HRSA grants serve millions of Americans with quality, affordable health care and other services.
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), a federal agency of the U.S. Department, offers health care to people who live in geographically isolated, economically, or medically vulnerable areas.
The programs are meant for people living with chronic diseases, HIV / AIDS, pregnant women and their families, and others who cannot find quality health care.
HRSA also supports health professionals’ training, the allocation of resources to areas where they are most in need, and the improvement of health services.
Besides, HRSA compensates individuals harmed by vaccination and oversees organ and cord blood donation.
Nearly 90% of HRSA’s funding comes from grants and cooperative agreements with approximately 3,000 recipients, including community organizations, state, local, and government agencies, colleges, and institutions. Schools, hospitals, and private organizations.
Introduction to HRSA Grants – Mission, Vision & Goals
The mission of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is to improve public health and achieve health equity by giving access to quality services, a skilled health workforce, and high-value innovative programs.
The vision is to create healthy communities with healthy people.
4 Main Goals of HRSA Grants:
1. Increase Access to Quality Health Care Services
HRSA offers a range of programs designed to improve health equity, enhance the quality and breadth of health services, increase the number of healthcare access points, and safeguard the Nation’s most vulnerable populations’ health and well-being.
2. Strengthen the Health Staff
HRSA endeavors to ensure that underserved communities have well-trained, diverse healthcare providers to address and promote needed care.
HRSA programs assist providers with direct patient care responsibilities and public health and related health professionals who support the population’s health and well-being.
3. Build Healthy Communities and Improve Health Equity
HRSA focuses efforts on increasing access to health care and improving health outcomes for vulnerable populations.
It includes integrating public health and primary care services, leveraging advisory councils to better understand community requirements, using evidence-based decision-making to address health disparities, and promoting illness prevention and healthy behaviors.
4. Strengthen the Management and Operations of the HRSA Program
HRSA is committed to high standards and ensures transparency and accountability of the resources. To achieve operational efficiency and effectiveness, HRSA makes use of collaborative and innovative approaches.
HRSA Organization Structure
HRSA’s grant program management is organized through the following offices and bureaus:
- Bureau of Health Workforce
- Healthcare Systems Bureau
- Bureau of Primary Health Care
- HIV / AIDS Bureau
- Federal Office of Rural Health Policy
- Maternal and Child Health Bureau
HRSA – Definitions & Explanations
Before learning about the HRSA grants process, let’s have a look at an important definition.
Only those applications are considered that are received on or before the deadline listed in the application guidance. Applications must be sent to specified addresses.
The citation of the law authorizing the different grant programs is provided immediately after the title of the programs.
The CFDA (Catalog of Domestic Federal Assistance) is a Government-wide compendium of Federal programs, services, and activities that assist. The programs listed here are given a CFDA Number.
A financial assistance (grant) mechanism is used when the funding agency anticipates substantial Federal programmatic involvement with the beneficiary during the project’s administration. The nature of that involvement is always specified in the application guidance materials or the offering.
All applicants must have a DUNS (Dun and Bradstreet) number to apply for a Federal Government grant. The DUNS number is a 9-digit unique identification number that distinguishes business entities. A DUNS number is easy to obtain, and there is no charge.
To get a DUNS number, go to the Dun and Bradstreet website (https://www.dnb.com/duns/get-a-duns.html) or call 1-866-705-5711.
The status that an entity must have must be considered for a grant, as specified by authorizing legislation and program regulations.
Eligible entities are typically public and non-profit private organizations and institutions, including State / local governments and their agencies, faith-based and community-based organizations, tribal organizations, or federally-recognized Indian tribes and occasional individuals.
Profit organizations are specifically eligible for medical grants under financial assistance programs when authorized by legislation.
Estimated Amount of Competition
The listed funding level is an estimate and is subject to the availability of funds, Congressional action, and changing program priorities.
Funding Priorities of HRSA
Funding priorities, preferences, and special considerations may come from regulations, legislation, or HRSA program leadership decisions.
Funding preferences are objective factors that would be used to put a grant application in front of others without preference for a list of applicants recommended by a funding review committee.
Some programs prefer organizations that have specific capabilities or have established relationships with care organizations.
Funding priorities affect a grant application to receive a fixed amount of additional rating points, which may affect applicants’ orders on a funding list.
Other factors considered when making funding decisions are special considerations that are not revised criteria, preferences, or priorities, e.g., ensuring a fair geographical distribution of grant recipients or meeting urban and rural contribution requirements.
Letter of Intent
For the application review process, many HRSA programs request a letter of intent from the applicant before the application deadline.
Letters of intent are not binding or mandatory. Details of where to send letters can be found in the guidance materials in the application kit.
Matching Requirements of HRSA
Many HRSA programs require the grant receiver to provide an appropriate amount or contribute to a project’s costs under the program’s licensing statute or program regulations.
The requirements and the percentage of the cost-sharing are specified in the application materials and the program notice.
Program Announcement Code of HRSA
For each HRSA-funded program, the program announcement code is a unique identifier. Multi-character acronyms are enclosed in parentheses at the end of each program title and should be used to request the application materials from the HRSA Grants Application Center at [email protected].
Program Announcement Number of HRSA
The unique program announcement (HRSA) number is located at the beginning of each program ad in the HRSA Preview and Federal Register notices.
It includes the fiscal year and announcement serial number; for example, HRSA 06-001. This number will be used in conjunction with the program title and program notification code to order application materials.
It is the total time for which the support of a discretionary project has been approved programmatically.
The project period consists of a series of budget periods lasting one year. Once approved through the initial review, the continuation of each subsequent budget period is subject to the availability of funds, satisfactory performance, and program priorities.
Review Criteria for HRSA Programs
The review criteria for all HRSA programs involve the following:
Need: The degree to which the application describes the problem and the factors contributing to the problem.
Response: The extent to which the intended project meets the “Purpose” included in the program description. The clarity of the proposed aims and objectives and their relationship with the identified project. The degree to which the activities (scientific or otherwise) described in the question can address the problem and achieve the objectives of the project.
Evaluative Measures: The effectiveness of the proposed method to monitor and evaluate the results of the project. Evaluation measures must assess the extent of achieved program objectives and the extent to which these can be attributed.
Impact: The degree to which a society is affected by the provision of health services, the extent and effectiveness of plans for disseminating project results, and/or the sustainability of the program beyond federal funding.
Skills/Resources: The extent to which the project staff is qualified to implement and complete the project. The capabilities of the organization, the quality, and the availability of facilities and personnel to meet the requirements of the proposed project. Past performance is also considered for competing continuations.
Support Required: The reasonableness of the proposed budget about the objectives, the complexity of the activities, and the expected results.
Specific Program Criteria: Any additional specific program criteria are included in the program description and individual guidance material given with the application kit. The specific review criteria that are used to review and classify questions are also included in the individual guidance material.
Candidates should pay close attention to addressing these criteria, as they are the basis on which reviewers will judge their questions.
A contact person is listed for the specific program with an email address and telephone number.
Some programs may also include seminars and telephone conferences. If you have questions about individual programs or the availability of technical assistance, contact the person named.
The HRSA Grants Process
The division of grants policy works with program offices to create and publish Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs).
It coordinates with the division of grants management, division of financial integrity, and division of independent review and posts FOAs on Grants.gov.
The Lifecycle of Grant Application
The HRSA grant application process goes through the following cycle.
It does not matter if you aren’t registered! Allow plenty of time for registration.
1. Get a DUNS Number (on the same day) https://www.dnb.com/duns-number/
2. Register with the Central Contractor Registry (CCR) (2-3 days)
3. Register with Grants.gov (on the same day) www.grants.gov
Find Opportunities and Download Application Package
Find Opportunities at www.grants.gov or https://www.hrsa.gov/. You need to download FOA and Package. The funding Opportunity Announcement explains all the details regarding the available funding and application information. It covers the information applicants need to apply for funding.
Navigating an FOA
There are various sections in FOA. You need to carefully go through all of them.
1. Funding Opportunity Description
2. Award Information
3. Eligibility Information
4. Application and Submission Information
5. Application Review Information
6. Award Administration Information
7. Agency Contacts
8. Other Information (like website links and contact information)
Once you have gone through all the details and have completed the eligibility requirements, fill in all the details.
1. Save the completed application
2. Click on “Check for Errors.”
3. Click on “Save and Submit.”
4. Enter your Username and Password
Get ready for the follow-up! Get a confirmation email with a tracking number. You will get a Grants.gov email with verified successful submission or rejection due to errors.
The successfully submitted application will go to the Division of Independent Review (DIR) and be reviewed by a review panel.
Key Things to Remember – HRSA Grant Application
Your application might get rejected. So, be cautious while applying for grants. Make sure you take care of the following points.
- Incorrect DUNS and registration are the top two reasons applications are rejected. Therefore, check them carefully!
- Allow enough time!
- Stay alert about closing dates. Deadlines are real!
- Update registration often!
- Avoid special characters in filenames.
- Limit file size/name characters
- Register and submit early
- Be proactive and track your application (GRANTXXXXXXX)
HRSA Competitive Application Objective Review Process
Division of Independent Review (DIR) ensures a fair, ethical, and objective review of each application.
How are HRSA Grant Applications Reviewed?
An outside expert reviews grant applications.
- Each HRSA application must be reviewed by 3 reviewers
- Each HRSA application is reviewed according to criteria outlined in the Program Guidance
Application Review Process
The reviewers and chairperson are assigned the following responsibilities:
- Reviewers read and get thoroughly familiar with program guidance and assigned applications
- Generate preliminary statements of strengths and weaknesses for each selected application
- Each reviewer independently reviews, evaluates and preliminarily scores each application based on the Review Criteria
- The chairperson then facilitates the review panel meeting, where budget discussions and other specifics are focused
- Certify review results
Applications will go on to the Division of Grants Management (DGMO) for further review and award.
How to Manage HRSA Grants?
You need to manage the day-to-day operations of your award-supported activities, project performance, and the payment of award funds. You have to:
- Read thoroughly and follow the terms and conditions set out in your Award Notice (NOA)
- Comply with federal Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations, policies, and award procedures
- Register your business in the Payment Management System (PMS)
- Complete routine draws of funds correlating to award payments
- Present reports of quarterly payment
- Submit performance and financial reports on time to the Electronic Handbooks (EHBs) on time
HRSA grants play a valuable role in protecting all Americans’ health, allowing them to enjoy longer and healthier lives.
Grants provide essential human services, enhance lives, and reduce illness and disability. The funds have also led to breakthroughs and new treatments, building the research foundation that drives discovery.
The grant application and awards process is not a hard process. All it requires is effort & attention to detail. Remember, the HRSA staff is always available for general technical assistance. Apply today!