FAQ: PCORI LHS Pilot Community, Nov. 2 – Budget & Staffing

Q:  What cost items are allowable in our budget?

A:  You should follow the normal PCORI guidelines.

Q:  What will our award consist of?

A:  Awards will consist of your direct and indirect costs, as well as any resources and support services that we may need to provide to your network.

Q:  What is the purpose of network awards?

A:  The overarching purpose of awards is to build up each network’s capability so that they can sustain the work after the two-year award.

Q:  Will Cincinnati provide the network operations and coordinating center?

A:  No, we will provide direct coaching and resource support for your network to do the work of a network coordination and operations center.  Networks should propose their own staff who will receive mentorship and coaching in the respective network roles.

Q:  What will be QI coaching supports during Design?  

A:  We will make experienced QICs available to support networks during the design phase.  Each network could either have an experienced collaborative quality improvement expert to fill that role, contract with the program office to fill this role, or you could recruit a quality improvement consultant (QIC) familiar with collaborative efforts, and we are very glad to help you find that resource.  In any case, you should budget for such a person/role.  You may decide to allocate less effort for a QIC during the Design phase, when that person’s role could consist of receiving coaching from our experienced QICs.

Q:  What should we budget for in-person, face-to-face meetings?

A:  Every network should plan to attend two face-to-face learning sessions/community conferences a year for the PCORI LHS Community.  All networks are invited.  We are able to waive the meeting cost thanks to the PCORnet funding.   Each network should budget for travel expenses to send the appropriate representation.  Likewise, each network should budget to hold its own network-level learning sessions twice a year, with appropriate representation from your centers and stakeholders.

Q:  What % FTE should we budget for various roles?
A:  We intentionally did not prescribe a certain % FTE or hours per role, because the required effort depends on the number of centers, and numbers of other stakeholders and organizations, as well as how quickly you expect to scale up your network.  FTEs should be scoped and sized appropriately to your network’s current size and growth strategy.

Q:  Are indirects included in the total value of PCORI’s support?
A:  Yes.  You should use PCORI’s indirect rate.

Q:  Are there specific activities in the design phase that you can assign an estimate cost to?
A:  No, there is not any one correct answer to that question for all networks.

Q:  Does the technology platform that you will provide include support for integration or transition from our current system?  How will this work be coordinated going forward?
A:  No.  Each network should plan to support integration and transition on their own.  For more detailed advice about coordinating your technology system, you should attend Office Hours on Nov. 8 from 4-5 pm EST, as well as schedule a coaching call with us.

Q:  How would you like us to represent in our budget any in-kind resources that partner organizations might provide?
A:  We would like you to include those resources and their amount of effort in your budget but with a $0 amount in the appropriate cost line item.  For example, you might have a meetings/events/logistics manager already on staff whom you plan to allocate to this project; you should allocate their effort in your budget as usual but at zero cost.

Q:  How should we position this work with clinical care delivery systems?  Could you provide any examples of what the value proposition would be to participating clinical sites?
A:  Please review the presentation by Dr. Jeff Anderson that is posted on the PCORnet Commons [password: LHS] as well as the sample letter of agreement from ImproveCareNow.  You should be looking for a strategic commitment from the senior leaders at clinical sites that will participate in your network.

Q:  If we are expanding, should we have the sites identified now for the grant?
A:  As part of the application process, we want to ensure you are building connections with clinical sites. Having a set number of sites onboard is not required; but we need to see either through LOS or other parts of your application that you have clinical sites ready to partner with you, if they are not partnering with you already.  You can do additional recruiting during the first 9 months (during Design), but you will have to hit the ground running as fast as possible, and having sites onboard from the start will be very helpful to you.  Whether your network is starting with 3 sites or 15, we would like you to demonstrate a level of certainty about your growth or scale-up strategy, respectively.

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