Health Systems Implementation Initiative

FAQs on the HSII Master Funding Agreement

What are the terms and conditions in the HSII Master Funding Agreement?

The HSII Master Funding Agreement template is now available on the PCORI Contracts & Compliance webpage. Please note that all selected HSII Participants will be subject to the same terms and conditions. PCORI does not accept revisions to standard contract terms and conditions unless a provision (1) is not permissible under state law and does not already have the qualifier "to the extent permitted" under state law, or (2) has a material adverse impact on the awardee’s ability to contract with PCORI.

FAQs on the HSII Learning Network

When will the first HSII Learning Network meeting occur?

The first HSII Learning Network meeting will occur on Wednesday, March 15, 2023, 2–3:30 pm (ET).

Who should attend HSII Learning Network meetings?

The HSII Project Lead should attend HSII Learning Network meetings. In the case of Dual Project Leads, at least one Project Lead should attend. Project Leads may invite a member of their organization to attend one or more meetings of the Learning Network in addition to themselves, as relevant to their activities.

Can an HSII Project Lead appoint someone to attend HSII Learning Network meetings in their place?

The HSII Project Lead may request to designate a representative (designee) to attend HSII Learning Network meetings on their behalf. The representative should be a leader at the HSII Participant organization who is closely tied to healthcare operations and authorized to speak on behalf of the HSII Project Lead and the HSII Participant. Requests to appoint a designee may be submitted to PCORI at [email protected].

FAQs on HSII Capacity Building Projects

What is the Call for Proposals for Capacity Building Projects to Support Participation in HSII?

This Call for Proposals is the first funding opportunity available to health systems that have been accepted as participants in the Health Systems Implementation Initiative, or HSII. The goal of this funding opportunity is to support HSII Participants in strengthening their ability to undertake successful implementation efforts under HSII and to conduct program evaluation of these efforts.

Who is eligible to submit HSII Capacity Building Proposals?

Only organizations that PCORI has selected as HSII Participants will be eligible to apply for funding to undertake Capacity Building Projects under HSII. Specifically, these are organizations that have been approved to enter into Master Funding Agreements (MFAs) with PCORI. Organizations that have not been selected as HSII Participants are not eligible to apply for funding under this Call for Proposals.

When will the full Call for Proposals and applicant materials for Capacity Building Project proposals be available and how can materials be accessed?

All materials will be released when HSII Participants are announced in February 2023. PCORI will send instructions for accessing all materials related to applying for Capacity Building Projects, as well as specific instructions for submitting Capacity Building Project proposals, directly to organizations selected as HSII Participants.

How long will applicant organizations have to prepare Capacity Building Project proposals?

Organizations that are selected as HSII Participants will have approximately six weeks to prepare Capacity Building Project proposals after they are notified of their HSII participation.

Can you provide more information about the timing of the Master Funding Agreement contract and submission of the Capacity Building Project proposal?

An organization becomes eligible to submit a Capacity Building Project proposal once they have received their invitation from PCORI to enter into an MFA to become HSII Participants. The MFA need not be fully executed for organizations to submit proposals for Capacity Building Projects. However, the MFA must be fully executed for organizations to receive Capacity Building Projects funds.

Who at the applicant organization is eligible to lead Capacity Building Projects?

Capacity Building Projects can be led by a single principal investigator (PI) or by co-PIs – no more than two individuals. For projects with co-PIs, at least one PI must be an approved HSII Project Lead. The other PI can either be another approved HSII Project Lead or another leader within the organization. Please refer to the upcoming Call for Proposals for Capacity Building Projects to Support Participation in HSII for more details.

What should Capacity Building Projects focus on?

Proposed capacity building activities should have the primary goal of serving upcoming Implementation Projects funded under HSII. Applicants must clearly outline how proposed capacity building activities prepare the health system for future HSII Implementation Projects. (Preparing for future Implementation Projects includes preparing for program evaluation that will accompany implementation efforts under HSII.) Note that since the specific topics for the upcoming calls for Implementation Projects have not yet been released, it will be important for applicants to propose capacity building activities that will prepare them to conduct Implementation Projects and program evaluation for a wide range of potential topics.

Does PCORI have suggestions for preparing for the evaluation of Implementation Projects that HSII Participants might consider when preparing Capacity Building proposals?

Additional PCORI suggestions related to evaluation capacity can be found in the PCORI HSII Evaluation Capacity Considerations resource document.

If our organization is selected to be an HSII Participant, can we change the Capacity Building Project that we proposed at the time of our HSII Participation proposal submission?

Yes, you may propose revised or new capacity building activities.

What are some proposed capacity building activities that would be considered out of scope?

Below are some examples of activities that would be considered out of scope:

  • Conducting research or enhancing an organization’s research capabilities.
  • Developing or testing new care delivery tools or technology, healthcare interventions, or care delivery approaches, such as requesting PCORI funds to expand general telehealth services across the health system.
    • Note: Development or improvement of new technology or approaches may be necessary for the success of future implementation projects – and HSII Participants will be able to support this work with funding for future Implementation Projects. However, these activities are not in scope under the Capacity Building opportunity.
  • Expanding existing health system programs that focus on specific health conditions or populations (e.g., cardiovascular centers, neurology care, tele-nephrology programs, diabetes management programs).
  • Enhancing general patient engagement, such as establishing, enhancing, or convening Patient Family Advisory Councils.
    • Note: Patient and stakeholder engagement may be essential for the success of future Implementation Projects – and HSII Participants will be able to support the convening of such groups with funding for future Implementation Projects. However, Capacity Building Project funding may not have a primary focus on stakeholder engagement, as this funding is intended to promote preparedness within health system operations and enhance evaluation capabilities.
  • Using PCORI funds to pay for the cost of healthcare interventions, which includes, but is not limited to, salary or other compensation for health system personnel providing direct patient care.

Note: Applicants may request a phone call with PCORI to address additional questions about allowable and out-of-scope capacity building activities after receiving notification of their selection as an HSII Participant. Prior to scheduling a call, please be sure to review the full Call for Proposals for Capacity Building Projects to Support Participation in HSII, as well as the Capacity Building Project applicant materials.

FAQs on HSII Implementation Projects

Can PCORI share a list of likely HSII Implementation Project topics drawing from PCORI-funded research studies?

PCORI has not yet identified the specific topics for HSII Implementation Projects. PCORI will seek input from HSII Participants to inform topic selection beginning in Summer 2023.

To see examples of the types of implementation projects PCORI has funded through the Dissemination & Implementation program, please visit this web page.

After HSII Participants are selected, can the HSII Project Lead propose Capacity Building and Implementation Projects that include a Dual Project Lead?

Yes. In response to future Calls for Proposals for HSII Capacity Building or Implementation Projects—after HSII Participants are selected—the HSII Project Lead may include a Dual Lead for specific projects being proposed in response to these calls. This Dual Lead arrangement may be advantageous for projects that take place within specific departments and/or clinical care settings.

FAQs for the Call for Proposals to Participate in HSII (Submissions Now Closed)

I am not sure if my organization is eligible to apply to participate in HSII. What should I do?

Full eligibility details are in the Call for Proposals to Participate in HSII. The two main types of eligible organizations—healthcare delivery systems and provider-affiliated health plans—are defined on pages 10 and 11. Other eligibility details are on pages 11 to 13. Further information on eligibility can also be found below in other FAQs.

Here are abbreviated details on the two main types of eligible organizations:

  • A healthcare delivery system is defined as “two or more healthcare entities that together provide comprehensive care (including primary and specialty care) and that are connected with each other through common ownership or joint management.” A healthcare delivery system must include at least one hospital and one physician group practice.
  • A provider-affiliated health plan is a “health plan that is connected (e.g., by partnership, affiliation, or formal arrangement) to a healthcare provider entity.” Health plan applicants must identify and describe the healthcare delivery system with which they are affiliated.

If you have specific questions, please email [email protected]. Please note that final determinations on eligibility were made by PCORI staff during the review of all submitted Notices of Intent.

Can multiple health systems apply together as a network to participate in HSII?

No. Healthcare delivery system applicants to HSII should be single health systems. To note, after health systems are selected as HSII Participants, they will have opportunities to work closely together as part of the HSII Learning Network. Additionally, PCORI anticipates that HSII Participants may collaborate on implementation projects.

Do you have to be a current or past PCORI funding recipient to be eligible to apply to HSII?

No, current or past PCORI funding is not an eligibility requirement.

Can health systems that participate in a PCORnet® network apply to participate in HSII?

Yes. Any health system that participates in PCORnet®, the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network, is eligible to apply to participate in HSII as long as the health system meets the eligibility criteria described in the Call for Proposals to Participate in HSII.

Will PCORI consider proposals from regional health systems or provider-affiliated health plans that are part of a large, national organization? Or is the national parent organization required to be the applicant?

PCORI will consider proposals from regional health systems and provider-affiliated health plans. The Call for Proposals to Participate in HSII notes that PCORI is seeking to engage with the entity that has ultimate control over the healthcare delivery system. When the leaders of a regional system or health plan are well-positioned to directly influence and support practice change efforts across their organization, and if the regional system or health plan serves a substantial number of patients (and meets other characteristics outlined in the Call for Proposals), then that system has the characteristics that align with PCORI’s objectives under HSII. Therefore, PCORI will consider proposals from regional health systems or health plans.

Are organizations such as research networks, professional associations, trade organizations, or other organizations representing the hospital and health system community eligible to apply to become HSII Participants?

Healthcare delivery systems and provider-affiliated health plans that have significant involvement in healthcare delivery are the two main types of eligible organizations. PCORI may consider rare exceptions.

Should multiple individuals from our organization prepare a proposal to participate in HSII?

No. PCORI will only consider one proposal per applying organization.

Is PCORI looking for HSII Project Leads that are health system leaders? Academic researchers? Either?

It will be important for the proposed HSII Project Lead to demonstrate in the Notice of Intent and proposal that they carry the authority, internal influence, and previous experience to direct practice change initiatives across the health system. For this reason, PCORI anticipates that HSII Project Leads will be situated in operational leadership roles or be able to demonstrate equivalent authority based on a track record of close involvement with operations within the health system.

Who submits the proposal in the PCORI Online system?

The proposal should be submitted by the HSII Project Lead. As needed, Project Leads may list designees in PCORI Online as authorized users to access and contribute to the proposal. Please refer to the PCORI Online: Pre-Award User Guide for HSII for more information.

In a full proposal, can invited applicants make any changes to what was proposed in the Notice of Intent?

Applicants were invited on the basis of the organization(s) and Project Lead identified and described in the Notice of Intent. Any changes to the organization (e.g., the applicant organization) and/or Project Lead must be approved by PCORI. To note, applicants should contact PCORI for approval at [email protected] regarding any important, substantive changes from what was described in the Notice of Intent, to avoid the risk of a proposal being disqualified.

We were invited to submit a full proposal with dual leadership. Are there specific proposal requirements?

Organizations may propose Dual Project Leads in cases where this structure will be advantageous to leverage influence and authority across the entire health system and strengthen the organization’s overall ability to successfully participate in HSII. Both the Project Lead and Dual Project Lead must be named in the proposal, along with a description of their envisioned role in leading HSII activities, qualifications, and experience. Proposals with a Dual Project Lead are also required to include a Leadership Plan as the last section of the Project Lead template (see the Submission Checklist for further details).

What materials should applicants include in the proposal’s Appendix?

PCORI does not have any specific material requirements for the Appendix. Applicants may use the Appendix to provide any further details as needed.

How many HSII Participants will PCORI select?

At this time, PCORI does not have an estimate for the number of selected HSII Participants.

Will PCORI open more opportunities to join HSII? If so, when will future opportunities be available?

PCORI may open future opportunities to join HSII. No decisions have been made at this point regarding the timing of any future opportunities.

Posted: January 20, 2022; Updated: January 26, 2023

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