January 2021

January 2021

Dear Flex Coordinators,

Happy New Year! I am grateful to be starting off another year with you all, I have a lot of hope for 2021. Please see the important key updates for the Flex program.

  • January 30, 2021: Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Flex Annual Federal Financial Report (FFR)
    • Please reference the January VKG for additional information.
    • As of October 1st, 2020, there have been some changes made to the FFR submission process. Details on the change can be found here.
    • Note, you must use the FFR Remarks Section to express your intent to carryover funds. If you intend to carryover funds and do not make note in this section, you will be required to resubmit your FFR.
    • For any program that submitted a No Cost Extension for leftover H54 funds, you will have to submit 2 FFRs, one for your FY 2019 U2W award and one for the No Cost Extension H54 award.
  • March 1, 2021: Prior Approval Carryover Request
    • If you have an Unobligated Balance (UOB) for your U2W award, you have the option to carry over those funds to your current budget period, to be spent by August 31, 2021.
    • Please discuss your plan to utilize your carryover with your Project Officer.
    • You can then submit a Prior Approval – Carryover Request in Electronic Handbook (EHB). Please see this helpful video about the carryover request process. 
  • March 24, 2021: FY 2021 Non-Competing Continuation (NCC) Progress Report available
    • March 25, 2021, at 1:00 p.m. Central Time (CT), there will be an NCC technical assistance webinar.
    • The NCC report will be due in the Electronic Handbook (EHB) on May 14, 2021.

On February 18, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. CT, the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) will host a Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Project (MBQIP) Virtual Knowledge Group (VKG) to share updates regarding the quality activity in the forthcoming NCC. Flex staff and subcontractors that support MBQIP, Flex Coordinators, or others responsible for grant management may wish to attend. More information, including how to join the call, will be sent by the Rural Quality Improvement Technical Assistance (RQITA) team in the coming weeks.

In case you missed it, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) hosted a Telehealth Summit in late December. There was a ton of great information shared that may be of benefit to your programs and/or hospitals. The HHS Telehealth Website provides helpful tools to both patients and providers to assist them as they utilize telehealth technologies.  The Office for the Advancement of Telehealth (OAT) will lead the Rural Telehealth Initiative that is part of a memorandum of understanding between HHS, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As a first step in that effort, OAT is implementing a new Telehealth Broadband Pilot program to develop a better understanding of where the gaps in broadband coverage are for providers and patients in rural communities.

Please reach out to your Project Officer, Tori, Natalia, Tahleah, or Laura if you have any questions.

Many thanks,

Tori

This project is/was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UB1RH24206, Information Services to Rural Hospital Flexibility Program Grantees, $1,009,121 (0% financed with nongovernmental sources). This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.