Direct Assistance for Assigning CDC Staff to State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Health Agencies
At CDC, direct assistance (DA) is a financial assistance mechanism that is primarily used to support payroll and travel expenses of CDC employees assigned to state, tribal, local, and territorial (STLT) health agencies that are recipients of grants and cooperative agreements (hereafter referred to as “grants”). Most legislative authorities that provide financial assistance to STLT health agencies allow for the use of DA.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Which of my programs are eligible?
A: The following legislation authorizes use of DA: Social Security Act, Title V, 45 CFR 96 (for VFC only); continuing Appropriations Act, 2011 (P.L. 111-242); 48 CFR 17.504(c) within the PHS Act provide Direct Assistance (DA) in Sections 308 in support of grants and cooperative agreements made under:
- Sections 304, General Authority Respecting Research, Evaluation, and Demonstration in Health Statistics, Health Services and Health Care Technology Assessment
- Sections 306, National Center for Health Statistics
- Sections 307, International Cooperation
- Sections 317, Project Grants for Preventive Health Services
- Sections 318, Infertility and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
- Section 1507 in support of grants under Section 1501 of Title 15, Preventive Health Measures with Respect to Breast and Cervical Cancers
- Section 1903 from amounts allotted under Section 1902, other than 1902(d) of Title 19, Block Grants
Q: How do I request DA personnel?
A: To request new DA assignees, include:
- Number of assignees requested
- Description of the position, proposed duties, and supervisory responsibilities
- Ability or inability to hire locally with financial assistance
- Justification for request
- Organizational chart and name of intended supervisor
- Opportunities for training, education, and work experiences for assignees
- Description of assignee's access to computer equipment for communication with CDC (e.g., personal computer at home, personal computer at workstation, shared computer at workstation on site, shared computer at a central office
- A signed Agreement to Detail form
Q: What types of DA personnel are available to request?
A: There are a number of types of positions that a STLT grant recipient can request based on program need and project scope. The functions and role of the DA assignee must be consistent with the funding directives and program guidance outlined in the grant.
Two examples are:
- Public Health Advisor (PHA) can serve as CDC’s liaison in the state, responsible for providing on-site program technical assistance, guidance and coordination, state or local liaison, and quality assurance oversight in support of the project area’s public health program activities.
- Build partnerships with other agencies and stakeholders
- Provide technical guidance and assistance in review, evaluation, and oversight of the administration and management of the cooperative agreement and grant programs
- Provide substantive and strategic program advice and assistance to the host agency and is responsible for carrying of significant program activities in state and local settings
- Conducting program evaluation to review, analyze, and apply programmatic data and report on activities
- Epidemiologists can serve as a CDC point of contact to the host agency to plan, coordinate, lead, and implement grant activities to improve epidemiologic capacity and public health preparedness activities.
- Build partnerships with other agencies and stakeholders
- Provide epidemiologic consultation and leadership for surveillance systems
- Provide expertise for the design of epidemiological investigations, conducting studies, analyzing data, and publishing findings
- Develop and implement workforce training and education related to epidemiology
Q: What will it cost?
A: Funding for the salary and benefits, travel expenses, and other related costs for DA assignees is reflected in the grant award and comprises part of the total award, although these costs are paid directly by CDC. Personnel assigned to STLT agencies through the DA mechanism are managed by their CDC program supervisors but receive day-to-day guidance and direction from the grantee agency that is hosting them.
Q: How long will it take?
A: The time from receipt of a request for a DA assignee to placement of an assignee will vary ddepending on several factors. If this is a replacement of a DA assignee of the same grade and job series as a federal FTE, then the process is relatively short and can result in an assignee in as few as 30–90 days. If this is a first time request or for a new DA position by a STLT grant receipient, then there will be a job classification process and announcement which takes significantly more time from request to placement. Other time limiting factors include availability of FA funds and timing of the request relative to the funding period. In general, STLT grant recipients could expect a period of 90–180 days on average for a new or recurring request.
Q: Does the STLT grant recipient have influence on the selection or hiring?
A: When a DA assignee is requested, the CDC approving and hiring officials will work together with the requesting state or local officials to ensure the best personnel fit. CDC cannot guarantee that a specific candidate will be hired through federal personnel processes. Non-federal personnel cannot be an official part of the hiring process per guidelines from the U.S. Government Office of Personnel Management.
Q: Who will supervise?
A: Employees on DA are managed and supervised by a CDC supervisor and retain the rights of a CDC employee. A representative of the grantee/host agency will provide day-to-day guidance and direction to the DA assignee and will provide input to the CDC supervisor on the assignee’s performance. DA assignees including career and career conditional federal employees, Title 42 Senior Service Fellows/Distinguished Consultants, and Commissioned Corp Officers. They are permitted to supervise federal, state, and local health department staff, and they are covered by the same rights and responsibilities as federal employees in headquarters assignments. However, since CDC staff are assigned by request of the grantee/host agency, the personnel and bargaining unit policies of the grantee/host agency should be considered in determining what supervisory role, if any, that the assignee will have.
Q: What happens if the assignee is no longer needed?
A: Expiration or cancellation of DA assignment is governed by the terms of the hiring option selected, stipulations in the Memorandum Of Agreement, and availability of funds. Term appointments will have a mandatory expiration date with no guarantee or expectation of renewal or extension. If either the CDC program or the DA recipient determines the need to cancel the appointment of the DA assignee, then this request must be made in writing and is subject to the terms of the hiring or employment mechanism used. Reasons for cancellation of the assignment may be indicated by either the CDC program placing the individual or the host agency receiving the placement.
Q: In what funding cycle will a request will take effect?
A: The request can become effective as soon as the redirection of funds request is processed through the CDC Procurement and Grants Office. This can be done at any time during the funding cycle and can be made effective at any time that is agreed to by the CDC program official and the STLT requesting official.
Q: Who do I contact to begin the DA request process?
A: STLT grant recipients should first contact their respective CDC program consultant or project officer to begin the DA request process.
For general questions or support in initiating a request for a CDC field assignee, please contact the Field Services Office in CDC’s Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support at firstname.lastname@example.org.