Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the HIV/STD Prevention Projects Request for Proposals (RFP)
Last Updated July 12, 2012
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(Note: these are arranged by topic rather than by the day asked)Background
Track 1 – HIV Testing and Testing Outreach
Track 1 - Target Populations
Track 2 – HIV Prevention with Positives
Track 3 - Syringe Services
Track 4 – Prevent for Youth At High Risk of HIV (ages 13-24)
Q: Are the four tracks reflective of Part A of the CDC’s HIV Prevention funding announcement priority?
A: Yes, Part A only.
Q: If we are proposing that MDH pay for a piece of something (DEBI) we are doing, should we describe it?
A: Yes, Be sure to describe it and be very clear which activities are covered by each funding source and where additional funds are coming from or what in-kind donations are being used. This should be done both in the project narrative and on question D. Form H. Budget Narrative.
Q: If there are only two agencies funded in a category that can fund 2-3 agencies, will the pot be raised for those two agencies?
A: It depends on several factors to be considered as stated in Apendix C. Allocations and Funding Principles. However, we will do our best to make sure that we meet the needs of each track. If there is enough money to fund another agency, we would consider funding them to cover unmet needs. If there is not enough money for a whole project, then funds may be distributed to the selected projects, or MDH may use the funds to meet other unmet needs for the population served by the track or target population.
Q: Is the funding availability table on page 8 of the RFP per year?
A: Yes, it is the estimated amount of funds available for program tracks and target population annually. However, the availability of these funds is contingent upon both state and federal awards. Available funds are likely to decrease each subsequent year as CDC funding declines.
Q: What are the main funding sources for the RFP?
A: MDH –STD/HIV Section gets about 1.2 million dollars per year from the state plus approximately another $500, 000 of federal funds funneled to HIV grants. However, there are no guarantees that this amount will stay the same throughout the entire funding grant cycle. Also we only use state funds for syringe services.
Q: If part of a proposal serves clients in a clinic, is CDC evaluation web able to be connected to another database? (i.e. connected to electronic medical records)
A: No, it is a stand-alone program.
Q: What is the duration of the funding grant cycle for this RFP?
A: The funding grant cycle is four years (2013-2016), however we are only sure of adequate funding for the first two years. We may keep the same grantees (providers) for the third and four years at reduced amounts that will be negotiated based on the availability of both state and federal funding or we may need to reduce the number of grantees.
Q: Does an agency have to apply separately for each population if it serves more than one population?
A: Yes, you must submit separate proposals for each population (e.g. MSM, high-risk heterosexual Latinos, etc.) within Track 1. unless you are applying for the Greater Minnesota funds, in which case it can be for combined or specific target populations. Tracks 2, 3, and 4 are for mixed populations within their defined focus area.
Q: How can agencies find out which organizations have submitted Notices of Intent (NOIs) for different populations to help collaborate?
A: We have previously done this on a case by case basis upon request. We will examine if we can legally post the list on the FAQ page. However, you can always approach an organization you feel is a good match for collaboration whether or not they submit a proposal.
Q: Some agencies have already submitted Notices of Intent (NOI) checking all boxes and may later decide that they cannot apply in all the tracks they checked. Will it be OK for the agency to collaborate with another agency?
A: Yes, you can approach another agency for collaboration whether or not you checked all the boxes as collaboration is encouraged.
Q: In my NOI I said I would do one thing and have now changed my mind, what do I do?
A: You need to amend your NOI (before 7/15). You may check off things that you discover later that you cannot do. It is OK to decide later to not submit a proposal for a track you checked off on your NOI.
Q: Can agencies attach photos to supplement their project narrative?
A: Yes, if you choose, you can attach pictures as long as you do not exceed the page limits. You may also use flow charts and other graphics, but must stay within the page limit.
Q: If an applicant agency intends to collaborate with another agency, do they need an MOA?
A: MOA is required for Track 1 HIV testing and Outreach collaboration only, but if it makes sense for another track and more accurately reflects your relationship then you can use an MOA. You do not need an MOA for Peer leaders who will receive stipends. Usually stipends are allowable expense, but must be included in the agency program budget narrative.
Q: Is writing the proposals using double sided spacing OK?
A: No, single sided spacing only. Print on only one side of the paper.
Q: For target populations; MSM and YMSM, are all races included?
A: Yes, YMSM is aged 13-24 all races, and Adult MSM is all races.
Q: Does the partners chart Form I need to be completed whether or not agencies collaborate?
A: Yes, this chart relates to who you work with to serve your clients. It should reflect meaningful relationships that help you accomplish your proposed programming and activities.
Q: If I want to partner with someone, do they have to have 501 (c)3?
A: No, as long as the lead agency applicant has a 501(c)3 classification and meets the other eligibility criteria.
Q: Do page limits include attachments?
A: Each track project narrative is limited to 12 pages or less written in a 12-point font with one inch margins and single-spaced lines on 8.5X11 –inch single side paper and the agency narrative is limited to 4 pages. However, the partner chart and budget narratives do not have a page limits but please note that we do not want letters of support to be attached. There is no overall limit to the length of the proposal.
Q: How many copies of the audit report are needed? Or do the agencies submit an audit report per proposal?
A: Only one audit report per agency is required; you do not need one for each proposal if you are submitting multiple proposals.
Q: Are there page limits on budget narrative?
Q: Is there a maximum or minimum number of partners to be included in the partner chart – Form I?
A: No. However, please include only meaningful relationships or partners.
Q: Is a new agency eligible to apply?
A: Yes, as long as the applicant meets the eligibility criteria listed in Form A part 3. And has a 501(c)3 classification by January 1, 2013.
Q: Is in person delivery of proposals acceptable prior to the July 24, 2012 deadline?
A: Yes, please contact Amy Kalal at email@example.com to coordinate drop off if before July 24, 2012.
EDIT: Form G, Item 11 should read Proposed Amount for 2 Year Grant Period 1/1/2013 - 12/31/2014)
Q: Should Form I include letters of support?
A: No, please do not submit letters of support. Letters of support are not required as the partners chart replaced their function.
Q: Is there page limit on budget narrative?
Q: Is there a maximum or minimum for partners?
Q: For budget and budget narrative, are names of program staff required or just the positions?
A: Either is fine.
Q: Does the agency need to have worker’s comp. in place before they start programming or operating if currently there are no employees?
A: If selected for funding, an agency must have worker’s comp. in place when they start operating on January 1, 2013. We expect to notify agencies if they’ve been selected for funding in mid-October which would give enough time to comply with worker’s comp. requirements.
Q: Do we need to have an MOA if we are sending people for confirmatory testing.
A: Confirmatory testing does not need an MOA. Confirmatory testing is a required piece of HIV CTR Link to Care and the project description narrative asks for this process to be described.
Q: What about organizations not currently doing testing, but during outreach have found that testing is needed for their community?
A: You do not need to be testing currently to apply for Track 1.
Q: Can you have a testing program at your organization and with someone else through a MOA?
Q: What is the positivity rate for Minnesota?
A: We do not know as we do not know how many tests are performed in private practice settings. In other words, we do not know the denominator.
Q: How are tests reimbursed for clinics?
A: They are paid through the budget of the grant agreement and must be planned for in the budget narrative.
Q: Resources received from MDH for clinics are not the same as CBOs and that puts a burden on the clinic’s budget.
A: That is true. If you are a clinic, funds for test kits and supplies must be included in the budget narrative. Clinics already purchase medical supplies and diagnostic tools—this is no different.
Q: The current outreach grant we have provides tests even though we are clinic; should we budget for testing in this proposal?
A: Yes, budget for testing kits and supplies in your budget narrative this time as your agency is a clinic.
Q: If we are a clinic, do we need to reach the 51% of the target population (eligibility criteria)?
A: Yes, you need to reach 51% as listed. We want to make sure that the majority of people reached with these dollars are from the proposed target population. You also need to be culturally appropriate (age, race, sexual orientation, etc.) to serve that target population.
Q: Related to the 51%, we serve a mixed base of patients, how do we handle that?
A: If you are funded to reach a target population, 51% of the people you reach through this grant contract must be from that population. Hopefully, due to your clinic’s cultural appropriateness to serve that population, you already have access to the targeted community.
Q: When training staff, is MDH available for onsite training, like counseling and testing (CTR) training?
A: MDH will train onsite for some things such as rapid test kit procedures and operation. HIV Prevention Counseling trainings (the CTR Trainings listed on our website) are offered 3 – 4 times per year and held at MDH. If a clinic has many too many providers to attend our CTR Trainings, the clinic could send a staff person to the CDC’s Train the Trainer version of the mandated courses. Then that person would be certified to teach the CDC courses to other clinic personnel. MDH will also provide support for evaluation and reporting requirements.
Q: How many testing sites currently achieve the 1% positivity goal?
A: Historically, the Hennepin County Public Health Clinic and the HCMC Positive Care Center have achieved that positivity rate and higher. This will be hard to achieve for CBOs, and we ask that grantees work with us to reach and test those at highest risk.
Q: Does that have anything to do with testing at least 50 people a year?
A: No that is quality assurance measure for testing staff to maintain a finger-stick and testing skills.
Q: If the MOA is more of a partnership or more than a referral tracking, who gets credit?
A: Both, if both are grantees. Each site gets credit for what they do: outreach sites get credit for the positivity rate in who they connect to testing, and testing sites get credit for their own positivity rate.
Q: We are worried about duplication of reporting of newly diagnosed cases, who is the report to MDH Surveillance from?
A: The report always comes from the provider who is doing the test (this would be the testing site, not the outreach program). If the last test you do with a client is the reactive rapid, report that. If the last test you do with a client is a confirmatory positive, then report that.
Q: Within MOA, do we need to maintain a positivity rate?
A: If you are the clinic that other agencies want an MOA with, you do not need to worry about the positivity rate of that program or how to keep track of their clients. All you are agreeing to do is to give their referred clients an HIV test and report back the results to the Outreach partner. The MDH will sit down with all sites funded to do Outreach and work out a feasible tracking system that they can use with their chosen referral clinics to track the connection to testing and their programs’ positivity rate.
Q: 100% of the referred testing clients have to be reported, so what if some don’t show up at the test site?
A: It happens, and it will happen in the future. Outreach will be more than handing out a card; it needs to be more active/aggressive and connect clients to an HIV test, but still not everyone will show up. You may be directly taking people in for testing.
Q: In the past, we used different tests for different clients, will that continue?
A: Clinics may purchase the products of their choice. The MDH buys for community based agencies and there are a couple different tests to choose from.
Q: How do we handle anonymous tests and getting credit for the test being performed?
A: We need to figure it out as this is new. The MDH will sit down with all sites funded to do Outreach and work out a feasible tracking system that they can use with their chosen referral clinics to track the connection to testing and their programs’ positivity rate.
Q: Could you say something about Evaluation Web?
A: Evaluation Web is a new official CDC on-line HIV testing data system that is basically a website address that you do not need any special software to use. It is confidential and secure. You can access your data at any time. There is a process to get on to it, but once on, it is easy. We will guide you through everything.
Q: Do you want the actual copy of MOA or do we use the one in the RFP?
A: Use the template in the RFP; there is a link to some samples. The MOA must contain the elements described in the template. Again, the MOAs are a requirement only in Testing Outreach.
Q: Does that mean that the CBO becomes the site?
A: The CBO becomes the site and the clinic is the partner in the MOA. Clinics, although not required, may also use an MOA with an agency (CBO) if they want to show that they have access to testing a certain target population.
Q: When it comes to data collection with evaluation web, do you want us to use that when we do the proposal or do we use the way we currently do it?
A: Since we provide the data collection tools (like Evaluation Web), just describe how you currently collect and use your data for the purpose of evaluating the implementation of your program.
Q: If you are a clinic site and proposing outreach, can you put testing supplies in your budget?
A: If you are proposing to do only Outreach, you will not have testing supplies. If you are a clinic proposing Outreach and Testing, then include the line item in your budget for test kits and supplies.
Q: MSM and YMSM; what is the age range? Do you have to serve the whole age range?
A: You do not have to serve the whole range which is 13 – 24 for YMSM and 25+ for Adult MSM. If you apply for YMSM you can focus on a sub-group such as adolescents or young adults or you can server the whole 13-24 age range.
Q: What is age range for adult MSM?
A: Ages 25+
Q: Do we need to be very specific in the Greater Minnesota Track 1 about how many co-factors, target populations we reach?
A: Greater Minnesota is its own target population, and has its own co-factors (see Appendix B). Greater MN is inclusive of all the target populations, but exclusive of services to any population within the 7-county Metro area. In your proposal, you will describe how you are culturally and developmentally appropriate with the specific communities (i.e.; MSM; youth; Native American) you are proposing to serve within the Greater MN target population.
Q: Regarding Prevention Case Management (PCM) – if we currently do HIV Case Management, do you see that as another program/service?
A: Prevention Case Management is different from HIV Medical Case Management. PCM is for a client that has difficulty using condoms or not sharing needles and may require more than five individual prevention counseling sessions. Please see definitions in Appendix A.
Q: Are there income requirements for Prevention Case Management like with Ryan White Medical Case Management?
A: No. PCM is much more flexible and does not have income eligibility requirements.
Q: In Track 2 the third bullet excludes persons at a higher risk because of being with a + person but does not know?
A: No, the third bullet of the first NOTE in the Track 2 Overview includes persons at a higher risk because of being with a + person, whether they are currently negative or is positive but not aware.
Q: Condom distribution’s not a part of Track 2?
A: Condom distribution is required in all tracks but you will be required to distribute them specifically to people at high risk for transmitting or acquiring HIV. It will no longer be sufficient to just fill a bowl with condoms at some location or randomly hand them out at health fairs, condom distribution must be focused to your target population.
Q: Do you want us to have MOA with MDH Partner Services?
A: No, it’s MDH Partner Services job to interview and counsel newly diagnosed clients so an MOA is not necessary.
Q: If we have client that came in through a Ryan White program, would we need to show that we got the person into PCM via a RW program?
A: No, but a flow chart could illustrate your internal agency workings and how you intend to recruit clients for your proposed PCM program.
Q: Can you talk more about Track 2 and not funding medication adherence?
A: We are not going to fund programs to do medication adherence as there are agencies already funded to do that through Ryan White funds. We do not want to duplicate what is already occurring.
Q: Has MDH funded PCM in the past?
A: Yes, there were agencies funded to do PCM in the past. However, none are currently funded for that intervention. PCM requires specialized training and procedures.
Q: PCM – It’s required that we work with the sex or needle sharing partners of our index client, how do we work with the partner(s)?
A: PCM would be appropriate for those who are HIV positive and/or their partners.
Q: How do you locate positives in your community and maintain confidentiality?
A: Through social networks, referrals from other agencies or clinics; or inter-agency referral; no one gives out names without a release. You are not being told the identity of a person who is HIV positive, the client is being actively referred to you by a friend, peer or agency.
Q: How will you find and weigh proposals regarding finding positive people who are unaware and have reviewers that are knowledgeable about community nuances?
A: There is no magic way to do find reviewers. We train the reviewers and strive to get community reviewers who reflect the populations being served because they should know their community best. We want to push programs to reach people who are unaware they are HIV positive or who have dropped out of care.
Q: If providing HIV testing as part of your Track 2 Prevention with Positives Program do we not complete a proposal for Track 1?
A. No, do not complete a Track 1 proposal if it is testing just for the clients in your Track 2 proposal. Describe how testing the sexual and needle-sharing partners of people with HIV will be implemented in your Track 2 application. Follow the same requirements for testing as in Track 1 (including budget requirements).
Q: I had heard that Narcan does not work?
A: Yes, it does work if the drug taken is an opiate. Narcan, or Naloxon, is an opiate antagonist and reverses an overdose by reversing opioid respiratory depression and is very effective. It will not work if the person is overdosing from a non-narcotic such as crack.
Q: Narcan wears off, will there be training on what to do next?
A: Yes, MDH will train on overdose prevention protocol, which will include calling emergency medical services.
Q: Can you expand on the protocol for Narcan?
A: Narcan is a prescription medication and agencies can have a doctor oversee their Narcan distribution. If an agency cannot get a doctor to oversee the prescription administration, they will still do the other elements of overdose prevention education. Narcan distribution is not a requirement at this time, however overdose prevention education is.
Q: If an agency does Track 1 and Track 3, they should have separate tests/numbers?
A: Yes. You can be given separate numbers in evaluation web if you want to keep track of different programs. Keep in mind, if you only apply for Track 3, or only apply for Track 2, and want to conduct HIV testing with that population (HIV Positive or IDU), describe HIV testing in your proposal but do not fill out a Track 1 application as HIV Positive and IDU are not Track 1 target populations. You will be held to the same testing requirements as in Track 1(including budget requirements).
Q: If providing HIV testing as part of your Track 3 Syringe Services program do not add an application for Track 1?
A. No, do not add a Track 1 application as IDU is not a Target Population for Track 1. Describe how testing will be implemented in your Track 3 application. You will be held to the same requirements for testing as in Track 1.
Q: Are syringes supplied by MDH like test kits for CBO’s?
A: No. All applicants for Track 3 should budget for syringes, disposal, and safer-injection supplies in their budget narrative.
Q: You could have applications for Syringe Services who ignore MSM/IDU, what would you do if there was no application that will fit the needs of MSM/IDU?
A: We expect people who provide syringe services for IDUs to be culturally competent in providing services for MSM (as well as non-MSM). The MDH will internally review the proposals to ensure that there are Syringe Services in Minnesota culturally competent to serve MSM.
Q: Are there resources to estimate how much it costs to text or provide the other “new media” in this track?
A: Most applications and services are free. ISIS Inc. is a valuable resource and will be brought in by MDH for all grantees and agencies who receive grants for this track. Additional information and resources are listed as links at the end of each Track in the RFP.
Q: There lots of youth that do not have iPods or computers and may need to be reached the old way.
A: We are aware this intervention will not reach everyone. However, data by Pew Research and others show that the majority of youth, including homeless youth, have access to the internet and often smart phones. This is a way we can reach as many youth as possible in the most cost efficient manner. Additional information and resources are listed as links at the end of each Track in the RFP.
Q: How is success defined? Is it more about counting tweets?
A: Track 4 is a virtual intervention, not face to face. Reporting will cover website hits, friend requests, re-tweets, links, etc. Specifics regarding reporting will be determined.
Q: When it says all races, all ages, could someone propose to do part of that age range?
A: Yes, you can target 13-17 or 18-24 or whatever combination you feel you can best address.
Q: Where there are other sources of funding for a program, should they be listed?
A: Yes, there are sections B and D of the Form H Budget Narrative that you complete to include other funding sources or in-kind contributions.
Q: If an agency proposes to serve or reach a projected X number of people and only reaches W, will the agency’s budget be reduced?
A: There is some flexibility depending on the circumstances since no one situation fits all. However, an agency’s proposed projections or estimates should be based on the number of persons they have previously served in a year. In other words, base your projections on your prior experience serving this population or providing the proposed activity.
Q: If you are a clinic based HIV testing site and proposing outreach, should you put testing supplies in your budget?
A: Yes, if you are a clinic, you need to include a line item in your Budget Narrative for test kits and supplies, even if they will be used in an outreach setting.
Q: In the Budget and Budget narrative, do you want names or just the positions?
A: Either is fine.
Q: What kind of information do we need to collect on condom distribution?
A: The required information will be in the report forms. We do not have a detailed answer as it is a work in progress - CDC is still changing the requirements and MDH will work with the applicants with this issue.
Q: To insure that condoms are going to correct populations, do we have to know exactly who gets them?
A: you will be required to distribute them specifically to people at high risk for transmitting or acquiring HIV. It will no longer be sufficient to just fill a bowl with condoms at some location or distribute them randomly at health fairs.
Q: Regarding reporting, do we report everyone we reach even if they are not part of our target population?
A: Yes, report everyone you reach.
Q: Should we list race?
A: Yes, race, age, etc. Demographic reporting requirements will be part of your report system.
Q: If you do a DEBI, is there a time line seeing as trainings happen after the awards. How do you get started if there is not training available until after 1/1/13?
A: The CDC capacity building assistance training calendars only list trainings offered 3 months ahead of time. MDH is aware of this. An agency that receives notice of a grant award in October of 2012 will have time to register for training in the first few months of 2013.
Q: The RFP states “Projects will NOT be funded to address co‐factors without addressing their impact on HIV risks. Projects will NOT be funded for activities that duplicate what is already being provided through other resources.” How do you know that you are not picking the same co-factor as someone else?
A: Do your best to choose a co-factor you know is not being fully met by another provider or within your agency through other services.
Q: Are you requiring certain level of collaboration, like MOAs?
A: There are different levels of collaboration and MOAs are required only for Track 1. We all have to find different ways to work together to cover these new goals that have been given to us by CDC.
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