Tag Archives: Walking Around Money

Health Navigator Grants: The Walking Around Money Concept Confirmed

In a recent post about the new ObamaCare Health Navigators program, I said that it looks like classic grant walking around money that should be of great interest to almost all nonprofits and many public agencies, regardless of whether or not they’ve ever done any health related activities. This particular RFP is for the 34 states that are not setting up their own Health Insurance Exchanges.

The other 16 states are doing their own “thang,” to quote The Isley Brothers, with respect to ObamaCare outreach and education. In California, this effort is the wonderfully named “Covered California,” which sounds more like a teen pregnancy prevention program than something about affordable health insurance.

Just sayin’.

Last week I received a call from a prospective client who was interested in applying to the Covered California Outreach and Education Grant Program, which is California’s equivalent to the federal Health Navigators program. My caller was out of luck because the RFP process concluded in March. But there’ll be additional RFPs, so I advised him to watch the skies for the next RFP. One interesting point about the California RFP process: the organizations that submitted Letters of Intent are conveniently available at the above download link in the first sentence.

Look at the Letter of Intent (“LOI”) list and the phenomena of walking around money will be instantly illustrated. Prospective applicants included a cornucopia of nonprofit and pubic agencies, many of which seemingly have much to do with health insurance needs. Here’s a few that caught my eye in the 13 pages of would-be applicants:

The Actors Fund, Rancho Santiago Community College District, California Association of Black Pastors, Apple Valley Chamber of Commerce, San Bernardino Employment Training Agency, Union of Pan Asian Communities, Office of Small Business of the City and County of San Francisco, County of Ventura Area Agency on Aging, Partnership for Affordable Housing, Rasin City Elementary School District, Jamboree Housing Corporation, California Latino Water Coalition (who knew there was such a thing as “Latino water”), Girls After School Academy, the California Teachers Association, SIEU Locals 521 and 99, and—my personal favorite—The California Restaurant Association.

Based on a close reading of that list, it should be obvious that California organizations recognize a gravy train when they see one. As I said in my earlier post, if you like grants—and who doesn’t?—squeeze in close and get your snout in the Health Navigator trough. This free-for-all is too good to pass up.

So What Are You Supposed to do to Respond to the Community Resilience and Recovery Initiative (CRRI) program RFP?

Subscribers to our email Grant Alert Newsletter will see a link to the Community Resilience and Recovery Initiative (CRRI), which is a program designed to provide “Grants to strength families, communities, and the workforce through appropriate, evidence-based interventions.” What does that mean applicants should actually propose to do?

You won’t really find out based on SAMHSA’s grant announcement, which says that you’re supposed to do things like “Reduce depression and anxiety” and “Reduce excessive drinking (and other substance use if the community chooses)” without saying how that is to be done. In other words, whoever wrote the announcement page forgot to answer the 5Ws and H.

From SAMHSA’s page you can download the application kit file, which has lots and lots of stuff about how important evidence is (“The CRRI will use a place-based strategy to implement multiple evidence-based interventions targeted to four levels in the community”), and how important strengthening communities are (“The intent of the program is to help communities mobilize to better manage behavioral health issues despite budgetary cuts in existing services and to promote a sense of renewal and resilience”), and so on, but no definitions of what it means to “promote a sense of renewal and resilience.” Grants are for $1.4 million—maybe you should use that for 20 giant potlucks.

In reading through the RFP, you’ll find several references to “Section I-2.2.” If you search for “2.2,” you’ll finally find what SAMHSA actually wants you to implement:

  • Triple P – Positive Parenting Program
  • Strengthening Families Program
  • Families and Schools Together
  • The JOBS Program
  • Coping with Work and Family Stress
  • Coping and Support Training (CAST)

In other words, it wants a mix of supportive family and jobs services. Even then, the RFP doesn’t tell you what these various programs entail—instead, it tells you go visit yet another website. If you want to figure out what SAMHSA actually wants you to do, you’ll have to drill through at least three levels of cruft: the announcement itself, the RFP, and then the highly intuitive “National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) Web site.”

Alas, the National Registry website isn’t easily reduced to a description appropriate for the newsletter. That’s why you’ll find our somewhat vague description in our newsletter, which mirrors the vagueness of the RFP itself. It seems to me that CRRI is really just Walking Around Money to do “something about substance abuse” for the big cities and counties that are eligible for this odd program.