Thursday, February 20, 2020
News on Pathogens and Preparedness

CDC Expedites Request Process Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) Cooperative Agreement Funds during COVID-19 Response

CDC has reduced the normal 30-day request process to one to three business days for urgent requests.

The Division of State and Local Readiness (DSLR) has partnered with CDC’s Office of Grants Services (OGS) to develop a fast-track approval method that enables jurisdictions to request the use of Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) cooperative agreement funds for the rapid procurement of services, supplies, and equipment needed during the emerging coronavirus COVID-19 emergency response.

As outlined in the 2019-2024 PHEP notice of funding opportunity (NOFO), PHEP cooperative agreement funding is intended primarily to support preparedness activities that help ensure state and local public health departments are prepared to prevent, detect, respond to, mitigate, and recover from a variety of public health threats. However, upon written request by a recipient, PHEP funds may, on a limited, case-by-case basis, be used to support response efforts if the activities fall within those authorized by the PHEP’s statutory authority, Section 319C-1 of the Public Health Service Act, the PHEP NOFO, and the terms and conditions of the PHEP notice of award. The activities also must support progress toward achieving CDC’s 15 public health preparedness and response capabilities and demonstrating related operational readiness.

Use of PHEP funds during an emergency response must be for activities within the approved scope of work in the PHEP recipient’s work plans for the current budget period. However, it is not uncommon that emergency response activities may constitute a change in scope, as they are not part of previously approved recipient work plans or subsequent budget redirections.

If recipients propose to use PHEP funds for response activities that are outside the approved scope of work, then recipients must identify this change in their request so that they can obtain specific prior approval from CDC to undertake these change-in-scope activities. Based on the request, the approval process may include both a budget redirection and a change in the scope of activities.

Prior approval by the CDC grants management officer (GMO) is required for a change in scope under any award, regardless of whether there is an associated budget revision.

Expedited Process to Request Use of PHEP Funds for Response

Recipients must send an e-mail to both the CDC OGS grants management officer (GMO) and the assigned PHEP specialist with the following required information:

  • Justification for use of funds and how the recipient plans to conduct various tasks as part of a comprehensive work plan activity.
  • If a change in scope is known or anticipated, a justification for the change in scope of the work plan.
  • Estimated amount of funds to be redirected, if any.
  • Which PHEP award the action is associated with (TP17-1701 No-cost Extension or TP19-1901).
  • Budget category. If redirection is necessary, requests should indicate from which budget category funds will be redirected and to which category they will be redirected.
  • Description of the activities, such as the exercise goals and objectives, identified capabilities to be tested, or inclusion of at-risk individuals. For example:
  • A statement on how the use of PHEP funds in this event will enable the testing of emergency plans and protocols.
  • A description of how activities to be performed will be consistent with CDC guidance for mitigating risk to at-risk individuals.
  • Statement confirming that results of the exercise or incident will be documented in a formal after-action report (AAR) and improvement plan (IP) and submitted to CDC.
  • Statement demonstrating how a delay in approval or disapproval of the request would result in serious injury to citizens or financial or other adverse public impact.

Following the PHEP specialist’s review of the request, OGS will issue its final determination within one to three business days and email the recipient to let the jurisdiction know whether CDC has approved the request to use PHEP funds for emergency response activities. If the request is approved, the email will serve as the recipient’s authorization to use funds.

OGS will upload the authorizing email into GrantSolutions. The recipient must submit a revised budget and a revised work plan within 30 days from the date of the OGS email authorizing the use of PHEP funds for emergency response activities.

This article was updated on Feb 11 to reflect the naming of the virus from the provisional 2019-nCoV to SARS-CoV-2. The disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 is now called COVID-19.

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