Federal Flex Updates: August 2017

August 2017

Happy New Year Flex!

That’s right, September 1 marks the start of a new year for the Flex grant—specifically Year 3 of this grant cycle, the Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) award, and the 9/1/17 – 8/31/18 budget period. My colleagues in the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Grants office worked hard to issue all of your Notices of Award (NOA) by mid-August and your project officers (PO) are reaching out to review those NOAs with you. Don’t hesitate to call your PO if you have any other questions.

The next report you will be working on is, of course, the Performance Improvement and Measurement System (PIMS) for FY16 which is the data report for the 9/1/16 – 8/31/17 budget period. PIMS will open September 1, and the first thing to do is check the list of your CAHs in the system—does it include all critical access hospitals (CAH) in your state that were operating in any part of the grant year? If there are any errors in your CAH list, let your PO know so we can correct it. As announced on the mailing list, I will be presenting a webinar on Wednesday, August 30, at 3:00 pm Eastern Time to review NOA basics and this year’s PIMS reporting.

If you want a PIMS refresher before you start entering your data, I encourage you to watch the recording of the PIMS data update webinar from January where we discussed the PIMS data you reported for last year. I also made a few clarifying updates and typo corrections to the PIMS Data Collection Tool, but the design is unchanged and the introductory webinar that Caleb Siem of the Technical Assistance and Services Center (TASC) and I recorded in May continues to show how to use the tool. (Thank you to Penny Black of the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health for finding those errors). Remember, as discussed in that webinar, I need all Flex Programs to use the financial spending report calculator in that data tool so everyone is reporting Flex spending in the same way.

My thoughts are with the people of Texas and Louisiana dealing with ongoing flooding from Tropical Storm Harvey. Both urban and rural communities will have many challenges in the coming days and weeks, and we know that CAHs are a crucial part of emergency response for many rural communities. I’ve already seen reports that one rural hospital in Texas, the Aransas Pass Care Regional Medical Center is closed due to hurricane damage.

Sarah Young

Flex Program Coordinator

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP)