Recently, General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) and the Defense Health Agency (DHA) entered into a strategic seven-year partnership representing an estimated $5.4 billion in spend for critical Health IT services and solutions. Through this partnership, DHA will direct new health IT procurements to GSA IT contracts, including IT Schedule 70 and the Alliant, Alliant SB, 8(a)STARS II, and VETS Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs). DHA will use these vehicles as the primary means of procuring supplies and services to support their existing and emerging Health IT requirements. This partnership highlights two agencies using innovative methods to leverage each other’s strengths and expertise to create a “best in government” solution.
As DHA initially set out to create their own Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract, they posted their business case describing their requirements on Office of Management and Budget’s MAX system. We reached out to DHA, confident that GSA could work with them to develop a comprehensive solution to support their programmatic and contracting needs. We worked with our colleagues DHA over a period of many months and jointly developed an agreement that will enable DHA to not only utilize GSA’s IT contracts, but will also provide DHA with additional acquisition expertise, and electronic tools for market research, acquisition planning, solicitation development and reporting. In addition, we will add a Health IT Special Item Number (SIN) to Schedule 70 to help DHA reach qualified companies in the Health IT market.
DHA has been very pleased with the collaboration and results they are seeing from GSA. Michael O’Bar, DHA Component Acquisition Executive, commented, “Thanks again for all you have done to build our DHA/GSA partnership. Your staff has been outstanding in all the work they have performed in this regard over the past months. It is a pleasure to associate with such accomplished professionals. Our industry day confirmed for me that we definitely have made good strategic decisions… I could not be more pleased.“
Helping Agencies Achieve Their Mission
DHA supports the delivery of integrated, affordable, and high-quality health services to the Military Health System (MHS). The strategic partnership between DHS and GSA will make the process of acquiring Health IT solutions much easier for DHA. By optimizing processes and technology, reducing costs, and streamlining delivery of core services, DHA will have a simplified way of buying the mission-critical products and services they need.
DHA has numerous significant IT initiatives that are critical to how DoD provides healthcare and benefits to its military personnel. IT plays a large role in ensuring that the military can achieve greater integration of DHA’s direct and purchased healthcare delivery systems, ultimately improving the health of DoD personnel and lowering healthcare costs. Consolidating the military healthcare resources within one agency will allow DoD to immediately see some savings while also helping them manage spending to achieve significant long-term savings.
Engaging Our Industry Partners
Helping the government save money requires information sharing and a continuous dialog with our industry partners and agencies. That is why, on January 20, DHA held a GSA-hosted industry day for more than 650 attendees. During the event, GSA shared more details about our strategy and approach with the Health IT contractor community. We also discussed the effort to develop the Schedule 70 Health IT SIN, as well as the planned involvement of the GWAC programs, and future Alliant 2 and VETS 2 contracts. The feedback received from attendees was very positive. The IT Schedule 70 Health IT RFI will be available for comment on FBO through February 8th.
Solutions for the Future
GSA’s suite of contracts was chosen with a comprehensive business approach in mind- one that addressed costs, risk, schedule, contracting support, and the ability to provide Health IT services.
The resulting DHA partnership agreement represents GSA’s leadership in generating innovative ideas within government. It also supports our long-term goals of delivering new and innovative IT technologies to government agencies to support their missions, achieve acquisition and operational efficiencies and deliver savings to the taxpayer.
GSA worked with DHA for a tailored approach to how we can meet their needs. However, all of GSA’s IT contracts are available for all government agencies to use. Agencies focusing on Health IT and related services will benefit from the new IT Schedule 70 SIN as well as additional companies joining our next generation of GWACs; Alliant 2, Alliant 2 Small Business and VETS 2.