Federal Flex Updates: May 2016

May 2016

Hello as your new national Flex Program Coordinator! It’s been a month since Kevin left and it feels like I’m jumping on a treadmill that was already running. In the last month I’ve been working with our IT contractor on the format for PIMS data collection next fall, wrapping up the carryovers so we can see exactly how much money is in the Flex account, talking to Tracy and Sally at TASC about plans for the Reverse Site Visit in July, and joining a HRSA workgroup on improving the grantee experience with EHB. 

Thank you everyone for getting your Noncompeting Continuation Progress Reports in to EHB. We will be reviewing them and contacting you if we have any questions. The NCC process is more flexible than the competing application from last year so we make ask some of you for more information or changes to your report before it is finalized. Making corrections now will keep you from having special conditions on your Notice of Award. 

During the review Christy, Yvonne, and I will be looking for updates on your grant activities and how you are measuring your progress toward the Flex grant goals you have set for your programs. Of course we also are responsible for program integrity and will make sure your programs align with the Flex guidance. Finally we will be looking to see how you are using Flex tools and what other technical assistance needs you have. For example, how are you using the new CAHMPAS online database from FMT? We’ll be very interested to see what examples you’ve included in your NCCs.

In order to get your Fiscal Year 16 grant funds released on time we must finalize all NCCs no later than June 24. If your Project Officer contacts you with questions please work with your PO to get answers quickly so we can meet those timelines. 

In CAH news, I hope you all saw the article published last week in The Journal of the American Medical Association about the outcomes of common surgical procedures performed at critical access hospitals. The researchers found that patients in CAHs had lower rates of serious complications than patients with similar surgeries at non-CAH hospitals. Even after adjusting for patient factors (people receiving surgeries in CAHs had fewer chronic conditions), total Medicare costs for these procedures were also lower at CAHs. 

I’m looking forward to seeing you all at the Flex Reverse Site Visit, July 20-21 here in Rockville, Maryland. For those of you in Region A, I’ll also be attending the Region A Partnership Meeting in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in June and I hope to see some Flex Coordinators there along with the rest of your State Office colleagues. 

I’m excited to be your program coordinator. Please let me know if you have suggestions or questions. My goal is continuing improvement for the Flex Program, and I need your input to do that. In my next update, I’ll share observations and themes we are seeing in the NCC reports. 

Sarah Young

Flex Program Coordinator