs charged to the award and costs borne by the recipient to satisfy a matching or cost-sharing requirement, as applicable.

  18. Will this NOFO be funded over the five years entirely by HRSA or is there an expectation that funding will come through COP process in each country?

    The NOFO states that funding is subject to the avaibality of appropriated funds (page i) and through the PEPFAR 2021 Country Operational Plan (page 1).

  19. How does HRSA differentiate between Obj 4 and the evaluative portion or the NOFO?

    The NOFO states in the Objectives of the Project section Measure and Evaluate the Impact of Activities (page 10) is reflective in the Criterion 3: Evaluative Measures.

  20. To whom should additional questions be emailed?

    Questions should be sent to the NOFO person of contact; Tracey Gantt at tgantt@hrsa.gov Questions will be addressed through March 25, 2021.

Date Last Reviewed:  April 2021