FY 2021 American Rescue Plan Funding for Health Center Controlled Networks (HQC) Frequently Asked Questions

On April 29, 2021, HRSA announced the release of approximately $10.5 million in American Rescue Plan funding for current Health Center Controlled Networks (HCCNs). Funding will be used to support participating health centers (PHCs) to leverage health information technology and data to respond to and mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and enhance health care services and infrastructure.

For additional information and resources, review the HQC technical assistance webpage and use the contact information on that page to submit new questions as needed.

Categories

HQC Awards

How do we access our American Rescue Plan (HQC) task in HRSA’s Electronic Handbooks (EHBs)?

To view and begin working on your HQC Award Submission (due June 28, 2021), add your HQC award to your existing award portfolio in EHBs (see instructions).

(Added: 5/7/2021)

Why was HQC funding issued through a separate award?

To support tracking of American Rescue Plan spending, awards were issued separately from your current operational HCCN award (starting with H2Q). American Rescue Plan funding award numbers start with HQC. You will need to separately track and account for your activities supported through HQC funding.

(Added: 5/7/2021)

When can we start using our American Rescue Plan funding?

To expedite distribution of this critical funding, HRSA has made funds immediately available. However, HQC funding may not be used until your HQC Award Submission has been approved by HRSA, except for immediate cash needs to support PHCs as they prepare for, promote, distribute, administer, and track COVID-19 vaccines, and activities necessary to mitigate the spread of COVID–19, consistent with your notice of award (NoA).

(Added: 5/7/2021)

How do we complete the required HQC Award Submission?

You will respond to the HQC Award Submission task in your HQC award folder by uploading the required attachments outlined in the HQC Award Submission Requirement Guidance. Award submissions are due in EHBs by 11:59 p.m. ET on June 28, 2021.

The week of May 3, HRSA will email blank templates to use when developing the attachments to include in your response (e.g., project work plan). The email will go to the project director, business official, and authorizing official for your H2Q award. If those individuals cannot locate the notification email, they may need to check their spam folders. Use the BPHC Contact Form to have the email re-sent. (Select “EHBs” for the Question Type, select “Applications-Systems Questions” for the BPHC Category, and select “Health Center Controlled Networks” for the BPHC Sub Category.)

(Added: 5/7/2021)

What is the PIN to access HQC funding in the Payment Management System (PMS)?

HCCNs will use the same PIN they use to access their H2Q grant funding through the PMS. If you experience any issues accessing your HQC funding, please contact your PMS accountant, whom you can identify through Find Your PMS Liaison Accountant, and/or contact the assigned Grants Management Specialist identified in your HQC NoA.

(Added: 5/7/2021)

Project Work Plan

Do we have to propose activities for each of the five activity categories?

No. Your activities must address one or more of the activity categories listed in the HQC Award Submission Requirement Guidance. The activity categories you address should support PHCs to respond to the areas of greatest need.

(Added: 5/7/2021)

What if an activity aligns with multiple activity categories?

Identify the one activity category that best aligns with the activity to ensure activities are not duplicated in your HQC project work plan.

(Added: 5/7/2021)

Can we update our activities after our HQC Award Submission is approved?

You may rebudget HQC funding to change activities, consistent with the purpose of HQC funding and the terms of your award, to meet evolving needs of PHCs. Contact your project officer to discuss potential adjustments prior to changing your activities.

You do not need to submit a prior approval request to rebudget HQC funding if the proposed use of funding aligns with the HQC funding intent and HCCN grant (H2Q) scope of project, avoids ineligible uses of funding as outlined in your NoA, and complies with 45 CFR part 75.

A prior approval request in EHBs is required if the amount of the costs to be rebudgeted: 1) exceeds 25 percent of your total HQC award, 2) shifts funds to a line item in your budget that previously had no federal funds, or 3) adds new equipment to the project or requires prior approval as per other budget or program changes cited in 45 CFR part 75 and the HHS Grants Policy Statement. Contact the Grants Management Specialist listed on your HQC NoA with questions.

(Added: 5/7/2021)

Will the HQC project work plan be part of our H2Q project work plan?

No, your required HQC project work plan is specific to HQC funding only, and is separate from your H2Q project work plan. Your HQC project work plan will be submitted in EHBs as an attachment, unlike the H2Q project work plan that you completed in EHBs.

(Added: 5/7/2021)

Budget

Will we receive HQC funding in both year 1 and year 2 of the period of performance?

No. HQC funding is one-time funding, for use throughout a 2-year period of performance (May 1, 2021 – April 30, 2023). Your SF-424A Budget Information form should reflect the entire one-time HQC funding amount listed on your NoA. On your budget narrative, you should break down costs for year 1 and year 2, with the sum equal to the award amount listed on your NoA. Funds are not expected to be spent equally each year.

(Added: 5/7/2021)

Can we use HQC funds on pre-award activities?

Yes. HQC funding supports pre-award costs for allowable activities dating back to January 31, 2020 that address the HQC funding purpose. Clearly identify any pre-award costs or activities in the budget narrative and project work plan included in your HQC Award Submission. Contact the Grants Management Specialist listed on your HQC NoA with questions on how to include pre-award costs in your submission materials.

Additionally, if you draw down funds before your HQC Award Submission is approved, your submitted budget must include those costs used between the date of award until submission of the budget to HRSA.

(Added: 5/7/2021)

Can we use HQC funding to continue an activity started with COVID-19 funding we received last year?

HQC funds may not be used for activity costs already paid for by prior COVID-19 supplemental funding or other resources. However, HQC funding may support new costs to continue or expand activities initiated with your prior COVID-19 award or other sources of funding.

(Added: 5/7/2021)

How should we categorize equipment that costs less than $5,000?

For budget purposes, only include equipment items on the Equipment List form if they have a unit price of $5,000 or more. Equipment that does not meet that threshold should be listed under Supplies in your budget narrative, and should not be included on the Equipment List form.

(Added: 5/7/2021)

Since the HQC award has a two-year budget period, when do we need to submit the Federal Financial Report (FFR)?

The FFR (Standard Form 425) is due annually for your HQC award. The first FFR will be due on July 30, 2022, and will be marked as “ANNUAL.” The second and final FFR of the performance period will be due on July 30, 2023, and will be marked as “FINAL.” Both FFRs will be submitted through the Payment Management System.

(Added: 5/25/2021)

Date Last Reviewed:  May 2021