Federal Flex Updates: April 2016

April 2016

It is with a bittersweet note for me this will be my last coordinator's update. Starting Monday, April 18th, I'll be in the Secretary's Office of Health Human Services (HHS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT working on an array of projects.

But before I leave, I wanted to express my gratitude for your kindness and openness towards me when I stepped into the role of Flex Coordinator back in 2014. It wasn't too long ago, but certainly feels much longer, due to the rapid and steadfast progress the Flex program continues to make in such a short amount of time, despite challenges and barriers. 

For me this voyage has been filled with many learning curves, a thing called MBQIP, winding rural roads, critical access hospital visits, meetings, more MBQIP, marvelous discussions, and a lot of hard and humbling work. Being backed by a tremendous team at the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), Flex Programs willing to share, and the wonderful and committed members at the Technical Assistance & Services Center (TASC), the Flex Monitoring Team (FMT), Rural Quality Improvement Technical Assistance (RQITA) and the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) have made this remarkable journey so much more than just a 9 to 5. It lit a passion and a deeper understanding for rural - which I greatly look forward advocating for on my behalf in this next journey.

You're all in for a treat, because you're getting an extraordinary Flex Coordinator in Sarah Young, a current FORHP employee and member of the Flex Team. I couldn't think of a better person to transition into this role. Sarah is going to fill my shoes easily. So you're all in great hands and I hope you welcome/congratulate Sarah on her new role!

The Non-Competing Continuation (NCC) is open in the Electronic Handbook (EHB). It is due May 16th! Please contact your Project Officer (PO) and / or TASC if you have questions or would like a portion of your NCC reviewed, such as a work plan or narrative. Please be mindful of the timing as not to submit reviews toward the very end.

  • For NCC you can use color coding to indicate changes and adjustments in your work plans or narrative! We will get the files the same way you upload them.
  • Remember the narrative tells your story of what you accomplished, will accomplish and tell us about your successes!! Pat yourself on the back. We've encouraged openness, creativity and innovation with Flex and will continue to promote that as long as it is within the Flex Guidance - so be imaginative as you make refinements. It also okay to tell us where you need more support too.
  • Budget - total funding request on the amount of money you were awarded in Sept. 2015 - same as the future funding amount in box 13 of your Notice of Award (NoA). Ask your PO if you have questions.

Those of you who requested carry-over and have yet to receive a revised Notice of Grant Award (NGA), let us know during this transition period and reach out to your Grants Management Specialist (GMS) with your PO cc'ed! 

Be on the lookout for the 2016 HRSA Grantee Satisfaction Survey (GSS) from CFI/Federal Consulting Group that went out March 23rd. This is the second year the GSS is being administered to grantees. The survey assesses customer satisfaction among grantees for the purpose of enhancing continuous quality improvement activities and executive decision-making within HRSA. It should be open for another week. It is likely it went to the individual(s) listed on your NoA so check your NoA if you don't recall receiving such a survey.

The Flex Reverse Site Visit will be here before you know it! Wednesday July 20th - Thursday July 21st in Bethesda MD, TASC will be sending out information regarding hotels, agenda, etc. soon. 

For more updates including information on carryover requests, the NCC, quarterly reports and dates to remember see this full update on the Federal Flex Update webpage.

Until then, Happy Spring!

Kevin Chaney

Flex Coordinator