Welcome to the State of California 

Request for Application (RFA) #11-10828 - Answers to RFA Questions

RFA Clarifications, Corrections, and Modifications

 

January 25, 2012

1. Q:  In Section 8 – Form Instructions, page 73, it states that costs must conform to OMB cost regulations. Will you please specify the specific regulations or rules?

Answer:  As stated in the RFA, CSRB follows the OMB guidelines.  The specific guidelines are in Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-87, Sections E and F.  This can be viewed at the following link:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars_a087_2004/#e

 

2. Q:  Does the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), or any of its supplements, apply to this RFA? Especially, does FAR Part 31 (cost accounting) govern the grant and grantee’s performance?

Answer: All terms and conditions governing the awarded Grants are outlined in the appropriate Sample Grant Agreement - Terms and Conditions Appendix of the RFA.

 

3. Q:  In Form 12A, the RFA asks for annual salary / hourly rate. Is it intended respondents include only salary expenses paid (including paid time off, etc…), or are commercial entities permitted to propose “bill rates” that it would suggest charging for these types of resources (which would include salary expenses)?

Answer: Annual salary rates are to include paid leave benefits such as sick leave, vacation, annual leave, holiday pay, etc.

 

4. Q:  To what extent is the agency able to negotiate the “Sample Grant Agreement”? Is there any flexibility with this requirement? (Certification Checklist – Form 2, page 81)

Answer: Agencies must be willing to comply with all proposed terms and conditions in the appropriate Appendix in order to be eligible to apply.

 Back to Top

5. Q:  Can you please direct us to the “current National Institutes of Health salary cap” that is referred to on page 70 (Form 9 – Personnel Plan)?

Answer: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/salcap_summary.htm

 

6. Q:  Are there any geographical limitations on the location of the data center that would house the Eureka system and/or any systems supporting the CCR grant?

Answer: The data and therefore data center must be located in California.  It is critical that the data center be located within 20 miles of the city limits of Sacramento.

 

7. Q:  Will ICD-10 coding and the 5010 data set require changes to the Eureka system and database (or associated systems and databases)? If so, are these changes included within this RFA’s SOW and are the costs associated with such a retrofit funded separately? Have the changes, if any, associated with IDC-10 and 5010 already been made and therefore nothing is needed in the future?

Answer: Potential IDC-10 coding and associated changes have not been programmed into Eureka.  Changes such as these are generally part of the annual data item changes driven by NAACCR, SEER, and NPCR.  Software engineering support of annual data item changes is part of the RFA’s SOW.

 

8. Q:  The CSRB provided its current performance levels in the RFA as well as what it considers its future performance objectives. Can the CSRB please share more information about the obstacles, issues, problems and challenges for each performance objective that it wants to improve (Section 2.C.1.0)?

Answer: The Scope of Work, Form 6Bs, outline the work activities in detail.  Applicants will need to determine how best to allocate resources, to best meet the RFA requirements.  Each Applicant has the opportunity to describe its respective approach to this issue. 

 

9. Q:  Is the work / effort associated with supporting the application for additional grants / funding (section 2.D.7.1 page 42) separately funded or is it counted within the $5.7 million per year?

Answer:  The anticipated available funding amount of approximately $5.7 million annually is expected to cover all performance objectives outlined in the Scope of Work.

 Back to Top

 

10. Q:  What are the causes of the nearly two-year reporting lag for cancer registry reports? Can you provide information which explains and documents the nearly two-year lag so we can best determine how to reengineer the process (section 2.D.1.1.2 page 38)?

Answer:  Generally, the majority of cancer reports for any given year are created by reporting facilities and sent to the cancer registry within six months of diagnosis.  The nearly two- year reporting lag is in finding and getting the last three percent of expected cancer reports for any given year.

 

11. Q:  Are significant software improvements (beyond normal and routine maintenance) to be funded separately above and beyond the $5.7 million annual budget and by separate application on an as needed basis?

Answer: The Scope of Work, Form 6Bs, outline the work activities in detail.  Applicants will need to determine how best to allocate resources, to best meet the RFA requirements.  There may or may not be opportunities within the five-year RFA period to seek additional funds for special projects.

 

12. Q:  What has been the CCR Central Repository funding for the past 5 years on a yearly basis since the RFA contains so many reduction and efficiency targets?

Answer: This is the first year that CCR Central and Regional functions have been procured separately, so historical CCR funding dedicated to only Central functions is not available. 

 

13. Q:  In order that CSRB may have enough time to gather and deliver the requested information, and that bidders may have enough time to incorporate the requested information fully into their applications, we respectfully request a minimum of a six week extension to the application due date.

Answer: CSRB is unable to extend the application due date at this time.

 Back to Top

 

January 13, 2012

1.  Q:  Does CDPH expect that applicants will graft the new Statewide Registry personnel and operations onto the existing CSRB management structure (like the current structure) or do you want applicants to submit an administratively separate structure? 

Answer:  CSRB positions/functions to be provided by CDPH that will work with Grantee on a day to day basis include:

  • CCR Director/State Project Officer
  • Data Production and Quality Control Manager
  • Eureka Data Management Information System Manager
  • Surveillance and Data Use Manager
  • Project Management Office
  • Student Interns
  • Applicants should submit a management structure that incorporates the above CDPH provided positions/functions.


    2.    P. 29, Section 2, Item C., 2nd full Paragraph and P. 72, Section 8, Form 10 3.

    In reference to an earlier question, question #8, and the provided list of current Hardware and Software.

    Q:  Should a non-incumbent applicant be selected, can it be assumed that all current Hardware and Software operated and maintained by the CSRB will be made available to the grantee?

    Answer:  If a non-incumbent applicant is awarded, a significant amount of the Hardware/Software currently operated and maintained by CSRB will be made available to the awarded Grantee for continued use.  Specific details for the hardware/software available will be provided to the winning Grantee after the Appeals date of March 9, 2012.

    3.    Under "Form 10", on page 71, it states, "Applicants must provide all facilities and resources in support of the SOW.  In addition, applicants must provide space in their facility to accommodate an additional 25 CSRB staff and provide facility resources "space, communications, networks, etc.) for the CSRB staff." 

    Q:  Are these 25 CSRB staff related to the SOW of the RFA?
    Answer:  17 staff are related to the SOW for this RFA. 

    Q:  Does CDPH/CSRB expect applicants to provide desktop computers, telephones, printers/faxes, office furniture, etc. for the 25 staff?
    Answers:  Desktop computers, telephones, printers/faxes for 17 of the CSRB staff dedicated to this SOW will be expected to be provided by the Grantee.  Grantee will need to provide communications, networks, IT desktop support, etc. for all 25 CSRB staff.  CSRB has modular and office furniture available for all Grantee and CSRB staff to be used in a Grantee facility, if needed.


    4.    Q:  Provided we are consistent and follow the RFA’s overall formatting rules, are there any unallowable resume formats for the appendix section?

    Answer:  There are no unallowable formats for resumes.

       Back to Top

    January 6, 2012

    1. Page 18 of the RFA states that anticipated available funding is "a blend of State and Federal CDC funds.

    Q: Does this mean that regional registries will not receive separate NPCR awards?

    Answer: Correct, Regional Registries will not receive separate NPCR awards.

     

    December 22, 2011

     1. P. 5-6 beginning at Section 1, Item B., Paragraph 1, last sentence describes the five institutions that manage regional registry operations.

    Q: How does this description align with or differ from the three CSRB approved SEER regions in California for purposes of a) implementing grantee activities and b) potential of including SEER funds as leverage?  For example, only three of the five institutions named are SEER contract holders. 

    Answer:  This information is only intended to provide historical perspective.  Allocation of regional registry funding and activities is addressed in the regional RFA.  CDPH does not require that the recipients of regional grants must be aligned with the geographic boundaries of the current SEER regions.  Applicants with SEER funding may include those funds as leverage on the central registry application if they are not also being used for a regional application.

    2. P. 7, Current Operations, and Section f. on p. 67.

    Q:  As stated on this and several other pages, the CCR Data is collected from reporting entities by a regional registry system to be funded under a separate RFA.  The decades of knowledge, experience, and expertise that resides in the key leadership of these regional registries is a premier asset in California, and it is surprising to see an RFA as substantial as this implemented with no collaborative and strategic input from this knowledge pool at the design phase.  Without their input in the design phase, imperatives seem to be driven by non-cancer registry experts. This will not likely result in better data at a lower cost.  If an applicant adds SOW items and approaches to each area (DPQC, Eureka, and Surveillance) that addresses this deficiency, will the application be considered responsive?

    Answer:  Per the RFA, Section 8, Forms Instructions, directions for Forms 6B-1, 2, 3, and 4 – Scope of Work (SOW), Applicants are encouraged to incorporate process improvements and industry best practices in their applications.  Applicants can add additional Performance Objectives, Required Services, and Work to Be Performed activities. 

    3. P.8, Section 1, Item B, 3rd Paragraph on this page states that this RFA blends state and federal funding. 

    Q:  State and Federal funds have different compliance requirements including allowable costs.  Please provide information describing which activities are allowed under each funding mechanism in order for applicants to describe how the funds will be used and how state funds can be used for cost share obligations under SEER agreements as evidenced by letters from CDPH.

    Answer:  CDPH will be responsible for meeting the State and Federal compliance requirements, not the Grantee directly.  CDPH will work directly with NCI SEER to address current cost share obligations.

     Back to Top

    4. P. 9, Section 2, Item A, Paragraph 2, specifies applicants are to “provide labor, services, and materials” needed for the component activities similar to what might be provided by a solid commercial staffing agency. 

    Q:  Fully competent but new employees are not fully functional in such a technical field until they have been on the job for t least one year.  And yet P. 10, Section 2, Item B, 1, specifies applicant is responsible for management and coordination of central registry production activities including relationships with regional registries and collection of data from VA, out of state, and other non traditional sources. This paragraph closes by saying that, “The applicant is expected to communicate regularly with the regional registries to discuss emerging issues and develop and coordinate collaborative activities in support of process improvements and other projects.”  What provisions are being made to assure the successful applicant will be able to meet these requirements on Day 1?  Is there a plan to reduce these expectations in the early years should a non-incumbent applicant be selected?

    Answer:  Applicants are to describe an initial overall plan and/or approach for coordinating the transition of existing activities from the current contractor on the Transition Plan Form (Form 7), which includes addressing any foreseeable transition complications and potential methods for dealing with or resolving transition complications to minimize the disruption of existing services.  The Transition Plan will be evaluated as part of the evaluation of the applicant’s “Approach.”

    Q: Does CSRB expect to acquire technical leadership expertise through this RFA capable of providing input into both the technical and strategic direction of the CCR?  If not, please describe the state’s technical leadership team, and their roles and responsibilities.  Experienced CTRs are the heart of cancer registration and without their insights and understanding of data collection, systems and strategies may not work as designed if the designers are not knowledgeable about the process.

    Answer:  Yes. The RFA narrative and Scope of Work form outline both the technical and strategic direction of the CCR for the duration of the grant period. 

    5. P. 14, Section 2, Item C., 4th-5th  Paragraphs states that applicants are encouraged to “be innovative in creating a dynamic new organization”…

    Q:  Please clarify if the RFA expects funds to be spent on organizational planning and development including planning for and creating a new organization.
    Answer:  No. 

    Q:  What is the expected proportional spending on non-cancer related functionality for Eureka during this project period? 
    Answer:  Funds awarded through this RFA will only be used for cancer related functionality for Eureka.
     
    Q:  Is the applicant expected to attract additional funding or leveraged funding for heart, lung, and metabolic diseases in addition to cancer? Will stroke be included? Are infectious disease funds also included as implied on p. 15 (8)?
    Answer:  Applicants are not expected to attract additional funding or leveraged funding for other diseases. 

     Back to Top

    6. P. 17, Section 2, Item C., 1.0 states automation goals that are ambitious. 

    Q:  Other similar efforts are often described in the case studies as taking longer and costing more that originally predicted.   How much of the funds described are for investment in Eureka support and development and how much are for ongoing operational support of CCR? 
    Answer:  The Scope of Work, Form 6Bs, outline the work activities in detail.  Applicants will need to determine how best to allocate resources, to best meet the RFA requirements.  

    Q: (6 cont) Please compare these ratios with the previous project period and describe successes and failures so that these ambitious goals can be evaluated realistically.  If Applicants, partially delete or reduce these activities, and replace them with more realistic approaches, will this be considered a high scoring approach, or will sticking with the less realistic approach be scored more highly?
    Answer:  CDPH considers the automation goals to be realistic and achievable. The Scope of Work, Form 6Bs, outline the work activities in detail.  Applicants will need to determine how best to allocate resources, to best meet the RFA requirements.

    7. P. 18, Section 2, Item C., Automation Goals are charted to start modestly, yet with higher costs due to start up and continued manual data collection and quality control. 

    Q:  This five year award is level funded each year.  Typically, start-up costs are higher in the early periods of a project, with the reduced costs due to efficiencies not available until later in the project period.  Please verify that the State and Federal funders expect an ambitious software development cycle to differ from the tested approach of higher start up costs in exchange for lower costs in the future.  If total available funding is deemed rich enough to hold start up costs and future projects not yet imagined, please describe what the expected costs reductions were to be in the business planning for this pathway.

    Answer:  The Scope of Work, Form 6Bs, outline the work activities in detail.  Applicants will need to determine how best to allocate resources, to best meet the RFA requirements.  

    8. P. 29, Section 2, Item C., 2nd  full Paragraph and P. 72, Section 8, Form 10 3.

    Q: Please provide a complete list of hardware and software, as specified, for the Data management Center and for IT/Desktop including replacement schedule, and warranty period.

    AnswerClick here for list of hardware and software.

    9. P. 31, Section 2, Item C, 15.0, 4th Paragraph in this section states that 15,000 staff hours are estimated to be needed to extract, document as actionable, and program them so they can be executed in Eureka.

    Q:  Are these hours expected to be used for estimating the cost of this activity for completion during 2012-2017? 
    Answer:  These hours are an estimation of the staff hours expected to be needed to complete this work effort.

    Q: Is the funding available for this from State or Federal funds?  If so, please provide the allocation between these two sources of funds.
    Answer:  The Scope of Work, Form 6Bs, outline the work activities in detail.  Each applicant will need to determine how best to allocate resources, to best meet the RFA requirements.  The funding source is not relevant to completing the Scope of Work forms.

    10. P. 47, Section 4, Item G.  This section states that no matching funds are required, yet leveragable funds are scored at up to 10% of the available points, and therefore are required for a top scoring proposal.  Please clarify.

    Q:  Does CSRB envision that leveraged funds are necessary in order to complete the SOW specified?  Or is the SOW specified expected to be fully completed with the $5.7 million annually?
    Answer:  CSRB envisions that the Scope of Work can be completed with $5.7 million annual funding.

    Q: Page 47 also states that federal grants are eligible for leveraging.  Can contracts also be so leveraged?  Does the state presume applicants have the consent of funders to so pledge resources against a different scope of work then the one intended? 
    Answer:   All federal funds are eligible for leveraging, regardless of mechanism.  Applicants should only leverage funds from entities that consent to having their funding leveraged.

     Back to Top

    11. P. 48, Section 4, Item H. 4. describes use of pre-identified sub-grantees. 

    Q: Does the CSRB intend to proscribe or prohibit the use of subcontractor mechanism under a grant?  Please clarify if the language at this location applies to both sub-grantees and to sub contractors under the resulting grant.

    Answer:  All sub-awards will be considered sub-grantees, not sub-contractors.

    12. P. 49, Section 5, A. 2. d. and P. 50, Item 5, A. 2. f. ii. Specify that electronic CSRB forms must be used and that all additional pages must be on 8 ½ x 11 inch paper.

    Q: SOW Form 6Bs print out on 8 ½ x 14 legal sized paper.  Will it be acceptable to submit any additional SOW pages needed on 81/2 x 14 legal paper?
    Answer:  Yes, additional SOW pages can be submitted on 8 ½ x 14 legal size paper.

    Q: These applications are expected to be hundreds of pages long and each set will contain an interspersed mixture of portrait and landscape orientations, and both standard and legal paper sizes within each properly ordered set, making some type of set packaging necessary to ensure that the pages do not become loose or otherwise get out of order during review.  Loose leaf binders would require folding hundreds of legal sized pages, for example, in order to make them fit within a standard binder intended for standard pages.  Please provide information on how CSRB wants the applications bound, folded, or stabilized to prevent this problem. 
    Answer:  Applicants can use binders, binder clips, rubber bands, and/or any binding options available to bind applications that allows for review of the documents.  In addition, applicants must follow the directions provided in Section 5 of the RFA, entitled “Preparing, Assembling, and Submitting an Application.”

    13. P. 66, Section 8, Form 6A-1, 2, and 3, 2. b.i and ii instructions address work plan narratives related to Performance Objectives in the SOW, each with two levels of increasingly granular detail referred to as required services and work to be performed. 

    Q:  In the 55 page limit for these narratives (10 for DPQC, 30 for Eureka, 15 for Surveillance) please clarify to what level of detail applicants are expected to propose the following detail in a 12 pt. font. 

    Detail needed (p. 66-67): 
    Overall Approaches
    For each major task/activity within each performance objective, provide
     Name and position title of person responsible
     Name and position title of all key personnel, sub-grantees, and/or
      consultants
     Timeline for each including beginning month or year
     Explanation of measurement proving completion
      Some will have key events
     Explanation of measurements proving quality standards were met or
      improved
     Explain probability of methods as appropriate, when not known.
     Explain any envisioned complications/delays including strategy for
    correction.
    Describe omissions, if any.
    Describe assumptions, if any.
    Identify additional responsibilities, if any.

    Please clarify whether this level of detail is needed for each Performance Objective as stated in the first column of the detailed SOW provided on 6B1, 2, and 3) or whether it is related to the more detailed major tasks/activities listed under columns titled Required Service and Work to Be Performed.  The page limits and or number of detailed items needed are likely to prohibit doing this at any greater degree of granularity than at the Performance Objective level in the first column.  CSRB should provide applicants with a practical solution.
     
    Answer:  Instructions for completing Forms 6A-1, 2, and 3, Work Plan Narratives, in Section 8, Forms Instructions, have been amended.  Provision 2.b., in its entirety, on pages 66 and 67, has been eliminated.  In addition, Provision 2.d., on page 67, has been eliminated.

    14. P. 67, Form 6B1, 2, 3. and 4 Scope of Work indicates that applicants can add edit or delete objectives and activities as needed to accurately reflect the work proposed to achieve the overall goals and objectives of the RFA.

    Q:  May applicants propose re-assigning the locus of certain activities if it believes they more logically belong in one unit than in another?  Will applicants be allowed to use the add/delete process described on p. 68 to show these changes?

    Answer: Structure of the Scope of Work is not to be edited.  New objectives and activities can be added, and existing objectives and activities can be deleted or edited, but not for the purposes of reorganizing the objectives and/or activities.

     Back to Top

    15. P. 68, Section 8, Form 6B-1, 2, 3, and 4 Scope of Work, first full paragraph, bullets 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

    Q: The 4 columns that need to be complete on the SOW forms are defined vaguely on this page, except for timeframe, which is understood.  Please provide tighter definitions, and at least one sample of appropriate language for each of these definitions.  Multiple people have attempted to understand what is needed in these columns, with very mixed and varied results. 

    Answer:  Performance Standard – A targeted level of accomplishment associated with a desired set of outcomes and expectation.  Performance Standards should be declarative sentences that provide a performance level that can be understood and measured. If it cannot be measured, it should not be a Performance Standard.

    Performance Metric – How the performance standard will be measured.  When Performance Standards describe the development and implementation of a plan or the submission of a report, the metric will be very straightforward: date of delivery and implementation. When Perfor¬mance Standards describe tasks or activities, a quantitative metric would be required to determine whether or not the performance standard is being adhered to.

    Acceptable Quality Lev¬el – The expected performance level.  The Acceptable Quality Level governs the performance of a particular task or activity.  For example, “Help Desk inqui¬ries must be answered within ten minutes” or “Key personnel must have security clearances.” Often, the metric simply restates the quantitative standard described in the Performance Standard.

    Monitoring System – The mechanisms used to evaluate the work to be performed.  These mechanisms include systems such as surveillance or monitoring instruments that can be used to measure performance and monitor Acceptable Quality Levels. Some standard monitoring or surveillance instruments include reports, surveys, audits, and design specifications.

    Applicants are also encouraged to search out other resources for developing performance based scopes of work, many of which are accessible on the internet.

    16. P. 68, Form 8, Management Plan suggests that a grant manager be proposed and responsible for the supervision of dozens of technically sophisticated employees operating in an enterprise environment and taking direction from State employees.  This does not meet the best practice standards of Human Resources nor of Program Management under Grants with state and federal funds combined. 

    Q:  May applicants propose a best standards method to the proper and respectful management of this grant that will involve a different and better approach and be considered responsive.  A grant manager is not an appropriate title for the person with key responsibility for a grant of this size and complexity and technical specificity.

    Answer:  Because Grant staff will work collaboratively with and receive direction from CSRB managers, and Grant and CSRB staff will be housed together and work together on a daily basis, Applicants should propose an infrastructure that provides for efficient supervision of Grant staff and successful management of the overall grant.  The strength of the Management Plan will considered when scoring the Applicant’s “Agency Capability”. 


    17. P. 75, C. Operating Expenses. 

    Q:  May rent be added to this list of cost elements under Operating Expenses for providing space to program and state employees?

    Answer:  Yes, rent costs can be included as an Operating Expense.

    18. Q:  Under a grant, are grantees eligible for annual advance payment provisions to be included to protect applicants from incurring costs of financing for many months ahead of reimbursement?  If not, can costs of financing be included as an allowable cost? 

    Answer:  No.  Advance payments are not authorized for Grant agreements.  Financing costs are not an allowable cost.

    19. California periodically has been unable to approve a budget by July 1 when the project year starts and when the annual non-competing project years start.  This is a annual issue separate from the issue of waiting for invoices to be paid on a routine review cycle.

    Q: Please describe how the CCR grantee operating the Statewide Registry is expected to continue or discontinue operations during these funding gaps based on budgets of $5.7 million per year without reliance on extended periods of financing from grantee in support of a state project.

    Answer:  Per Section 3 of the RFA, entitled “Agency Eligibility/Requirements,” Provision E., Agencies must be financially stable and solvent and have adequate cash reserves to meet all financial obligations while awaiting reimbursement from the State in order to be eligible to apply for funding.

     Back to Top

    20. Q:  Does the grantee have the right to terminate the grant for convenience?

    Answer:  Please refer to the cancellation/termination language in the appropriate Sample Grant Agreement for your organization type, Appendix 6 for non-University of California entities and Appendix 7 for Universities of California.

    21. Q:  Is it the position of the Department of Public Health or any other state agency that a grant awarded under the terms of this solicitation is a "personal services contract" within the meaning of Ca. Gov’t. Code §19130 et seq. and/or the implied civil service mandate in Ca. Const. art. VII?

    Answer:  Government Code section 19130 establishes standards for the use of personal services contracts, not for grants.  Therefore, it is CDPH’s current interpretation that Government Code section 19130 does not apply to the award of a grant under this RFA.

    22. Section 2D, Page 36 of the RFA states:  "Manage all aspects of preparation of annual data submissions to federal funders."

    Q: Which federal submissions are they referring to? Does this refer only to the NPCR submissions, or SEER as well? If this does refer to SEER, which regions?

    Answer:  This refers to NPCR submissions primarily.  Each SEER region will be responsible for managing its own data submission, but it is anticipated that the central registry will play a role in coordinating and supporting these activities.  This will be further negotiated once the regional registry awards have been made and the configuration of the regional registries has been determined. 

    23. Section 2D, Page 38 of the RFA states: "Improve the timeliness of cancer registry reports. 

    Q:  At present there is nearly two year lag time between the close of a diagnosis year and the publication of cancer surveillance reports that include that diagnosis year." As we understand it, this is partially a function of the reporting lag times, but also the cumbersome, and often uncertain State review process for reports that the documents need to go through in the current environment.  Will all of the reports and publications we produce be subject to State approval now that this is a grant?

    Answer:  Yes, reports and publications using CCR data produced on behalf of the CDPH will be subject to State approval and review.  The applicant should describe a plan for reducing the interval from the close of a diagnosis year to the submission of surveillance reports to the State for review.

    24. Section 2D, Page 35, says we will report on regional rates. 

    Q: Does this mean the central registry will have to produce regional reports again?

    Answer:  CCR currently includes regional cancer incidence and mortality rates on the ccrcal.org website and it is expected that this will continue in the future.  The central registry will not be required to produce routine regional registry reports.

    25. Section 2D, Page 38, after the discussion about the requirement to conduct studies, it says that no State funds can be used for research. 

    Q: Are studies permitted/required OR forbidden/can’t be paid?

    Answer:  A. The National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) clearly states that NPCR funding recipients are “specifically barred from using funds for any research activities” (see NPCR Program Manual as referenced in RFA, Section 1.4.3 Funding Restrictions, page 27; http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/npcr/pdf/program_manual.pdf).  NPCR directs funding recipients to the document “Distinguishing Public Health Research and Public Health Nonresearch” which is referenced in the RFA (http://www.cdc.gov/od/science/integrity/docs/cdc-policy-distinguishing-public-health-research-nonresearch.pdf) for guidance on how to make this distinction.

    The document states that the distinction is not to be made by the methods employed but in the purpose of the activity.  The guidance states that a project whose purpose is “to prevent or control disease or injury and improve health, or to improve a public health program or service”, then the under this guideline the activity would not be considered to be a research activity. 

    Key points for public health surveillance are that if the purpose of generating knowledge by a project is to prevent or control disease in the population from whom the data are generated, then the project would not be considered to be research.  If the purpose is to generate knowledge that would be applicable to populations and settings other than the ones from whom the data are collected, then the project would be considered to be research.  Examples of research projects under this guideline include longitudinal data collection systems and surveys that allow for hypothesis testing, and patient contact studies.  In general, disease reporting, monitoring requirements and other data collection activities conducted under state statute or under recognized public health authority are nonresearch. Disease or event reporting activities are not research.

    Please see “Distinguishing Public Health Research and Public Health Nonresearch” for further details.

    Staff whose salaries are paid on this award may conduct epidemiologic studies that meet the definition of “nonresearch” under this guideline.  Any activities that meet the definition of “research” must be supported via other funding.

     Back to Top

    26. Section 2D, Page 40

    Q:  Item 4.4 is missing (4.3 goes to 4.5).
     
    Answer:  This is a clerical error.  No information is missing.  4.5 should read 4.4.

    27. Section 2D, Page 35: 

    Q: Date for question is incorrect (Dec 22 2012).

    Answer:  Section 2D, Page 35 has no reference to a question date.  Section 4D, Page 45 has a reference to December 22, 2012, which should read December 22, 2011 as the correct date.  This date refers to the date CDPH will have all answers to general questions and issues posted on the CDPH website.

    28. Section 9, Page 90. Form 6A.4:

    Q:  In the SOW, what do Acceptable Quality, Performance Standard, and Monitoring System mean?  For example, for expanding collaborations: Quality? Standard? Monitoring system? Can examples be provided?

    Answer:  SEE RESPONSE TO #15

    29. Section 2B, Page 10:

    Q: Incorrect reference to ROADS.   FORDS is the current Commission on Cancer standards reference.

    Answer:  The FORDS reference should have been listed. (http://www.facs.org/cancer/coc/fordsmanual.html)

    30. Section 2B, Page 10:

    Q: There is no mention of CCR Volume IV or V under Resources documents for the Data Production and Quality Control Management components.

    Answer:  The list of resource documents is provided to direct applicants to publically available documentation that is relevant to this application.  Volume IV is available on the CCR website and may be accessed using the same link listed under CCR Volumes I-III.  Volume V is not relevant to responding to this RFA.

     Back to Top

    31. Section 2C, Page 14 – Second paragraph, indicating that Eureka is being offered as direct data entry software for reporting facilities. 

    Q: What measures has Eureka taken to know the needs of reporting facilities in California?

    Answer:  This is not relevant to this RFA. 

    32. Section 2C, Page 14:

    Q: Please define “Expert Systems”.

    Answer:  Expert Systems in this context is defined as a knowledge-based system or rule-based system that seeks to exploit the specialized skills and information held by a group of people in a specific area.  The use of the phrase Expert Systems was not intended to limit or otherwise constrain technology solutions to only those that technically are divided into two parts; one fixed, the inference engine; and one variable, the knowledge base. 

    33. Section 2C, Page 15 – #13:

    Q: What is the cost associated with CSRB volunteering to be part of a pilot test to leverage Eureka technology?

    Answer:   Scope of Work, Form 6Bs, outline the work activities in detail.  Each applicant will need to determine how best to allocate resources, to best meet the RFA requirements.

    Q: Who will cover this cost?

    Answer:  The Scope of Work, Form 6Bs, outline the work activities in detail.  Each applicant will need to determine how best to allocate resources, to best meet the RFA requirements.

    34. Section 2C, Page 17, 1.0: 

    Q: Please define “audit points” in the 4th paragraph.

    Answer:  Auditors use “audit points” to reconcile data differences and to help ensure data accuracy in an audit.  The state is suggesting this approach be applied end-to-end systematically.  For example, running the Edits Program in Eureka after each completed task is a partial application of this approach that could be extended end-to-end systematically.

    35. Section 2C, Page 18: 

    Q: Automation goals are unrealistic unless many more dedicated resources are allocated to automation processes. Please clarify whether this ambitious project will be adequately funded.  Could this activity be modified?

    Answer:  CDPH considers the automation goals to be realistic and achievable.  The Scope of Work, Form 6Bs, outline the work activities in detail.  Each applicant will need to determine how best to allocate resources, to best meet the RFA requirements.

    36. Section 2C, Page 19, 1.0.5: 

    Q: Level III Business Analyst Services and Section 1.0.6 Data Analyst Services.  Are these CTR positions? 

    Answer:  No.  Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR) is a credential, not a job title.

     Back to Top

    37. Section 2C, Page 20, 3.0: 

    Q: California law does NOT require all pathology laboratories to report to the CCR.   The law only allows access.  This is a mistake that will have material consequences for all applicants.  This needs to be corrected.

    Answer:
    Cancer Reporting Facilities
    Cancer reporting facility means a hospital or other facility which treats or diagnoses cancer and is also one of the following:

    (A) A facility currently licensed as a health facility under the provisions of Chapter 2, commencing with Section 1250, of Division 2 of the Health and Safety Code;

    (B) A surgical clinic licensed under Chapter 1, Section 1204, of Division 2 of the Health and Safety Code;

    (C) A facility covered by the provisions of Section 1206, except for subsection (f), of the Health and Safety Code which, while not licensed as a clinic, is operated for the predominant purpose of diagnosing or treating cancer or where a minimum of 100 or more cancer cases are diagnosed or treated in a year.

    Reporting Requirements

    (11) Cancer reporting facilities within a reporting region shall report to the regional cancer registry the required data as listed in Volumes I and III of the 1986 California Cancer Reporting System Standards. These reports shall conform to Volumes I, II and III of the 1986 California Cancer Reporting System Standards. When a cancer reporting facility fails to produce reports meeting the standards cited above, the regional cancer registry may perform the data collection and collect compensation from the facility for the activity at cost.

    (12) Cancer reporting facilities shall report to their regional cancer registry each reportable case within six months of the time the case comes under the care of, or is admitted to, the facility.

    (13) Cancer reporting facilities with an active follow-up program shall report follow-up information to the regional cancer registry no less frequently than quarterly.

    (14) A facility not already defined as a cancer reporting facility under these regulations which diagnoses or treats cancer and is a primary care clinic as defined in Section 1204, Health and Safety Code or an acute psychiatric hospital as defined in Section 1250, Health and Safety Code shall report each cancer case to its regional cancer registry, or to the local health department, the choice to be determined by the regional registry, using the Confidential Morbidity Report (Form PM-110), shown below, within 30 days of the date the patient is admitted to the facility or treated in the facility for the first time. These reports shall conform to California Cancer Reporting System Standards, Volume IV.

    Link to regs:

    http://weblinks.westlaw.com/result/default.aspx?action=Search&cfid=1&cnt=DOC&db=CA%2DADC&eq=search&fmqv=c&fn=%5Ftop&method=TNC&n=1&origin=Search&query=CI%28%2217+CA+ADC+S+2593%22%29&rlt=CLID%5FQRYRLT35308720142012&rltdb=CLID%5FDB8912720142012&rlti=1&rp=%2Fsearch%2Fdefault%2Ewl&rs=GVT1%2E0&service=Search&sp=CCR%2D1000&srch=TRUE&ss=CNT&sskey=CLID%5FSSSA5012720142012&sv=Split&tempinfo=FIND&vr=2%2E0

    38. Section 2C, Page 23, 6.0, 4th bullet states “CSRB is closely collaborating on data standards development for disease reporting.”

    Q: Who is CSRB collaborating with to develop these standards?

    Answer:  CSRB is collaborating with numerous state organizations, including the State Health Information Exchange (HIE) program and Cal eConnect. Cal eConnect works with key stakeholders across the state to establish policies, procedures, and services that support the appropriate, private, and secure exchange of electronic health information between healthcare organizations and government agencies such as public health. 

    39. Section 2C, Page 25, 9.0.1.  Website Support Services:

    Q: Is the successful applicant expected to provide programming support to maintain, update, and add functionality to the CSRB website and application programs, in addition to maintain the CCR website?

    Answer:  The CCR website is part of the CSRB website.

    40. Section 2C, Page 25, 9.0.2 Technical Writing Services: 

    Q: There is no mention of using RoboHelp, which is the current software being used.  Is it expected that this software will continue to be used?

    Answer:  A solution will need to be provided.  RoboHelp is one of many acceptable solutions.

     Back to Top

    41. Section 2C, Page 28, 14.0:  Data Center and Desktop Support Technical Services: 

    Q:  In the event of a move, who pays for this move?  Clarify what is meant in the statement, “The applicant will help with the move?”   Please provide details on the extent to which the applicant is expected to help.

    Answer:  The Applicant will be expected to help create a detailed move and transition project plan in the event of a move. Work will be assigned to the Applicant’s staff as directed by CSRB management using the standard procedures for work assignment.  The Applicant’s staff will be expected to complete work as assigned in a timely manner and with the appropriate level of quality.    

    42. Section 2C,Page 31, 15.0.  Cancer Reporting Data Standards Conversion to Programmed Business Rule Sets:

    Q: CSRB estimates it will take approximately 15,000 staff hours to extract potential business rule requirements (7,500) in CCR’s data standards documents and develop them as “actionable” rules.  What is the basis for this estimation?
    Answer:  This is an estimation partially based on past business rule writing project experiences, and partially based on estimates from numerous Subject Matter Experts.

    Q: How many FTE CTRs is this based on? 
    Answer: This work effort is based primarily on Data Analyst and Business Analyst services as described on page 31, section 15.0, not FTE’s with specific Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR) credentials.

    Q: Will these Business Rule Sets be shared with the Eureka Collaborative Partnership Group?
    Answer:  This is not relevant to responding to this RFA. 

    43. Section 2C, Page 31, 15.0.1 Technical Writing Services: 

    Q: There is no mention of RoboHelp software, which is the current software being used.  Is it expected that this software will continue to be used?

    Answer:  A solution will need to be provided.  RoboHelp is one of many acceptable solutions. 

    44. Section 2C, Page 32, 15.0.4 Level III Business Analyst Services and 15.0.5 Level III Data Analyst Services: 

    Q: Are these CTR positions? 

    Answer:  No.  Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR) is a credential, not a job title.

    45. Appendix 2:

    Q:  If the grant application is looking for innovative ideas to improve efficiencies in registry operations, why are examples that are 8 to 4 years old and unproven to be successful being cited? 

    Answer:  CDPH encourages each Applicant to provide solutions that will ensure component goals and objectives are met during the Grant period.

    46. Section 2C, Page 28, 14.0: Server move to CSRB:

    Q: What is the maximum allowable downtime for Eureka and associated applications during this move?

    Answer:  This will be determined as part of a Risk Mitigation Planning exercise, when appropriate.

     Back to Top

    47. Section 2C, Page 30, 14.0.2:  Network Administration (NA) and Network Engineering (NE) Services: 

    Q: Says "Air Force directory support", did you mean to say "Active Directory support"?   If not, please clarify.

    Answer:  Yes, it should be ACTIVE DIRECTORY.

    48. Section 1A, Page 6, paragraph 2: 

    Q: In the last sentence, why did the state preclude private universities from this grant? 

    Answer:  Private universities have not been precluded from applying for these funds. 
    • Per Section 1A, Page 6, Paragraph 4, “This procurement is open to all eligible agencies and/or individuals that meet the qualification requirements, including but not limited, to commercial businesses, nonprofit organizations, State or public universities (including auxiliary organizations) and other entities.” 
    • Per Section 3A, Page 43, “There are no restrictions as to the type of entity eligible to apply for these funds.”

    49. Section 1B, Page 6, paragraph 5:

    Q: In the historical background section, the formation of the regional registries is delineated, but there is no mention of a consolidated, centralized, statewide structure that exists.  Does CDPH believe that no such structure existed historically and that the grant is to build that structure?  Or, was this an inadvertent omission?

    Answer:  This section is to provide historical background only.  A centralized, statewide cancer registry and structure currently exists.

    50. Section 1B, Page 8, paragraph 2:

    Q: For public inquiries about cancer concerns, does CDPH require approval before such responses are made?  What is the scope of this effort to date?

    Answer:  CDPH will continue to require that all responses to public inquiries be tracked and documented, but will not require approval before every public contact or response.  As stated in the RFA, the applicant is encouraged to improve the statewide coordination of responses to ensure consistency of methodology and responses among central and regional epidemiologists.

    51. Section 2A, Page 9, paragraph 1:

    Q: The major focus is on the utilization and modification of the Eureka system; however, the Eureka system is not defined, which makes it impossible to know the scope of work needed for this effort.  What documentation does CDPH have on Eureka that can be shared with applicants?  Please provide.

    Answer:  The Scope of Work, Form 6Bs, defines and describes the modifications to the Eureka system and associated work activities in detail.  Each applicant will need to determine how best to allocate resources to best meet the RFA requirements.

    The Eureka system is documented with a complete set of documents.  For security reasons, we cannot provide the database entity diagrams, network diagrams, or system architecture diagrams to Applicants.  To protect the Intellectual Property Rights, we cannot provide the entire set of Eureka Use Cases.  All system documentation will be made available to the awarded Applicant.

    The following documents are being provided as evidence of system documentation.
    • Eureka Use Case Examples
    • High Level Data Flow Diagrams
    Click here to view documents

    52. Section 2B, #3, Page 12, paragraph 1:

    Q: The grant application states that the applicant shall develop a plan.  Does CDPH mean that the plan must be in the grant response, or does it mean the grantee develops this after the award is given?

    Answer:  The latter. In the SOW form, the Applicant is being asked to develop a plan, if awarded.

     Back to Top

    53. Section 2B, 3, Page 12, paragraph 4: This paragraph outlines the evolution of Eureka over a two-year pre-production period (2000 – 2002), and then regional registry integration by the end of 2004, then a 2006 expansion to other states had been initiated.  To help in developing a response to this grant application;

    Q:  How much did it cost to develop the Eureka pre-production phase (2000-2002)?
    Answer:  This is not relevant to responding to this RFA.

    Q:  What were the costs for the regional registries to move into Eureka?
    Answer:  This is not relevant to responding to this RFA.

    Q:  What are the current annual costs for maintaining Eureka?
    Answer:  The Scope of Work, Form 6Bs, outline the work activities in detail.  Each applicant will need to determine how best to allocate resources, to best meet the RFA requirements.

    54. Section 2C, Page 15, paragraph 1-15:This section “Specific Eureka Data Management  . . . . goals” sets forth goals that have no baseline to measure against those goals. 

    Q:  Can CDPH provide those benchmarks?  For example in Goal 1, the per unit cost is to be reduced by 35% by the end of the grant period.  What are current costs?

    Answer:  The baseline measurements, where missing, will be determined after both the Central and Regional Registry RFAs have been awarded and the costs analyzed.

    55. Many variables besides data collection in Eureka greatly influence costs of data collection and efficiency such as addition of new variables in diagnosis, staging and treatment by national organizations and advances in medical science. 

    Q:  How will CDPH accommodate the grantee if such changes significantly affect costs, and production efficiency? 
    Answer:  CDPH will adhere to the terms and conditions of the resulting Grant.

    Q:  What actions will CDPH take if the specific goals are not achieved?
    Answer:  CDPH will adhere to the terms and conditions of the resulting Grant.

    56. Q:  Since the period of implementation, what efficiencies and cost reductions in case reporting has Eureka achieved to date?

    Answer:  Not relevant to responding to this RFA.

    57. P. 38, 2.1: The RFA requests “a plan to promote design and conduct epidemiologic and/or clinical studies”, and “…preparation of scientific manuscripts describing the results of epidemiologic studies”, yet also requires “that state and NPCR funds are not utilized directly for research as defined by CDC guidelines.”

    Q: Please clarify the apparent contradictions here. If the contradictions arise due to specific definitions of “studies” and “research”, please provide those definitions.

    Answer:  (Same answer as for Question 25 above)
    The National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) clearly states that NPCR funding recipients are “specifically barred from using funds for any research activities” (see NPCR Program Manual as referenced in RFA, Section 1.4.3 Funding Restrictions, page 27; http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/npcr/pdf/program_manual.pdf).  NPCR directs funding recipients to the document “Distinguishing Public Health Research and Public Health Nonresearch” which is referenced in the RFA (http://www.cdc.gov/od/science/integrity/docs/cdc-policy-distinguishing-public-health-research-nonresearch.pdf) for guidance on how to make this distinction.

    The document states that the distinction is not to be made by the methods employed but in the purpose of the activity.  The guidance states that a project whose purpose is “to prevent or control disease or injury and improve health, or to improve a public health program or service”, then the under this guideline the activity would not be considered to be a research activity. 

    Key points for public health surveillance are that if the purpose of generating knowledge by a project is to prevent or control disease in the population from whom the data are generated, then the project would not be considered to be research.  If the purpose is to generate knowledge that would be applicable to populations and settings other than the ones from whom the data are collected, then the project would be considered to be research.  Examples of research projects under this guideline include longitudinal data collection systems and surveys that allow for hypothesis testing, and patient contact studies.  In general, disease reporting, monitoring requirements and other data collection activities conducted under state statute or under recognized public health authority are nonresearch. Disease or event reporting activities are not research.

    Please see “Distinguishing Public Health Research and Public Health Nonresearch” for further details.

    Staff whose salaries are paid on this award may conduct epidemiologic studies that meet the definition of “nonresearch” under this guideline.  Any activities that meet the definition of “research” must be supported via other funding.

     Back to Top

    58. P. 47, G: Matching Funds and Form 15 –Leveraged Funds.  The RFA indicates that CDPH will evaluate applications based on leveraging criteria. It specifies that “Leveraged funds can be from another federal grant, from an Applicant's own resources, or resources from other third party sources.” 

    Q: How is “other third party” defined? Please provide the criteria of eligibility, a specific definition, and one or more examples of such sources.

    Answer:  Other third party funding includes any funds not defined as federal grant funds or resources of the applicant.  Examples include, but are not limited to, funds from private or public foundations, independent institutions, private donors, etc., that specifically support one or more of the Performance Objectives of the RFA, as outlined in the RFA.

    59. P.45: 

    Q:  Under what legal authority may state and CDC funds be “blended” as laid out by the RFA?
    Answer:  State Grants may incorporate multiple funding sources.
      
    Q:  Presuming the authority exists, would sub-grantees who also hold SEER contracts be able to separate state and federal components in order to describe the non-federal cost-share requirement to SEER?
    Answer:  Yes. 

    Q: If so, how?
    Answer:  Additional budget detail worksheets can be created to break out federal costs from state costs.  CSRB will work with awarding Grantees to develop detailed worksheets to accommodate SEER cost-share reporting requirements, if needed.

    60. Q:  Do service location requirements (i.e., proximity to Sacramento) apply to sub-grantees, assuming the grantee met the requirement?

    Answer:  No.  Service location only applies to Grantee, not sub-grantees.

    61. In the General Terms and Conditions, Section 8 states that the grantee shall not be an agent of the State as part of establishing the independence of the grantee. For CCR work, the grantee and sub-grantees must be agents of the state for purposes of data collection, access, and audit authority.

    Q:  Can you clarify this apparent conflict, and indicate whether an organization that serves as an agent of the state for these purposes would be eligible to be a sub-grantee?

    Answer:  Grantees are not agents of the Department pursuant to provision 8 of the General Terms and Conditions.  The awarding Grantee will be the authorized representative of the Department to implement those activities authorized by the Department pursuant to the terms of the Grant agreement, and Health & Safety Code section 103885 and corresponding regulations. 

    December 7, 2011

     1. Q: What company is currently doing the work (i.e., incumbent)?

    Answer:  The Public Health Institute is currently performing the work.

    2. Q: What is the value of the current contract?

    Answer:  The current five year contract is budgeted at $49,399,860 for the full term of the agreement, however the current agreement does not align with the activities and funding of the Request for Applications (RFA) currently posted.  The current contract includes activities of the Statewide Cancer Reporting System as well as the Regional Cancer Registries, and also includes other activities not in the RFA.  In addition, the current contract only incorporates State funding, whereas the RFA includes both State and Federal funds.

     

     

     
     
    Last modified on: 1/25/2012 8:36 AM