If you have a question that is not addressed by these FAQs, by the LAL ECT notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) (PDF - 325 KB), or by the LAL ECT technical assistance webpage, please submit it through the BPHC Contact Form. Select "Coronavirus Inquiries (COVID-19)" as the issue type, and then select “Look-Alike COVID-19 Funding.”
For general COVID-19 information, including additional testing-related FAQs, see the Health Center Program COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions.
Funding Purpose and Methodology
- What funding has HRSA awarded to support Health Center Program look-alikes in responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency?
On Thursday, July 9, HRSA announced the release of more than $17 million in Look-Alikes: Expanding Capacity for Coronavirus Testing (LAL ECT) funding provided by the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (PDF) to support 78 Health Center Program look-alikes in expanding capacity for COVID-19 testing. For additional information, see the LAL ECT technical assistance webpage.
- What are the purpose and allowed uses of LAL ECT funding?
The purpose of the LAL ECT funding is to enable Health Center Program look-alikes to purchase, administer, and expand capacity for testing to monitor and suppress COVID-19. Funding may support a wide-range of testing and testing-related in-scope activities that may change as COVID-19 needs evolve within your community.
- How was the amount of LAL ECT funding determined for each Health Center Program look-alike?
HRSA used the following formula:
- Base value of $98,329 and $16,123 additional at time of award, plus
- $15.00 per patient reported in the 2019 Uniform Data System.
- Can a recently designated Health Center Program look-alike apply for LAL ECT funding?
Only Health Center Program look-alikes that were designated on or prior to May 18, 2020, were eligible to apply for LAL ECT funding.
- Can a Health Center Program look-alike request a project period extension for a LAL ECT funding award if more time is needed to complete previously approved activities under this award?
HRSA awarded one-time LAL ECT funding with a 12-month period of performance. If you need additional time (up to 12 months) to complete your approved project or program-related activities, you must submit a separate Extension Without Funds (no cost extension) prior approval request to HRSA. Extension requests must be made through HRSA's Electronic Handbooks prior to the project period end date of your award. You may not use this one-time extension to expend unused funds for new or additional project or program-related activities. All extension requests are subject to HRSA approval. Contact your Grants Management Specialist with any additional questions.
Allowed Uses of Funds
- Can LAL ECT funds be used to cover costs for COVID-19 testing from prior months that were not reimbursed through other programs or insurance?
LAL ECT funding can be used for pre-award costs that support non-reimbursed expenses related to COVID-19 testing and testing-related activities to address the coronavirus public health emergency dating back to January 20, 2020.
- What should a Health Center Program look-alike do if testing supplies cannot be purchased with LAL ECT funds at this time?
HRSA acknowledges that health center and community testing needs, access to testing supplies, and/or roles in public health responses vary. Your proposed activities should take into account testing needs that may evolve over the 12 months you have to use your LAL ECT funds from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021 (e.g., available tests, workflows, personnel skills and knowledge, technology, supplies).
- Can LAL ECT funds be used to conduct COVID-19 contact tracing?
LAL ECT funds may be used for COVID-19 contact tracing of health center patients, provided such activities are within the health center’s scope of project. Contract tracing activities should follow CDC and other applicable public health guidance, and be coordinated as appropriate with federal, state, and local public health response efforts.
Health center contact tracing activities other than those described above, as well as activities performed on behalf of a third party, including on behalf of a federal, state, or local public health agency, would constitute another line of business outside the scope of the Health Center Program project. See the Health Center Program COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions for additional information.
- Can LAL ECT funds be used to rent space, including temporary structures?
LAL ECT funds can only be used for sites or locations where in-scope testing or testing-related activities occur, including an approved temporary site. The process for adding temporary sites during emergencies is described in PAL 2020-05: Requesting a Change in Scope to Add Temporary Service Sites in Response to Emergency Events (PDF - 184 KB). See the Health Center Program COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions for more information about temporary sites.
- Can LAL ECT funds be used for supplies necessary for health center personnel to participate in telehealth from their homes, including tablets, phones, webcams, speakers, etc.?
LAL ECT funds may be used to purchase supplies necessary for health center personnel to use telehealth to support COVID-19 testing-related in-scope activities, in accordance with the individual funding announcement requirements, the Uniform Administrative Requirements, federal cost principles, audit requirements for HHS Awards (45 CFR Part 75), and your organization’s policies. You must maintain appropriate records and cost documentation as required by 45 CFR § 75.302 - Financial Management and Standards for Financial Management Systems, and 45 CFR § 75.361 - Retention Requirement for Records, to substantiate the charging of any salaries and other project activities costs related to interruption of operations or services. For additional information, refer to COVID-19 Grantee Frequently Asked Questions.
- Since LAL ECT funds only support in-scope testing-related activities, how can a Health Center Program look-alike determine whether a scope adjustment or change in scope is required to ensure their scope of project accurately reflects their LAL ECT activities?
Review the Scope of Project requirements, including information on Form 5A: Services Provided, Form 5B: Service Sites, and Form 5C: Other Activities/Locations to ensure your scope of project accounts for your testing activities, testing location(s), and whether testing and/or laboratory services are provided directly by the health center, through a formal written contract/agreement, or through a referral arrangement. For additional information on service delivery and temporary sites, see the Health Center Program COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions. Consult your Project Officer as needed to submit any necessary scope adjustment or change in scope requests.
Maintaining Capacity and Personnel Support
- Can LAL ECT funds be used to cover revenue lost as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency?
Many health centers are experiencing reductions in revenue due to COVID-19 related closures and limitations on non-urgent care. While federal award funds do not replace lost revenue (e.g., reimbursement for dental or primary care visits from public and private health insurance sources), you may use LAL ECT funding to cover fixed operational costs that support COVID-19 testing-related in-scope activities, (e.g., rent and utilities for testing sites, testing-related supplies, personnel engaged in testing activities). This includes the use of funds for testing-related obligations incurred during the course of the emergency, since January 20, 2020, that have not been reimbursed through other sources.
Separate from LAL ECT funding, Health Center Program look-alikes may be eligible to be reimbursed or compensated for lost revenues through other federal or state programs. For additional information on other available resources during the COVID-19 public health emergency, see the Health Center Program COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions.
- Can LAL ECT funds be used for hazard pay or a “pandemic premium”?
LAL ECT funds may be used for hazard and premium pay only for personnel involved in COVID-19 testing-related in-scope activities, and only if you have policies and procedures in place that cover this type of hazard or premium pay. Personnel who will be paid with grant funding must receive salary and benefits consistent with your health center's policies for paying salaries under unexpected or extraordinary circumstances from all funding sources, federal and non-federal.
If you do not have such policies in place, you should immediately develop and officially adopt them. You must document that you are following your organizational policy for charging salaries during unexpected and extraordinary circumstances. For additional information, refer to COVID-19 Grantee Frequently Asked Questions.
- In addition to LAL ECT funding, can a Health Center Program look-alike access loans, reimbursement, and other funding sources that are available through other COVID-19 relief programs?
There are no specific funding prohibitions regarding health centers accessing loans and other economic relief programs. However, you must demonstrate distinct use (i.e., by budgeting and documenting expenditures) of funds consistent with the applicable law. You may not use LAL ECT funds for costs that are reimbursed or compensated by other federal or state programs or resources (e.g., the HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Program, Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program, the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund, unemployment compensation). In applying for and accepting these loans or funding, review the programs’ particular requirements to determine their eligibility, adhere to any conditions and terms, and consult with the relevant organization or agency making the loans or grants for further guidance.
In addition, you must monitor expenditures from all sources to ensure compliance with the individual funding requirements, as well as with any requirements of loan agreements, and adhere to the Uniform Administrative Requirements, federal cost principles, audit requirements for HHS awards (45 CFR Part 75), and your organization’s policies. To meet program requirements and correctly attribute costs to specific programs, you must maintain appropriate records and cost documentation as required by 45 CFR §75.302 - Financial management and standards for financial management systems, and 45 CFR §75.361 - Retention requirement for records, to substantiate the charging of any salaries and other project activities costs related to interruption of operations or services. For additional information on maintaining compliance with Health Center Program requirements (e.g., applicability of sliding fee, billing and collections) during the COVID-19 public health emergency, see the Health Center Program COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions.