The FAQ section of the THIS-WIC website will update periodically as new questions come in.
Phase II. Questions
RFP Overview Webinar Questions
Can states submit an individual proposal and a proposal as part of a multi-state consortium?
Are projects required to work with Telehealth Resource Centers, or could other consultants be utilized too?
If a consortium of states is applying, does the one million dollar limit still apply?
What is the proposed time period of the grant award (start and end date)?
Would a WIC designated breastfeeding expert (DBE) be considered a health professional?
Designing a Telehealth Solution Webinar Questions
Are the funds limited to allowable costs for WIC?
If we are working as a consortium that spans four Telehealth Resource Centers, should we pick one center to work with or should each state coordinate with their own center?
Would additional TRC technical assistance be an allowable cost for the grant?
HIPAA doesn't apply to WIC but WIC confidentiality is similar. Will USDA accept “HIPAA compliant” for solutions?
It sounds like the emphasis is on the development of the technology, versus being a study, is that correct? I understand there is an evaluation component?
WIC is HIPAA exempt because we don’t bill but confidentiality/privacy issues still apply and can vary based on County Health Department legal opinions as well. Business associate doesn't apply here. But that leaves a lot questions to be answered about telehealth within much less between State WIC programs?
If the 3rd party vendors doesn’t have a Business Associate Agreement (BAA), how do we ensure WIC privacy?
So the solution can be used by paraprofessionals and not just RDs and IBCLCs?
With certifications, what is USDA FNS stance regarding the presence requirement if telehealth used for certs?
If we apply as a consortium do all the states need to be trying the same approach, vs. different states trying different solutions?
Will funds be provided to only one state if applying as a consortium or can they be divided among states?
Will grantees be required to ensure telehealth services are limited to WIC participants and not available to non-WIC participants?
How will you handle different indirect cost rates for a consortium?
Will we need to enlist local universities to help with the evaluation?
Do you provide a list of platforms/vendors for grantees to review?
Connectivity is a big issue in some areas, can these funds be used to help with that?
For the brief proposal, many of the details such as platform vendor, exact staffing will not be available. To what level of detail are you requiring for the brief proposal?
Would two-way texting for appointment reminders be ok?
Unpacking the Evaluation Webinar Questions
Would your Institutional Review Board (IRB) cede authority to our IRB? Does Tufts participate in SMART IRB?
How will the publication process work?
If the state were to choose a random site-selection assignment, can sites opt-out? How would you account for the critical difference between sites or individuals who opt-in vs opt-out?
Are non-RCTs really an accepted method for these grants?
Will you also control for confounding variables for impact outcomes? I would think it’d be hard to attribute an outcome like breastfeeding rates to this intervention?
I assume you’ll need Personal Identifier Information from the administration data to link to the survey data? WIC ID is considered an identifier by our IRB.
What cost data will be collected?
Will you be providing a budget template for all costs you are asking for during proposal implementation?
In reviewing the RFP, I did not see any discussion of indirect costs, and the limitations of the indirect cost estimates.
If we go through our IRB, what do we list you as? Co-PI’s? Are you thinking you’ll put this in on your end as “exempt” in that you’ll receive data that is already existing and deidentified by us? Also, anticipating that it may be a problem to release contact information from our participants to you for you to do surveys or interviews.
What evidence is there in the existing literature that there would be significant differences in an outcome such as fruit and vegetable intake from telehealth vs. usual care?
Are you looking for, or expecting, a certain size of participants—the “n”? There are small and large interventions we can devise, but sometimes smaller is better (a pilot) to start, but we don’t want to reduce our chances of funding if our sample isn’t large enough.
If the clinic is the unit of randomization, that will be a cluster RCT, with a complex sample size calculation, analyses, etc. Is this the design you’re hoping for and what realities of most State Agencies to pull that off?
What are you anticipating for loss to follow up? Build-in 50%?
What is the total dollar amount available? How many grants will be funded?
What if I don’t make it past the brief proposal phase of the process? Who can help my state agency look further into implementing telehealth solutions?
Can budget be used for incentives to encourage participants to agree to the study?
Can you explain what you’re looking for in the brief proposal for the following question: Explain the complex problems among WIC participants that limit their access or use of WIC services and/or require qualified professionals at the SA level?
What can I use the funding for?
For Prioririty Area 1, can multiple solutions be implemented, such as both video conferencing and two-way text messaging? Or even three solutions, video conferencing, a lactation mobile app, and two-way text messaging?
Our proposal includes implementation of telehealth Interventions (utilizing Priority 1) that will consist of an intervention (treatment) and a control group. Is there an “acceptable” number to consider for each group as part of our pilot that is considered “manageable” ?
Who determines the telehealth platform to be utilized during the pilot? Do we determine the platform in collaboration with the THIS-WIC team or should we initially have an idea of the platform which may best meet our needs at the current time? We are asking for the purpose of budgeting and sustainably?
At our State Agency, staff are often cost allocated among various grants and/or programs that they are working on. Is it allowable for an existing FT WIC staff to be detailed to work on the grant and cost allocate their time split between two funding sources? For example an existing nutrition educator would be cost allocated to work on the grant 50% of time and the regular WIC program duties 50% of time. WIC regulations allow this and the State Agency documentation policy and timekeeping infrastructure support this.
Does the fact that we are currently receiving other grant funds conflict with this opportunity?
Could a degreed nutritionist, RN, LPN or appropriately trained paraprofessional meet the criteria of qualified professional as long as they stayed within their scope of practice according to our WIC policies?
Does this opportunity require a match or cost-share?
Since we are a federally recognized tribe, do you require a tribal resolution?
What is the CFDA number for the opportunity?
Can we upload additional documents with our brief proposal submission?
What is the timeline of the grant?
What if I can’t attend the webinars?
Is there a preference for a specific target population? Urban, rural, or suburban?
What is the difference between Priority Area 1 and Priority Area 2?
Can State Agencies submit an application for each priority area?
What is the State Agency’s (SA) responsibility for the procurement of services?
How many awards will be provided overall?
How many Local WIC agencies (LWAs) are required to participate?
Do State Agencies need to have EBT cards implemented to be eligible to participate?
I’m a LWA WIC Director, can I apply?
Would it be possible to include more than one Indian Tribal Organization in an application? Is a Consortium approach allowed?
Staff capacity has been an issue in the past for implementing new projects, how can THIS-WIC help address this?
What kind of partner organizations are allowed to support the SA’s projects? We have collaborated with a university on previous projects; could we partner with a university for this proposal?
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth requires technical knowledge, who can help support me?
I have an existing telehealth platform I already use and would like to develop a new feature to it. What priority area would our proposal be?
What are some examples of existing videoconferencing telehealth services?
Our SA has used telehealth in the past, are we still eligible?
What do you mean by robust evidence-base?
Is there a required number of participants for the evaluation?
Our agency has never conducted an evaluation before and we do not have any dedicated evaluation staff. Can we still apply?