Musings and advice re: your project design and writing your proposal
Jennifer Christian MD
What a DELIGHT to hear that some of you are now starting to move into the program design and proposal writing phase! Here are some musings and some personal advice that I hope will help you think about how to approach the issue program design – and describe it in your proposal.
Reassuring words: Do not despair if you have to write a proposal that is fuzzy on a lot of details. This demonstration program is VERY unusual, is NOT in anyone’s area of comfort today -- and thus includes several unusually knotty leadership/policy/operational/technical issues that will need time to figure out. Realistically, it is UNLIKELY that ANY team is going to submit a proposal with ALL questions answered in detail given the CRAZY SHORT TURNAROUND TIME. AND it’s unlikely the Feds will cancel the whole thing. The fact that the 8 winners are going to get $1 million and 9 months to make preparations before you start your teeny weeny pilot test is an ACKNOWLEDGEMENT by the Feds that it is going to TAKE TIME to work all of the details out.
I’ve heard through the informal grapevine that in the past, the Feds have accepted the “best available” bids despite weak or half-baked plans. As I understand it, they tend to accept bids from GOOD groups of solid and committed people from states with a reputation for doing high quality work and actually getting things done. After award, the Feds then relied on the Technical Assistance process to help strengthen the plans.
So, I encourage you to write about your team members, the professional capabilities and strengths they are bringing to the team, those who are familiar with the dynamics of the SAW/RTW process, with working in a multi-stakeholder environment, with collaborating across traditional boundaries, who have a track record of commitment to workers, to improving outcomes, to preventing needless work disability -- whatever is relevant. And point to their track record of accomplishing what they set out to do – and your state’s record with prior demonstration projects (if any).
Also lay out:
With regard to your program design itself, I believe the Feds want to see the COHE program’s brilliant community positioning and simple clinical and SAW/RTW interventions duplicated as closely as possible given your state’s realities. Therefore, I would think you would want to
Jennifer Christian, MD, MPH
President / Chief Medical Officer
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Wayland, MA 01778
Office: 508-358-5218 (preferred)