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Title 38Chapter IPart 17 → Subject Group


Title 38: Pensions, Bonuses, and Veterans' Relief
PART 17—MEDICAL


Grants for Transportation of Veterans in Highly Rural Areas

Authority: Sec. 307, Pub. L. 111-163; 38 U.S.C. 501 and as noted in specific sections.

Source: 78 FR 19593, Apr. 2, 2013, unless otherwise noted.

§17.700   Purpose and scope.

This section establishes the Grants for Transportation of Veterans in Highly Rural Areas program. Under this program, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides grants to eligible entities to assist veterans in highly rural areas through innovative transportation services to travel to VA medical centers, and to otherwise assist in providing transportation services in connection with the provision of VA medical care to these veterans.

(Authority: Sec. 307, Pub. L. 111-163; 38 U.S.C. 501)

§17.701   Definitions.

For the purposes of §§17.700-17.730 and any Notice of Fund Availability issued pursuant to such sections:

Applicant means an eligible entity that submits an application for a grant announced in a Notice of Fund Availability.

Eligible entity means:

(1) A Veterans Service Organization, or

(2) A State veterans service agency.

Grantee means an applicant that is awarded a grant under this section.

Highly rural area means an area consisting of a county or counties having a population of less than seven persons per square mile.

Notice of Fund Availability means a Notice of Fund Availability published in the Federal Register in accordance with §17.710.

Participant means a veteran in a highly rural area who is receiving transportation services from a grantee.

Provision of VA medical care means the provision of hospital or medical services authorized under sections 1710, 1703, and 8153 of title 38, United States Code.

State veterans service agency means the element of a State government that has responsibility for programs and activities of that government relating to veterans benefits.

Subrecipient means an entity that receives grant funds from a grantee to perform work for the grantee in the administration of all or part of the grantee's program.

Transportation services means the direct provision of transportation, or assistance with providing transportation, to travel to VA medical centers and other VA or non-VA facilities in connection with the provision of VA medical care.

Veteran means a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable.

Veterans Service Organization means an organization recognized by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for the representation of veterans under section 5902 of title 38, United States Code.

(Authority: Sec. 307, Pub. L. 111-163; 38 U.S.C. 501)

§17.702   Grants—general.

(a) One grant per highly rural area. VA may award one grant per fiscal year to a grantee for each highly rural area in which the grantee provides transportation services. Transportation services may not be simultaneously provided by more than one grantee in any single highly rural area.

(b) Maximum amount. Grant amounts will be specified in the Notice of Funding Availability, but no grant will exceed $50,000.

(c) No matching requirement. A grantee will not be required to provide matching funds as a condition of receiving such grant.

(d) Veterans will not be charged. Transportation services provided to veterans through utilization of a grant will be free of charge.

(Authority: Sec. 307, Pub. L. 111-163; 38 U.S.C. 501)

§17.703   Eligibility and application.

(a) Eligible entity. The following may be awarded a grant:

(1) A Veterans Service Organization.

(2) A State veterans service agency.

(b) Initial application. To apply for an initial grant, an applicant must submit to VA a complete grant application package, as described in the Notice of Fund Availability.

(c) Renewal application. Grantees may apply for one renewal grant per fiscal year, after receiving an initial grant, if the grantee's program will remain substantially the same. The grantee must submit to VA a complete renewal application as described in the Notice of Fund Availability.

(d) Subrecipients. Grantees may provide grant funds to other entities, if such entities are identified as subrecipients in grant applications to perform work for grantees in the administration of all or part of grantees' programs.

(Authority: Sec. 307, Pub. L. 111-163; 38 U.S.C. 501)

(The Office of Management and Budget has approved the information collection requirement in this section under control number 2900-0790)

§17.705   Scoring criteria and selection.

(a) Initial grant scoring. Applications will be scored using the following selection criteria:

(1) VA will award up to 40 points based on the program's plan for successful implementation, as demonstrated by the following:

(i) Program scope is defined, and applicant has specifically indicated the mode(s) or method(s) of transportation services to be provided by the applicant or identified subrecipient.

(ii) Program budget is defined, and applicant has indicated that grant funds will be sufficient to completely implement the program.

(iii) Program staffing plan is defined, and applicant has indicated that there will be adequate staffing for delivery of transportation services according to the program's scope.

(iv) Program timeframe for implementation is defined, and applicant has indicated that the delivery of transportation services will be timely.

(2) VA will award up to 30 points based on the program's evaluation plan, as demonstrated by the following:

(i) Measurable goals for determining the success of delivery of transportation services.

(ii) Ongoing assessment of paragraph (a)(2)(i), with a means of adjusting the program as required.

(3) VA will award up to 20 points based on the applicant's community relationships in the areas to receive transportation services, as demonstrated by the following:

(i) Applicant has existing relationships with state or local agencies or private entities, or will develop such relationships, and has shown these relationships will enhance the program's effectiveness.

(ii) Applicant has established past working relationships with state or local agencies or private entities which have provided transportation services similar to those offered by the program.

(4) VA will award up to 10 points based on the innovative aspects of the program, as demonstrated by the following:

(i) How program will identify and serve veterans who otherwise would be unable to obtain VA medical care through conventional transportation resources.

(ii) How program will use new or alternative transportation resources.

(b) Initial grant selection. VA will use the following process to award initial grants:

(1) VA will rank those applications that receive at least the minimum amount of total points and points per category set forth in the Notice of Fund Availability. The applications will be ranked in order from highest to lowest scores.

(2) VA will use the applications' ranking as the basis for awarding grants. VA will award grants for the highest ranked applications for which funding is available.

(c) Renewal grant scoring. Renewal applications will be scored using the following selection criteria:

(1) VA will award up to 55 points based on the success of the grantee's program, as demonstrated by the following:

(i) Application shows that the grantee or identified subrecipient provided transportation services which allowed participants to be provided medical care timely and as scheduled.

(ii) Application shows that participants were satisfied with the transportation services provided by the grantee or identified subrecipient, as described in the Notice of Fund Availability.

(2) VA will award up to 35 points based on the cost effectiveness of the program, as demonstrated by the following:

(i) The grantee or identified subrecipient administered the program on budget.

(ii) Grant funds were utilized in a sensible manner, as interpreted by information provided by the grantee to VA under §17.725(a)(1) through (a)(7).

(3) VA will award up to 15 points based on the extent to which the program complied with:

(i) The grant agreement.

(ii) Applicable laws and regulations.

(d) Renewal grant selection. VA will use the following process to award renewal grants:

(1) VA will rank those applications that receive at least the minimum amount of total points and points per category set forth in the Notice of Fund Availability. The applications will be ranked in order from highest to lowest scores.

(2) VA will use the applications' ranking as the basis for awarding grants. VA will award grants for the highest ranked applications for which funding is available.

(Authority: Sec. 307, Pub. L. 111-163; 38 U.S.C. 501)

§17.710   Notice of Fund Availability.

When funds are available for grants, VA will publish a Notice of Fund Availability in the Federal Register. The notice will identify:

(a) The location for obtaining grant applications;

(b) The date, time, and place for submitting completed grant applications;

(c) The estimated amount and type of grant funding available;

(d) The length of term for the grant award;

(e) The minimum number of total points and points per category that an applicant or grantee must receive in order for a supportive grant to be funded;

(f) The timeframes and manner for payments under the grant; and

(g) Those areas identified by VA to be the “highly rural areas” in which grantees may provide transportation services funded under this rule.

(Authority: Sec. 307, Pub. L. 111-163; 38 U.S.C. 501)

§17.715   Grant agreements.

(a) General. After a grantee is awarded a grant in accordance with §17.705(b) or §17.705(d), VA will draft a grant agreement to be executed by VA and the grantee. Upon execution of the grant agreement, VA will obligate the approved amount to the grantee. The grant agreement will provide that:

(1) The grantee must operate the program in accordance with the provisions of this section and the grant application.

(2) If a grantee's application identified a subrecipient, such subrecipient must operate the program in accordance with the provisions of this section and the grant application.

(3) If a grantee's application identified that funds will be used to procure or operate vehicles to directly provide transportation services, the following requirements must be met:

(i) Title to the vehicles must vest solely in the grantee or identified subrecipient, or with leased vehicles in an identified lender.

(ii) The grantee or identified subrecipient must, at a minimum, provide motor vehicle liability insurance for the vehicles to the same extent they would insure vehicles procured with their own funds.

(iii) All vehicle operators must be licensed in a U.S. State or Territory to operate such vehicles.

(iv) Vehicles must be safe and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations.

(v) Vehicles must be operated in accordance with applicable Department of Transportation regulations concerning transit requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

(b) Additional requirements. Grantees and identified subrecipients are subject to the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards under 2 CFR part 200, and subject to 2 CFR parts 25 and 170, if applicable.

(Authority: Sec. 307, Pub. L. 111-163; 38 U.S.C. 501)

[78 FR 19593, Apr. 2, 2013, as amended at 80 FR 43322, July 22, 2015]

§17.720   Payments under the grant.

Grantees are to be paid in accordance with the timeframes and manner set forth in the Notice of Fund Availability.

(Authority: Sec. 307, Pub. L. 111-163; 38 U.S.C. 501)

§17.725   Grantee reporting requirements.

(a) Program efficacy. All grantees who receive either an initial or renewed grant must submit to VA quarterly and annual reports which indicate the following information:

(1) Record of time expended assisting with the provision of transportation services.

(2) Record of grant funds expended assisting with the provision of transportation services.

(3) Trips completed.

(4) Total distance covered.

(5) Veterans served.

(6) Locations which received transportation services.

(7) Results of veteran satisfaction survey.

(b) Quarterly fiscal report. All grantees who receive either an initial or renewal grant must submit to VA a quarterly report which identifies the expenditures of the funds which VA authorized and obligated.

(c) Program variations. Any changes in a grantee's program activities which result in deviations from the grant agreement must be reported to VA.

(d) Additional reporting. Additional reporting requirements may be requested by VA to allow VA to fully assess program effectiveness.

(Authority: Sec. 307, Pub. L. 111-163; 38 U.S.C. 501)

(The Office of Management and Budget has approved the information collection requirements in this section under control numbers 2900-0709 and 2900-0770)

§17.730   Recovery of funds by VA.

(a) Recovery of funds. VA may recover from the grantee any funds that are not used in accordance with a grant agreement. If VA decides to recover funds, VA will issue to the grantee a notice of intent to recover grant funds, and grantee will then have 30 days to submit documentation demonstrating why the grant funds should not be recovered. After review of all submitted documentation, VA will determine whether action will be taken to recover the grant funds.

(b) Prohibition of further grants. When VA determines action will be taken to recover grant funds from the grantee, the grantee is then prohibited from receipt of any further grant funds.

(Authority: Sec. 307, Pub. L. 111-163; 38 U.S.C. 501)

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