Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Implementation FAQs

General Application FAQs

  1. I am having difficulty finding the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) – can you direct me to the full application instructions?
  2. I was unable to attend HRSA’s Technical Assistance Webinar for this funding opportunity. Is the webinar recording available?
    • View the full webinar recording using Adobe Connect. HRSA Exit Disclaimer
    • The webinar slides are available for download using the above Adobe Connect link (look under file share in the bottom left corner).
    • The audio-only recording is available at: 1-800-839-4845, Passcode: 4321
  3. I am having difficulty accessing/navigating grants.gov. How do you recommend I proceed?
    • Applicants should contact the grants.gov support team at: 1-800-518-4726 or support@grants.gov
  4. I am having difficulty accessing the System for Award Management (SAM) to register or update my account. How do you recommend I proceed?
    • Visit the Federal Support Desk website. They can assist you with creating an account; assigning roles to an account; entity registrations; exclusions; and searching for data in SAM.
    • Please note: you must submit your application electronically by the deadline posted on the NOFO. If you need to request a waiver from the submission requirement, you must request an exemption in writing from DGPWaivers@hrsa.gov within 5 calendar days of the opportunity’s closing date, and provide details as to why you are technologically unable to submit electronically through the Grants.gov portal. Please refer to pages 16-17 of the SF-424 Application Guide.
  5. I have a specific question about the Notice of Funding Opportunity that is not answered here.
    • Please review the TA webinar recording HRSA Exit Disclaimer if you haven’t already.
    • Contact HRSA Staff at: ruralopioidresponse@hrsa.gov or Allison Hutchings at (301) 945-9819. Please note that HRSA staff will answer clarifying questions about the NOFO requirements, but cannot provide guidance on proposed approaches.

Eligible entities, consortium members, and proposed service areas

  1. What are the requirements for creating a rural consortium?
    • Please refer to Pages 3-4 of the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO).
    • Consortiums: The lead applicant can be either rural or non-rural, but at least two consortium members must be located in a HRSA-designated rural area. Consortiums must be made up of at least four entities with four different EINs. They are expected to be from multiple sectors (public health, health care, education, justice, community organization, etc.). Tribal applicants without four separate EINs may be eligible as long as the four consortium partners serve separate functions (e.g. school administration, health departments, law enforcement, etc.).
    • Service Area: The proposed service area must be an entirely HRSA-designated rural area. Applicants must demonstrate this using the rural analyzer tool and listing service area counties and/or census tracts.
  2. What does HRSA mean by “established consortium”?
    • As noted on pg. 11 of the NOFO, applicants are required to detail current information and data demonstrating the consortium’s accomplishments related to SUD/OUD; history of collaboration in rural communities; and ability to immediately, upon receipt of award, operationalize their proposed approach.
  3. How will HRSA determine whether a service area is “high risk”?
    • It is up to the applicant to demonstrate their level of need/risk in the Needs Assessment section of the Project Narrative (see pp. 11-13 of the NOFO).
  4. The rural consortium member/target population is located in a county that is partially rural. How should my organization address this in the application?
  5. My organization has its headquarters in an urban area, but has several rural offices that serve rural populations. Is my organization considered rural?
    • Generally, if an applicant organization or consortium member’s headquarters are located in an urban area, it is considered urban for the purposes of the grant. In cases where a satellite office is located in a rural area, has a unique employment identification number (EIN) and acts autonomously from the parent organization, then that satellite location is eligible as rural.
  6. Can applicants apply for this funding opportunity if they have applied for an FY19 RCORP-Planning grant?
    • RCORP-Implementation award recipients are expected to be a part of established consortiums; have pre-established plans for implementing services in place; and have the capacity to operationalize those plans immediately upon receipt of award. Therefore, it would be difficult for consortia that have not formalized their membership, structure, and plans for delivering SUD/OUD services to complete the required RCORP-Implementation activities.
    • In the Project Narrative, applicants should make it clear how this grant would be different and not duplicate the activities of the other RCORP grant (e.g., by conducting similar activities in a different rural service area, or serving the same rural service area with different consortium members and different goals/activities).
  7. Are organizations able to apply under more than one consortium?
    • The NOFO limits organizations from serving as the lead applicant on more than one application. However, an organization would be eligible to apply as a consortium member for multiple applications, just not as the lead applicant for more than one application.

Application requirements and allowable costs

  1. Where can I find the data/information required for the RCORP measures in Appendix D?
    • Per the notice of funding opportunity, applicants should use the most recent available data/information from appropriate sources (e.g., local, state, tribal, federal) and cite any information they provide. Appendix B contains several resources applicants can leverage.
    • If awarded, the RCORP-Technical Assistance provider is available to help identify appropriate data sources for subsequent grantee reporting cycles.
  2. Is there an expectation that RCORP-Implementation funding should cover treatment costs for patients who are uninsured/underinsured?
    • The RCORP-Implementation grant should serve as a payer of last resort—i.e., all services covered by reimbursement should be billed and every reasonable effort should be made to obtain payment, but the grant should cover services for individuals who are unable to pay.
  3. Can award recipients use RCORP-Implementation funds to treat urban residents who seek care at their facilities?
    • While award recipients should exclusively target populations residing in HRSA-designated rural areas, it is acceptable if urban residents also happen to benefit from the grant.
  4. Since award recipients will be working closely with an external RCORP evaluator, should I budget for an evaluator to assess the impact of my project?
    • If awarded funds, your consortium should be prepared to track, collect and report data to give to the external RCORP evaluator and complete all required qualitative and quantitative reporting requirements as outlined in the NOFO (pp. 27-8; 39-40). If your consortium is unable to track and collect these data without an evaluation expert, you can include hours for a consultant or other data specialist to perform these required tasks in your staffing plan and budget and budget narrative.
  5. Will I need to complete an A-133 audit for this grant?
  6. Do all consortium/network members need to receive RCORP-Implementation grant funds in order to be considered full, participating consortium members for the purposes of this grant?
    • No, it is not necessary to distribute the grant funds across all consortium members. However, each consortium member should be aware of the others’ roles and responsibilities on this grant as delineated in the work plan and letter of commitment and the award is not to be used for the exclusive benefit of any one consortium member.
  7. Since award recipients will receive the full award amount in the first year of the grant, are they required to spend it over the three-year period of performance?
    • Yes, award recipients are required to allocate the award amount over a three-year period of performance and submit budgets and budget narratives for each of the three years of the grant.
  8. Are minor renovations an allowable cost for this grant?
    • Certain minor renovations are allowable under this grant. These can include:
      • Reconfiguring space to facilitate co-location of SUD, mental health, and primary care services teams;
      • Creating space to deliver virtual care that supports accurate clinical interviewing and assessment, clear visual and audio transmission, and ensures patient confidentiality;
      • Creating or improving spaces for patients to participate in counseling and group visit services, and to access and receive training in self-management tools; and
      • Modifying examination rooms to increase access to pain management options, such as chiropractic, physical therapy, acupuncture, and group therapy services.
    • The following activities are not categorized as minor A/R:
      • Construction of a new building,
      • Installation of a modular building,
      • Building expansions,
      • Work that increases the building footprint, and
      • Significant new ground disturbance.
    • RCORP-Implementation grant funds for minor renovations may not be used to supplement or supplant existing renovation funding; funds must be used for a new project.
    • Pre-renovation costs (Architectural & Engineering costs prior to 90 days before the budget period start date) are unallowable.
    • Successful award recipients proposing minor renovation projects will be required to submit a prior approval request to HRSA upon receipt of award and refrain from implementing the minor renovations until the request has been approved.
  9. Do I need to submit four separate letters of commitment, or can I submit one letter signed by at least four consortium members?
    • Applicants should submit one letter of commitment signed by at least four separately-owned entities, including the lead applicant, in Attachment 4.
  10. Can my consortium focus on individuals with other SUDs other than OUD?
    • The primary focus of the grant should be on individuals with OUD. However, recognizing that many individuals with OUD are polysubstance users or have other co-occurring conditions, your consortium may address the other needs of this population.
  11. Are participant support costs allowable for this grant?
    • Participant support costs—i.e., direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with conferences, or training projects—are allowable costs.
  12. Does each consortium member need to implement all of the required/core activities listed on pp. 6-8 of the NOFO?
    • No, individual consortium members may implement a subset of the required/core activities, but all required/core activities must be accounted for, and implemented, by the consortium as a whole. Moreover, each consortium member should be aware of the other members’ roles and responsibilities as delineated in the Work Plan and Letter of Commitment.
  13. My consortium will not have hired all of our project staff by the time the application is due. How do I account for this in my application?
    • In Attachment 2 (“Staffing Plan”), it is appropriate to write TBD under “Name” if the individual has not yet been hired. However, you should include a description of the process and timeline for hiring staff. Note that award recipients are expected to be able to operationalize their work plans immediately upon receipt of award.
  14. Can I use RCORP-Implementation funds to purchase a vehicle to use as a mobile treatment unit?
    • Purchase of a mobile unit is an allowable cost as long as the unit is exclusively used to deliver, or facilitate transport to, services funded by the RCORP-Implementation grant.
  15. Can I use RCORP-Implementation grant funds to purchase Naloxone (i.e. NARCAN), Vivitrol, and/or buprenorphine?
    • Yes, these are all allowable costs under this grant.
  16. Can I use RCORP-Implementation grant funds to purchase syringes?
    • The purchases of syringes is inappropriate in all phases of the program.
    • Please refer to HRSA’s SF424 Application Guide (PDF - 667 KB) (pp. 26-27) for guidance around syringe purchases using grant funds: "Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, no funds appropriated in this Act shall be used to purchase sterile needles or syringes for the hypodermic injection of any illegal drug: Provided, That such limitation does not apply to the use of funds for elements of a program other than making such purchases if the relevant State or local health department, in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, determines that the State or local jurisdiction, as applicable, is experiencing, or is at risk for, a significant increase in hepatitis infections or an HIV outbreak due to injection drug use, and such program is operating in accordance with State and local law.”
  17. What is the FTE requirement for the Project Director?
    • The notice of funding opportunity does not specify a minimum FTE requirement for project directors and other key program staff. That said, Project Directors cannot bill more than 1.0 FTE across federal grants.
    • Additionally, per the review criteria (pg. 25), applicants will need to demonstrate the extent to which the staffing plan has a direct link to the activities proposed in the work plan; the Project Director will serve as the point person on the award, make staffing, financial, or other adjustments to align project activities with the project outcomes, and facilitate collaborative input across consortium members to fulfill the proposed project activities in the work plan and HRSA-required reporting requirements; and the resumes and biographical sketches detail the qualifications and relevant experience for each proposed staff member.
  18. My organization has received numerous HRSA grants over the past 5 years. What information do I need to provide in Attachment 8 of the application?
    • Applicants are required to provide the grant numbers for any other HRSA grants the lead applicant organization has received in the last 5 years in Attachment 8. Additional information about these grants would be helpful (e.g. title of project, funding amount, date/period of performance, and contact information), but only the grant number is required.
  19. Will there be an in-person meeting for grantees to attend? If so, should we include that in our proposed budget?
    • Yes, please include travel expenses for 2 staff members to attend one 2-3 day meeting per year in Rockville, Maryland. These expenses should be reflected in the SF-424 form and the budget narrative. Additional details for the timing of those meetings will be provided by HRSA when they are available.
Date Last Reviewed:  April 2019