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FAQ

FAQ Categories

General Information

Purchasing and Reimbursement Questions

Travel

Clinical Trial Questions

Grants and Contracts Questions

Human Resources Questions

Questions & Answers

General Information

Where are you located?

CARES offices are located on the grounds of the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital, Building One, Room C303, 5000 S. 5th Avenue, Hines, IL 60141

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Where do I send CARES forms?

All forms can be hand-delivered to the CARES office: 5000 S. 5th Avenue, Bldg 1 Rm C303, Hines, IL 60141  

Purchase Order-Reimbursement Request: kelly.mitchell3@va.gov

Study Subject Reimbursement Request:  Encrypted to kelly.mitchell3@va.gov

Travel: maryann.pike@va.gov

Timesheets and Request to Hire: maryann.pike@va.gov

Basic Material Transfer Agreement: kimberly.stubbs@va.gov

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How do I contact CARES?

Staff Contact Information.

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How do I return an item purchased by CARES to a vendor?

The CARES Office should be contacted for instructions prior to initiating a return.

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Purchasing and Reimbursement Questions

How can I obtain equipment and supplies?

Requests to purchase supplies and equipment should be submitted on a Purchase-Check Requisition Form to the CARES Office, Building One, Rm. C303, fax to 708-343-9676 or to kelly.mitchell3@va.gov. Orders are normally placed within 2-4 business days of receipt.

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How do I order a computer?

All computer purchases require approval from the Executive Director. To insure compatibility with the VA computer system, all networked computer orders will be sent to OI&T for approval.  Please provide the Purchase-Check Requisition Form to the CARES main office to start the process.  

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How are emergency orders handled?

The preferred method of supply acquisition is to have the CARES Office initiate orders. Under some emergency or other situations, the Principal Investigator or other authorized personnel will be given approval to be reimbursed for supplies urgently required and personally purchased. To request reimbursement, please complete a Purchase-Check Requisition Form and provide original receipts.

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How do I get reimbursed if I used personal funds to purchase research supplies?

CARES tries to limit the number of reimbursement check requests and strongly encourages the use of purchase orders. However, it is understood that there are times when it is more efficient for an individual to purchase supplies directly. In these circumstances, you will need to complete a Purchase-Check Requisition Form, provide original receipts, and submit it to the CARES Office for review and approval.  

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When and where can I pick up my reimbursement check?

 If specifically requested, you can pick up your check in the CARES main office located in Building One, Room C303. CARES will notify you via email when a check is ready for pick up. Otherwise, all checks will be mailed via US Postal Service to the address you specify. 

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Will CARES pay for my professional licenses, memberships, and journal subscriptions?

Memberships and dues are generally not allowable expenses through CARES. There are certain conditions that may allow memberships to be paid/reimbursed through CARES. For research-oriented memberships, the organization must have a research focus demonstrated by provision of a research journal(s) and/or scientific meetings. Payment of such memberships is predicated on the membership providing a journal or other subscription that would be at a higher cost to non-members {in excess of the total membership if purchased separately). In some cases, an organization’s journals are not available to non-members. Alternatively, a relevant research membership may provide access to the annual research meeting at a significantly reduced rate, and so justify membership as the prudent business decision. Prior approval of the Executive Director is required for educational memberships/subscriptions without research relevance. Educational subscriptions must show a benefit to VA or CARES employees or to VA patients. Licensure is not an allowable expense.

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Travel

Am I limited to the federal reimbursement rates when using CARES funds for VA approved travel?

CARES generally follows federal reimbursement rates for travel although there is some flexibility in the area. In all cases, however, travel expenses will be reimbursed only for reasonable and customary business-related costs. For more information, please see our travel policy.

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Local and Non-Local Travel – VA Employee Travel Requirements

 If you are a VA employee seeking reimbursement from CARES for travel related to your research or education programs, there are additional procedures you must follow. As a government employee going on domestic or foreign travel, you are responsible for complying with the requirements of your employer. You must obtain and complete the appropriate VA forms prior to travel. A copy of the approval must be submitted along with all other reimbursement documentation.

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Clinical Trial Questions

Who do I contact to initiate a clinical trial?

Cindy M. Reutzel, Executive Director, (708-343-6379 or Extension 23380) cindy.reutzel@va.gov will provide support for studies for which a pharmaceutical company may contact the investigator.  It is important to initiate contract negotiations as soon as possible to avoid potential delays in starting your study.

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What are the most common delays in obtaining approval for a Clinical Trial?

The obstacles to completing the clinical trial negotiation and approval process are varied, but a few of the delays can be attributed to: 
1. Budget negotiations 
2. Contract negotiation between CARES and Sponsor 
3. IRB approval of protocol

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Who manages invoicing the sponsor of my clinical trial?

In most instances, payments are made by the study sponsor in accordance with the clinical trial agreement as the study proceeds. However, if invoicing is required it will be done by CARES in conjunction with the study coordinator.

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How do I reimburse a study subject?

Please complete a Study Subject Reimbursement Request.  These can be hand-delivered to the CARES office or sent via encrypted email to kelly.mitchell3@va.gov.

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How should I notify CARES of clinical study completion?

This action would be concurrent with notification of the IRB and submission of the final report to the R&D Committee.

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Grants and Contracts Questions

Who do I contact to initiate a grant submission?

Kimberly Stubbs, Grants Management Specialist, (708-343-6300 or Extension 25709) kimberly.stubbs@va.gov will provide support to investigators and their staff for investigator-initiated studies.  Cindy M. Reutzel, Executive Director, (708-343-6379 or Extension 23380) cindy.reutzel@va.gov will provide support for studies for which a pharmaceutical company may contact the investigator. In both cases, we will work with you and your sponsor on contract development issues. It is important to initiate contract negotiations as soon as possible to avoid potential delays in starting your study.  

All studies must be approved by the Research and Development Committee and any other subcommittees (Human, Animal, and Biosafety) relevant to the protocol.  The approval process is conducted via IRBnet, for additional information please contact Lisa Balsley, (708-202-5702), lisa.balsley@va.gov or Cathy Gilroy, (708-202-5696), Catherine.gilroy@va.gov

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What types of projects does CARES administer?

CARES administers research and education projects where funds are provided from non-VA sources.

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Does CARES administer Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs)?

If the MTA relates to a project being administered by CARES, then CARES is responsible for processing the MTA.

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If I have space at both an affiliated academic institution & the VA where do I submit my grant proposal?

This is an issue you should discuss with the ACOS for research, but as a general matter, if the proposed research is to be conducted in VA space at 50% time or more, the application must be submitted through CARES. 

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How do I determine if my project should be administered by CARES?

VA regulations require that non-VA funding for VA research be administered by CARES unless a waiver is granted by the Medical Center Director.

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What are the benefit rates CARES uses for personnel costs on proposal budgets?

For budgeting purposes, CARES uses a 30% fringe benefits rate for full-time staff and part-time staff. Please be advised that the actual benefit rate depends on the specific benefits package applicable to the individual employee.

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What are the current indirect cost rates for federally sponsored grants administered by CARES?

Current indirect cost rate information necessary for grant submission is available on our Reference Information for Preparation of Research Proposals form.  Please note no indirect costs are charged on donations of less than $1,000.

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Where do I find the administrative information related to CARES that is necessary to complete my grant application?

All necessary administrative information related to grant submission is available on our Reference Information for Preparation of Research Proposals form. 

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How long do I have to keep grant files?

Federal Requirement: Grantees generally must retain financial and programmatic records, supporting documents, statistical records, and all other records that are required by the terms of a grant for 3 years from the date the annual FSR is submitted. 

Others: The records of other studies depend upon law, regulations and sometimes the terms of a contract 

CARES Procedure: Investigator project files must be archived in accordance with VA policy. Contact the VA Research Office for details.

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Can VA and/or CARES employees participate as subjects in CARES administered research projects?

Yes, if such participation has been approved by the IRB and the employees participate on their own time and outside their VA or CARES tour-of-duty.

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How should I list my institutional affiliations on applications being submitted through CARES?

All CARES Investigators and most of their key personnel are affiliated with VA and hold an academic appointment as well.  The appropriate format is VA affiliation/University affiliation.

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Where do I obtain human subject approval?

All studies must be approved by the Research and Development Committee and any other subcommittees (Human, Animal, and Biosafety) relevant to the protocol.  The approval process is conducted via IRBnet, for additional information please contact Lisa Balsley, (708-202-5702), lisa.balsley@va.gov or Cathy Gilroy, (708-202-5696), Catherine.gilroy@va.gov

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What is the balance in my account?

Status of Funds reports are available on the CARES website http://cares-research.org Investigators and other authorized personnel may log into the secure website to access their accounts at any time. If for any reason you cannot access your information please contact Kimberly Stubbs, (708-343-6300) Kimberly.stubbs@va.gov and a report will be sent to you via email.  If you’ve forgotten your log in ID or password please visit Investigator/ Employee Access.

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Can I put all of my projects into one account?

Individual contractual rules or agency regulations govern each project and grant. Therefore, all project funds must remain in separate accounts until completion.  

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What happens to residual funds when a project is completed?

Once an industry-sponsored project is complete and the PI informs CARES and the sponsor that all reporting requirements and contractual obligations have been met the account is then closed. Residual funds are then transferred into a general-purpose research and education account, assigned to the PI, for use in support of other research or educational endeavors. 

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Human Resources Questions

How do I hire staff on an awarded CARES fund?

To initiate the hiring process, the Principal Investigator must complete the Request to Hire form and forward to the HR Specialist

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If I accept a position with CARES who is my employer?

You will be an employee of both CARES and ADP Total Source, a Professional Employer Organization with clients and worksite employees in fifty states. ADP handles the administrative responsibilities for most employment-related issues such as payroll and benefits and handles many personnel issues, while CARES handles the day-to-day activities related to its core business, health-related research, and education. Questions relating to payroll, benefits or other human resource issues should be directed to CARES Administrator, HR Specialist at 708-202-5695 or extension 25695.

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What is my employee relationship to the VA?

CARES employs individuals to work on VA-approved research and education projects and subsequently, CARES employees must meet all VA requirements to become an employee of the VA in a Without Compensation (WOC) status. WOC status awards the CARES employee some of the benefits and responsibilities of employment at the VA. Such appointment also requires that the employee follow the VA’s policies regarding personal conduct, safety and the conduct of research and education activities.
The WOC approved appointment allows non-federal employees to work on federal property.

 

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What do I need to do once I’ve been hired by CARES?

You will receive a CARES employment packet to complete. A formal letter of offer will be included. An agreeable date and time will be arranged where you will meet with the CARES HR Specialist.

The HR Specialist will notify Research Service of your employment with CARES. You will receive an email from an employee within Research Service with instructions and attachments to complete the Without Compensation (WOC) packet.

Your employment with CARES cannot begin until you have completed the CARES employment packet, met with the HR Specialist and secured an approved Without Compensation (WOC) appointment.

You will be notified by the CARES HR Specialist of your actual start date.

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When and where can I pick up my payroll check?

Payroll checks are issued the Friday after the end of the previous pay period and can either be direct deposited or picked up in the CARES Main Office, Building 1, Room C303. 

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How do I reimburse the University for employee time spent working on a CARES funded project?

The Memorandum of Understanding is a mechanism by which a University employee who works on a CARES project, ensures their vested University benefits by having CARES reimburse the University for a certain percentage of their salary. For more information contact the CARES office at 708-343-6300.

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