Within HRSA HAB, both Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part A Supplemental and Part C EIS Funds have historically been awarded through competitive grant applications, using Objective Review Committee scores provided by the Division of Independent Review to inform the award decisions. However, this resulted in limited differentiation in funding levels, while requiring a large amount of federal and recipient resources. HRSA HAB initiated a process to change this approach in 2014 when the WRMA Team began working with HRSA HAB to conduct a feasibility study examining alternate approaches for Part A Supplemental Funding. In April 2015, HRSA HAB contracted with the WRMA Team to evaluate methods for the RWHAP to award Part C EIS grant funding. Both Part A and the Part C Phase I-funded activities resulted in customized Excel tools developed for HRSA HAB to use in testing different alternatives for funding allocations.
In Phase II, the WRMA team built upon these activities. For Part C, the WRMA team incorporated new factors as well as modified existing factors including need, target populations, uninsured adults, aging, and not receiving Part A funds, in the Excel tool to further examine the impact that different approaches have on funding allocation. The WRMA Team also supported the implementation of the new methodology for Part C, running parallel runs and conducting additional analyses to address specific situations where overrides or other approaches needed to be implemented. For Part A, the WRMA Team continued to work with HRSA HAB in testing the feasibility of the new methodology and enhanced the Excel tool to include additional content related to choosing parameters, reviewing results, and supporting project officers in understanding what factors impact awards.
In Phase III, the WRMA Team built upon the prior activities to support the implementation of the methodologies for each RWHAP Part. For Part A, the WRMA Team ran two scenarios and provided instruction in key areas to support HAB’s ability in the future to implement the methodology. Two technical assistance (TA) materials were developed for internal use. Given that the methodology had not yet been implemented, these materials included information regarding the rationale for the change to the new approach, an explanation of what factors were chosen, and the suggested timeline HAB should use when implementing the new funding methodology. These materials and workflows were integrated into the Part A Instruction Manual which the WRMA Team authored to accompany the Excel tool.
Given that HAB had implemented the Part C Funding Allocation Methodology, these activities focused on different needs. The WRMA Team provided TA and training regarding creating new factors as well as modifying output tables in the Excel tool. As in past years, the WRMA Team also conducted parallel runs and supported HRSA HAB staff in troubleshooting any issues. Additional scenarios were also run, with TA/training provided regarding how to review the results. The WRMA team continued to provide special analyses as needed, including making recommendations to handle special situations and updating the Part C Instruction Manual with the solutions. In alignment with these changes, the WRMA team updated documentation and TA materials created in previous phases of the contract.