H. Application Selection Methodology:VA will review and score all initial grant applications in response to this Notice according to the following steps and criteria:
(a) Initial grant scoring: Applications will be scored using the following selection criteria:
(1) VA will award up to 40 points (10 points per question) based on the program’s plan for successful implementation, as demonstrated by the following:
(i) Program scope is defined, and applicant has specifically
indicated the mode(s) or method(s) of transportation services to be provided by the applicant or identified subrecipient.
(ii) Program budget is defined, and applicant has indicated that grant funds will be sufficient to completely implement the program.
(iii) Program staffing plan is defined, and applicant has indicated that there will be adequate staffing for delivery of transportation services according to program scope.
(iv) Program timeframe for implementation is defined, and applicant has indicated that the delivery of transportation services will be timely.
(2) VA will award up to 30 points (15 points per question) based on the program’s evaluation plan, as demonstrated by the following:
(i) Measurable goals for determining the success of delivery of transportation services.
(ii) Ongoing assessment of the measurable goals for determining the success of delivery of transportation services, with a means of adjusting the program if required.
(3) VA will award up to 20 points (10 points per question) based on the applicant’s community relationships in the areas to be serviced, as demonstrated by the following:
(i) Applicant has existing relationships with state or local agencies or private entities, or will develop such relationships, and has shown these relationships will enhance the program’s effectiveness.
(ii) Applicant has established past working relationships with state or local agencies or private entities which have provided services similar to those offered by the program.
(4) VA will award up to 10 points (5 points per question) based on the innovative aspects of the program, as demonstrated by the following:
(i) How program will identify and serve veterans who otherwise would be unable to obtain care.
(ii) How program will utilize or integrate existing public resources (VA, state, or other).
(b) Initial grant selection:VA will use the following process to award initial grants:
(1) VA will rank those applicants who receive at least the minimum amount of total points (70 points) and points per category set forth in this notice. The applicants will be ranked in order from highest to lowest scores.
(2) VA will use the grantee’s ranking as the basis for selection for funding. VA will fund the highest ranked grantees for which funding is available.
(c) Renewal grant scoring: Renewal applications will be scored using the following selection criteria: NOTE:Renewal grants may only be funded starting in fiscal year 2015; the following criteria are provided merely as advance notice for the benefit of applicants who may receive an initial grant in fiscal year 2014 that they would like to renew in fiscal year 2015.
(1) VA will award up to 55 points based on the success of the grantee’s program, as demonstrated by the following:
(i) Application shows that the grantee or identified subrecipient provided transportation services, which allowed participants to be provided medical care timely and as scheduled.
(ii) Application shows that participants were satisfied with the transportation services provided by the grantee or identified subrecipient based on the satisfaction survey.
(2) VA will award up to 35 points (17.5 points per question) based on the cost effectiveness of the program, as demonstrated by the following:
(i) The grantee or identified subrecipient administered the program on budget.
(ii) Grant funds were utilized in a sensible manner, as interpreted by information provided by the grantee to VA as required under § 17.725(a)(1) through (a)(7).
(3) VA will award up to 15 points (7.5 points per question) based on the extent to which the program complied with:
(i) The grant agreement.
(ii) Applicable laws and regulations.
(d) Renewal Grant Selection:VA will use the following process to award renewal grants:
(1) VA will rank those applications that receive at least the minimum amount of total points (75 points) and points per category set forth in this Notice. The applications will be ranked in order from highest to lowest scores.
(2) VA will use the applications’ ranking as the basis for awarding grants. VA will award grants for the highest ranked applications for which funding is available.
I. Application Requirements: Additional grant application requirements are specified in the application package. Submission of an incorrect or incomplete application package will result in the application being rejected during threshold review. The application package contains all required forms and certifications. Selections will be made based on criteria described in the Final Rule published in the () on April 2, 2013, which is codified in 38 CFR 17.700 through 17.730. Applicants will be notified of any additional information needed to confirm or clarify information provided in the application and the deadline by which to submit such information.
J. Grant Agreements: Grant agreements must be executed prior to VA obligating grant funds according to the following steps and criteria.
(a) General. After a grantee is awarded a grant in accordance with 38 CFR 17.705(b) or 17.705(d), VA will draft a grant agreement to be executed by VA and the grantee. Upon execution of the grant agreement, VA will obligate the approved amount. The grant agreement will provide that:
(1) The grantee must operate the program in accordance with the provisions of this section and the grant application.
(2) If a grantee’s application identified a subrecipient, such subrecipient must operate the program in accordance with the provisions of 38 CFR 17.715 and the grant application.
(3) If a grantee’s application identified funds that will be used to procure or operate vehicles to directly provide transportation services, the following requirements must be met:
(i) Title to the vehicles must vest solely in the grantee or identified subrecipient, or with leased vehicles in an identified lender.
(ii) The grantee or identified subrecipient must, at a minimum, provide motor vehicle liability insurance for the vehicles to the same extent they would insure vehicles procured with their own funds.
(iii) All vehicle operators must be licensed in a U.S. State or Territory to operate such vehicles.
(iv) Vehicles must be safe and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
(v) Vehicles must be operated in accordance with applicable Department of Transportation regulations concerning transit requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
K. Payments under the grant: Grantees will receive payments electronically through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Payment Management System.
L. Grantee Reporting Requirements:VA places great emphasis on the responsibility and accountability of grantees. As described in § 17.725 of the Final Rule and 38 CFR 17.725, VA has procedures in place to monitor services provided to veterans through required reporting from grantees as follows.
(a) Program efficacy. All grantees who receive either an initial or renewal grant must submit to VA quarterly and annual reports which indicate the following information:
(1) Record of time expended assisting with the provision of transportation services.
(2) Record of grant funds expended assisting with the provision of transportation services.
(3) Trips completed.
(4) Total distance covered.
(5) Veterans served.
(6) Locations which received transportation services.
(7) Results of veteran satisfaction survey.
(b) Quarterly fiscal report. All grantees who receive either an initial grant must submit to VA a quarterly report which identifies the expenditures of the funds which VA authorized and obligated.
(c) Program variations. Any changes in a grantee’s program activities which result in deviations from the grant agreement must be reported to VA.
(d) Additional reporting. Additional reporting requirements may be requested by VA to allow VA to fully assess program effectiveness.
M. Recovery of Funds by VA:VA may recover from the grantee any funds that are not used in accordance with a grant agreement. If VA decides to recover funds, VA will issue to the grantee a notice of intent to recover grant funds, and grantee will then have 30 days to submit documentation demonstrating why the grant funds should not be recovered. After review of all submitted documentation, VA will determine whether action will be taken to recover the grant funds. When VA determines action will be taken to recover grant funds from the grantee, the grantee is then prohibited from receipt of any further grant funds.