News that a new proposed rule on Navigators is under review at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) hopefully means it won’t be long before we see model navigator training, conflict of interest and privacy standards. With any luck, release of the proposed standards should pave the way for the federal navigator grant solicitation.
The navigator funding opportunity announcement (FOA) will seek proposals from qualified organizations in the 33 states
where the federal government will operate the exchange, including
states that have opted for State Partnership Exchanges. Navigator grants
in the 17 states (and D.C.) that are building their own state-based
exchanges will not be included in this solicitation. The level of
funding has not been disclosed but CMS officials have said the total
amount will be allocated to states based on a formula that establishes a
state minimum and factors in the number of uninsured people in the
state. So there will be a larger pot of money for navigator grants in
states with higher uninsured rates.
Any organization considering applying for a navigator grant should complete the registration process as soon as possible. Given
the dwindling timeline, it’s not clear how long applicants will have to
prepare their proposals but potential applicants – particularly those
who have never applied for a federal grant – can register now. This
doesn’t obligate you to apply but it gets the basics out of the way so
you can concentrate on the substance of your response to the grant
solicitation once it is announced. While applying for a federal grant
might seem as daunting as finding a four-leaf clover, www.grants.gov provides step-by-step registration instructions in this checklist.
There are five steps for registration and while most of the steps can
be completed online the same day, Step 2 – registering with the System
for Award Management (SAM) – can take up to two weeks.
A word of encouragement to small community-based organizations. Keep
in mind that federal regulations require there to be at least two types
of entities selected as navigators in any given state and one of those
types must be a community or consumer-focused nonprofit organization.
Capitalizing on the experience and passion in organizations that assist
people with Medicaid and CHIP coverage is the best way to build a
network of navigators to reach key populations of vulnerable and
uninsured people and connect them to coverage. CMS officials have
emphasized that all proposals – small and large – will be considered, so
securing a grant could be a lot easier than catching a leprechaun!
If you want to learn more about navigators check out these two briefs:
“Countdown to 2014: Designing Navigator Programs to Meet the Needs of Consumers”
“Designing Navigator Programs to Meet the Needs of Consumers: Duties and Competencies”
For those of you who decide to apply for navigator funding, may the
luck of the Irish be with you! Remember, registering now will put you
five steps closer to the end of the rainbow.
Georgetown University Health Policy Institute, Center for Children & Families
This blog was originally posted on Say Ahhh! a health care policy blog