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Frequently Asked Questions

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

This page provides answers to frequently asked questions on Recovery Act reporting requirements, including registration, data entry, job creation estimates, and data review.

Recipients of Recovery Act funds from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) must submit quarterly reports at http://www.FederalReporting.gov. This page provides answers to frequently asked questions on reporting requirements, including registration, data entry, job creation estimates, and data review.

Contents

A. General
B. Registration
C. Data Entry
D. Job Creation Estimates
E. Data Review

 

A. General

  1. To whom do the reporting requirements apply?

    All Recovery Act-funded, AHRQ contract, extramural grant, or cooperative agreement recipients must report information in accordance with Section 1512 of the Recovery Act on a quarterly basis using the http://www.FederalReporting.gov Web site. According to Section 1512 of the Recovery Act, prime recipients are responsible for fulfilling the reporting requirements for both prime and sub-recipients; however, prime recipients may delegate the reporting responsibilities to sub-recipients. In case of AHRQ-awarded grants or cooperative agreements, the prime recipient is the grantee institution. In cases where the prime recipient enters into a legal consortium or subcontract arrangement with another institution whereby the reporting terms would flow down to that other institution, that institution would be considered a sub-recipient. See the appendix of the OMB Guidance [PDF file PDF file, 550 KB; Plugin Software Help] for definitions of recipients and sub-recipients.

  2. What is the role of the principal investigator (PI) in reporting?

    This may vary depending on the procedures established by the grantee institution. The institution is considered the grantee and is responsible for determining processes within the institution for completing the reporting requirements. The PI may or may not be involved.

  3. How long does the recipient have to enter data?

    The reporting window lasts from the 1st to the 10th of each reporting month (for example, October 1 to October 10). In addition, the 11th to the 21st day of each reporting month is available for recipients to review the data submitted and make any necessary corrections. On day 22 of the reporting month, all data submitted will be "locked" and cannot be modified unless "unlocked" by the Federal awarding agency.

  4. What can prime recipients do now to prepare for quarterly reporting periods?

    • Institutions (not individuals) should register with the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database if you have not done so previously.
    • Register with http://www.FederalReporting.gov.
    • Within your institution, determine what systems you will need to access to accommodate this reporting requirement. This could include purchasing systems, accounting systems, human resources/personnel systems, etc. Also, determine who within your institution will be responsible for the reporting requirement. Establish a consistent process and procedures to ensure that required reports are complete, consistently prepared, and accurate.
    • When sub-recipients are involved, determine if you will be delegating the reporting requirement to the subs. If not, establish a procedure for collecting information from sub-recipients and vendors to fulfill the reporting requirements. Reporting spreadsheet templates are available on http://www.recovery.gov/.
    • If you plan to delegate reporting responsibility to any of your sub-recipients, make certain any subcontract/consortium agreements are revised to document this responsibility. Also recommend that they prepare to register with FederalReporting.gov when registration is open.

  5. What can sub-recipients do now to prepare for the quarterly reporting periods?
    • Obtain a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number if you do not have one already.
    • Work with prime recipients to determine if you have been delegated reporting responsibility; this may vary depending on the prime recipient.
    • Register with http://www.FederalReporting.gov.
    • Within your institution, determine what systems you will need to access to accommodate this reporting requirement. This could include purchasing systems, accounting systems, human resources/personnel systems, etc. Also, determine who within your institution will be responsible for the reporting requirement. Establish a process to ensure compliance with these reporting requirements.
    • Begin data collection to send to prime recipients or enter into FederalReporting.gov.

  6. What are the ramifications of noncompliance with the recipient reporting requirements?

    Noncompliance of this reporting requirement will be treated as failure to comply with the terms and conditions of award and will be subject to the enforcement actions outlined in the Enforcement Actions section of the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

  7. The OMB 6/22/2009 guidance document defines a recipient and sub-recipient as "non-Federal entities." We have a consortium arrangement with a National Laboratory. Are they ineligible to receive Recovery Act funding?

    In most cases the National Laboratory is a Federally-Funded Research Development Center (FFRDC) or Government Owned/Contract Operated (GOCO) facility. In these cases the prime recipient or sub-recipient is actually a contractor that is a non-profit university, industrial firm, or other non-profit organization. PIs and key personnel are employed by the contract organization, rather than the Federal agency. Since the grantee is actually the contractor (a non-Federal organization), OMB has indicated there is no concern with these organizations receiving Recovery Act funding as either a prime or sub-recipient.

  8. Were there any pilots that happened prior to the October 2009 report?

    OMB conducted a controlled, limited pilot to early test user experiences. This was scheduled to happen during July 2009. Institutions and agencies involved in this effort have already participated.

  9. It would appear that most of the data being requested is already being reported by Federal agencies under the requirements of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (FFATA). Why do recipients have to provide data that is already available from Federal agencies?
     

    Federal agencies are working with OMB to see where pre-population of data from agencies is possible. This will help ensure better data quality. However, it is unknown at this time how much pre-population will be available for the October 2009 quarterly report. HHS also developed a tool that will provide as much of the data as possible from the HHS TAGGs database. More information about HHS TAGGS can be found at: http://taggs.hhs.gov/.

  10. How does a recipient access the FederalReporting.gov help desk?

    The help desk contact information is available at https://www.federalreporting.gov/federalreporting/help.do and provides help with user functions related to the registration and reporting processes. Questions regarding specific Recovery awards or programs should be referred to the Federal Awarding Agency.

  11. If recipients have a question that cannot be answered by the FederalReporting.gov helpdesk whom should they contact?

    Grantees and contractors should contact their assigned program official at AHRQ on issues concerning this quarterly reporting requirement. Additionally, the AHRQ OS Helpdesk is available to answer questions Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST by phone at 1-877-681-8986 or by E-mail at ARRA_Support@AHRQ.HHS.gov.

  12. Where can I find recordings of the OMB Webinars conducted July 20-July 23, 2009?

    Recordings of the Webinars are available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/Recovery/WebinarTrainingMaterials/.

  13. How will the reports entered into FederalReporting.gov be made available to the public?

    On the 30th day of each reporting month, all reports will be made available on http://www.recovery.gov/ and on individual Federal agency recovery Web sites.

  14. My institution received a Recovery Act award from AHRQ, but then the PI moved so the entire award was cancelled. Must we still comply with the Section 1512 report?

    No. If the award was cancelled, there is no requirement to include the project in the quarterly report.

  15. Will institutions receiving awards just before the reporting period need to include those in the quarterly report? For instance, for the first report due in October 2009, will institutions have to include those awards just issued in September 2009?

    At this time, the answer is yes. All awards issued prior to the reporting due date will be required to be included in the quarterly report. For example, for the October 2009 report, all AHRQ awards issued on or before September 30, 2009, were included. However, AHRQ anticipates that no activity would be reportable for such awards. Consequently, it would be acceptable to indicate "Not Started" for the Project Status and "0" for the Number of Jobs. AHRQ also plans to take into consideration this timing issue as part of our review of the data submitted.

  16. When should a Federal contractor submit its final quarterly report?

    Contractors that have complied with their Section 1512 quarterly reporting requirements, in accordance with the clause 52.204-11, will no longer be required to submit Section 1512 reports after their final report, as defined herein, is submitted. A Contractor's final report is the report submitted for the quarter during which the following circumstances in 1 and 2 occur:

    1. (a) The contractor has completed the required Recovery Act-funded deliveries or services (including construction) and

      (i) the Government has accepted these supplies or services (including construction); or
      (ii) the agency is satisfied that the Recovery Act-funded deliveries or services (including construction) are complete per agency requirements.

      (b) All Recovery Act funded option provisions, if any, have expired; or

      (c) The Government has given the contractor a notice of complete termination for the Recovery Act funded contract, order, or portion of the contract or order funded by the Recovery Act, and there were no termination costs paid with Recovery Act funds. For rental, use, and storage agreements, the Government has given the contractor a notice of complete termination for the Recovery Act funded agreement or portion of the agreement funded by the Recovery Act and there were no termination costs paid with Recovery Act funds or the agreement period has expired.

    2. The contractor has invoiced for all Recovery Act funded supplies and services (including construction). The contractor's final report will indicate a "Y" in the Final Report data field and "Fully Complete" in the Project Status data field in FederalReporting.gov. Indication of a final Section 1512 report does not replace any other closeout procedures required by the contractor or Federal agency. For more information on administrative closeout procedures, please see Federal Acquisition Regulation Section 4.804.

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B. Registration

  1. My institution is already registered in Central Contractor Registration (CCR) and Grants.gov. Do we need to separately register in FederalReporting.gov?

     

    Yes, separate registration in FederalReporting.gov is required.

  2. How do recipients register to use FederalReporting.gov?

    Recipients should register with http://www.FederalReporting.gov well in advance of the October reporting window. You only need to register once. To register, prime and sub-recipients must have a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number, and prime recipients must be registered in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database. Recipients who do not already meet these requirements should take immediate steps to prepare for registration. Further detailed information on CCR and DUNS numbers are available at http://www.ccr.gov/FAQ.aspx and http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform.

  3. Who should I contact with registration questions?

    The registration and reporting processes will be supported by a new FederalReporting.gov help desk.

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C. Data Entry

  1. How does a recipient submit reports into http://www.FederalReporting.gov?

    There are two methods available to submit reports into FederalReporting.gov for the October 2009 report. The reporting organization can choose the most convenient method for reporting among the following:

    • Online data entry in a Web browser: The Web site provides a straightforward data entry form, available via the user's Web browser, for report data entry.
    • Excel® spreadsheet: The Web site will make a Microsoft® Excel® spreadsheet available for report submission. The user can download this spreadsheet, open the spreadsheet in Microsoft's Excel® spreadsheet program and fill it in.

    More information on each of these methods is available in Section 3.6 of the OMB guidance document [PDF file, 550 KB; Plugin Software Help].
    Note: the OMB guidance includes a third option for using XML; however, it does not appear this option will be available for the October 2009 report.

  2. How long does the recipient have to enter data?

    The reporting window lasts from the 1st to the 10th of each reporting month (for example, October 1 to October 10). In addition, the 11th to the 21st day of each reporting month is available for recipients to review the data submitted and make any necessary corrections. On day 22 of the reporting month, all data submitted will be "locked" and cannot be modified unless "unlocked" by the Federal awarding agency.

  3. In Section 2.3 of the OMB guidance (page 10) there is a sentence indicating

    "Administrative costs are excluded from the reporting requirements." Does this mean the administrative portion of Facilities and Administrative (F&A)/indirect costs should not be reported?

    No. Grantees are required to report on the total costs awarded, which include both direct and F&A/indirect costs. OMB will issue a clarification on what is meant by "administrative costs" in this context. However, it does not mean the administrative portion of F&A.

  4. How does a recipient make a report correction to a submission?

    A recipient may decide, or may be asked by a subsequent reviewer, to make a correction to a submission. The entity submitting the report is the data owner of the submission and is therefore responsible for applying any corrections. If the data was submitted in an online form, the data fields can be modified and saved. If submitted via Excel spreadsheet file, a new file with corrections will need to be uploaded. Recipients will have until the 21st of each reporting month to make corrections. After that date, the data will be locked and cannot be modified by the recipient unless the Federal agency unlocks the data. In the event a correction is noted after the data becomes public on the 30th of the reporting month, recipients will use the next quarterly report to make the correction.

  5. What is a Treasury Account Symbol (TAS) and where can a grantee find this for a particular award?

    TAS stands for Treasury Account Symbol; a unique number for each Institute/Center (IC). A TAS number look-up tool is provided on the Excel spreadsheet reporting template. Tip: All HHS TAS numbers begin with 75. The TAS should be entered as follows: 75-XXXX.

    We expect that recipients directly entering data into FederalReporting.gov will have a similar tool or a drop-down list of values from which to choose the appropriate TAS number.

  6. What codes are helpful for recipients who need to enter data?

    Helpful Codes for Recovery Act Reporting on Contracts, Grants, and Loans:

    Awarding Agency Code* for AHRQ—7528.
    The Funding Agency Code for AHRQ is 7528.

    For contracts, the AHRQ Government Contracting Office Code is —00290.

    Program Source (TAS):

    75-1701—Healthcare Research and Quality, Recovery.
    05-0108—Salaries and Expenses, Recovery Act

* The Awarding Agency Code and Funding Agency code may change if the money comes from a source other than AHRQ appropriated funds. If you are unsure about the funding or awarding agency codes, please contact your project officer for technical assistance.

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D. Job Creation Estimates

  1. What is the difference between a job created and a job retained?

    A job created is a new position created and filled or an existing unfilled position that is filled as a result of the Recovery Act; a job retained is an existing position that would not have been continued to be filled were it not for Recovery Act funding. A job cannot be counted as both created and retained.

  2. Are "Jobs Created" and "Jobs Retained" reported separately?

    No. These are combined as a single data element titled "NumberOfJobs" in the Data Model [PDF file PDF file, 925 KB; Plugin Software Help]. Even if the prime delegates other reporting responsibilities to the sub-recipient, the NumberOfJobs data element is not separately reported by the sub-recipient.

    ]
  3. Who reports the job figures for sub-recipients—prime recipient or sub-recipients?

    This will be the responsibility of the prime recipient to report as a single, combined number.

  4. How are full-time, part-time, and temporary jobs reported?

    The estimate of the number of jobs required by the Recovery Act should be expressed as "full-time equivalents" (FTE), which is calculated as total hours worked in jobs created or retained divided by the number of hours in a full-time schedule, as defined by the recipient (go to pages 35-36 of the OMB guidance document [PDF file, 550 KB; Plugin Software Help] for more information). The FTE estimates must be reported cumulatively each calendar quarter.

  5. Can percentage effort be used to measure FTEs instead of hours?

    Yes. An alternative calculation based on the allocable and allowable portion of activities expressed as a percentage of the total is acceptable for recipients of assistance agreements that must comply with OMB Cost Principles (such as Circular A-21, Cost Principles for Educational Institutions and circular A-122, Cost Principles for Non-profit Organizations). For example, a full-time faculty member charging 50% effort on a Recovery Act award will be counted as .5 FTE. Hourly and part-time employees shall be calculated based on actual hours worked on the sponsored agreement and the institution's definition of a full workload for employment.

  6. How are National Research Service Award (NRSA) trainees/fellows counted?

    Although NRSA trainees and fellows are not considered employees of the grantee institution, for the purposes of the Section 1512 reporting these positions should be reported as Jobs Created/Jobs Retained. One full-time appointment for 12 months would equal 1.0 FTE for the number of jobs; a full-time appointment for only 6 months would equal 0.5 FTE.

  7. Is the job figure a cumulative figure? Would you expect it to grow each quarter?

    The job figure is a cumulative figure; however, the number of FTEs does not necessarily have to grow each quarter. For an example refer to page 35 of the OMB guidance document [PDF file, 550 KB; Plugin Software Help].

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E. Data Review

  1. What is the timing of the review period?

    From the 11th to the 21st of the reporting month, the prime recipients review the reports. This review is particularly critical when a prime has delegated reporting requirements to sub-recipients. If a prime recipient notes a mistake in a sub-recipient's report, they must contact the sub-recipient and have the sub-recipient make the correction. Only the party who initially submitted the report is able to make changes. AHRQ can see the data at this time and, due to the limited time available for agency review, may actually begin a preliminary review prior to the 21st. Beginning on day 22 of the reporting month, the reports are locked from further changes, and AHRQ has 7 days to conduct their review. If a change is needed during this period, a notification will be sent to the recipient describing the discrepancy. Note: even if the prime recipient has delegated this reporting requirement to sub-recipients, AHRQ's communication will be with only the prime recipient. This notification also serves to unlock the report so the recipient can change it. Any changes must be transmitted by the 29th of the month. On day 30 of the reporting month, regardless of the review status, the reports are published on Recovery.gov.

  2. What will AHRQ look for during their review of recipient reports?

    AHRQ will initially be reviewing for material omissions and significant errors as defined in the OMB guidance document. However, we expect this to be an evolving process and will adapt our level of review as time and experience suggests.

  3. What is the definition of a material omission?

    Material omissions are defined as those instances where required data is not reported or reported information is not otherwise responsive to the data request and such reporting gaps result in significant risk that the public will be misled or confused by the recipient report in question. For example, a recipient required to report a description of a purchase made from a vendor may not provide sufficient detail in the description for the reader to derive the nature of the purchase.

  4. What is the definition of a significant reporting error?

    Significant reporting errors are defined as those instances where required data is not reported accurately and such erroneous reporting results in significant risk that the public will be misled or confused by the recipient report in question. An example of this would be a recipient, or sub-recipient, who reports expenditures in excess of the amount awarded by the Federal funding agency, excluding funding resulting from match requirements.

  5. The "Total Federal Amount Recovery Act Funds Received/Invoiced" data element will not reconcile with the number that will be reported for the quarterly PMS272 cash transaction report. Is that a problem?

    Due to the timing of the required reports, it is recognized that the Total Federal Amount Recovery Act Funds Received/Invoiced figure reported for the Section 1512 quarterly report may differ from that submitted on the quarterly PMS272. Grantees should report figures to the best of their knowledge and ability at the time each report is due.

  6. Who is responsible for the quality of data submitted under Section 1512 of the Recovery Act?

    Prime recipients, as owners of the data submitted, have the principal responsibility for the quality of the information submitted. Sub-recipients delegated to report on behalf of prime recipients share in this responsibility. Agencies funding Recovery Act projects and activities provide a layer of oversight that augments recipient data quality. Oversight authorities including the OMB, the Recovery Board, and Federal agency Inspectors General also have roles to play in data quality. The general public and non-governmental entities interested in "good government" can help with data quality, as well, by highlighting problems for correction.

  7. Is AHRQ required to certify or approve data for publication on Recovery.gov or agency Web sites?

    No. AHRQ is required to run a data quality review process consistent with Sections 3 and 4 of the OMB guidance document [PDF file, 550 KB; Plugin Software Help]. These actions are expected to occur prior to the 30th day of the reporting month. Reports will be posted on the 30th day after the end of the quarter regardless of the outcome of AHRQ data quality review efforts.

  8. How will issues identified under the data quality reviews be communicated to the public?

    Federal agencies will be required to classify submitted data using the following three categories:

    • Not reviewed by agency.
    • Reviewed by agency, no material omissions or significant reporting errors identified.
    • Reviewed by agency, material omissions or significant reporting errors identified.

    Within the third category, to the extent the agency identifies any data that it has reason to believe is false or misleading that has not been corrected by the recipient or sub-recipient, the Federal agency must provide such findings to recoveryupdates@gsa.gov so that the Recovery Board can make such instances public on the Web site http://www.recovery.gov.

    The system will automatically default to the first category of "Not reviewed by agency" if an agency has not chosen one of the above three categories before the 29th day of the process.

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Current as of April 2010
Internet Citation: Frequently Asked Questions: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. April 2010. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://archive.ahrq.gov/funding/arra/faq/index.html

 

The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.

 

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