Joint Incentive Fund (JIF) - VA/DoD Health Affairs
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Joint Incentive Fund (JIF)

Congress created the Joint Incentive Fund (JIF) between VA and DoD to encourage development of sharing initiatives and new approaches to problem solving that mutually benefits both VA and DoD. 

The JIF provides a minimum of $30,000,000 to enable the Departments to carry out a program to identify and provide incentives to implement creative sharing initiatives at the facility, intra-regional, and nationwide levels. 

How to Submit a Proposal

A call for JIF proposals will be released one to two times a year. Proposals must be jointly developed between the DoD and VA entities and submitted through their respective management structures. More detailed instructions are provided in the call letter and in the JIF Guide. Proposals are submitted to the Financial Management Work Group (FMWG). Final proposal approval will be through the Executive Council. Proposals must meet a business case. Interim progress reports will be used as part of the oversight process.

Helpful Hints for Successful Proposals: 

  • Proposals should be no longer than 10 to 15 pages, but should include a response for each question
  • Proposals should be clear about who is contributing space, staff, etc. and who is benefiting from the proposal
  • Should emphasize the reasons and benefits of the proposal
  • IM/IT projects should be in line with corporate direction and not duplicate systems already in development
  • Projects including leased space should include a deadline for decision process or consider an alternative location
  • Be sure to submit proposal to both VA and DoD concurrently with sufficient time for review
  • Avoid proposals with guard and reserve units
  • Pre-score your proposal based on the current Local and National project
  • JIF is only designated for use by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and Defense Health Agency (DHA) entities for direct medical sharing initiatives or for services or systems that facilitate DoD/VA interoperability.
  • JIF should not be used to hire military personnel, for major construction and/or major IT systems.
  • Funds should also not be used for sustainment purpose.
  • JIF initiatives should be executed to completion (and funding should be spent) within two years.

Lessons Learned for Submission of JIF Projects 

  • Proposals that involve recruitment of professional staff have experienced difficulty hiring part-time personnel. Sites should anticipate and look for alternatives.
  • Sites attempting to hire radiologists should anticipate much higher costs and should consider contracting readings and methods for transmitting radiological studies and images as an alternative to hiring radiology staff.
  • MRI technicians are difficult to hire as civil service due to more attractive salary levels in the private sector. Sites should be aware of this and consider contracting.
  • Take the time to obtain realistic cost estimates before submission of a proposal.
  • Do not combine several initiatives into one proposal. Simple, verifiable projects with good supporting data have a better chance of being selected.
  • Take the time in the beginning to develop a solid proposal and think through operational level details in close coordination with your sharing partner. Projects which transform into something different between scoring rounds have less chance of being selected.
  • Ensure that projects have been submitted up both chains of command. Projects which do not have support by both a DoD and VA partner, including support of headquarters Service, VISN or Program Office, will not be scored.
  • Do not attempt to justify proposals based on workload outside the DoD or VA.
  • Projects involving IM/IT systems should ensure that they are congruent with corporate direction and do not duplicate the work being tested in the VA/DoD Demonstration Projects.
  • If your project includes hiring civilian personnel, consider the effect of pay banding.