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BJA releases grant applications for both State and Local Byrne/JAG grant programs

Yesterday, the Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) released FY10 application packets for both the state and local Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Programs. Both of these programs were part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for FY09. The Byrne/JAG grant program is the leading source of funding for state and local law enforcement agencies, especially for IT projects. Many of the public safety IT projects we are tracking at GovWin rely heavily on grant funding from these two programs.

The JAG program provides states, tribes, and local governments with critical funding necessary to support a range of program areas including law enforcement, prosecution and court, prevention and education, corrections an community corrections, drug treatment and enforcement, planning, evaluation, and technology improvement, and crime victim and witness initiatives.

For FY09, BJA processed 1,420 local and 56 state applications totaling more than $480 million in JAG funding (approximately $318 million to states and territories and $165 million to local units of government), an increase of nearly $321 million from FY08. BJA also administered critical Recovery Act JAG funding in 2009. BJA processed 3,210 local and 56 state applications totaling more than $1.9 billion in Recovery JAG funding (approximately $1.2 billion to states and $748 million to local units of government).

All applications must be submitted via the Office of Justice Programs Grants Management System (GMS). JAG awards are four years in length and no match is required. JAG recipients are required to submit quarterly performance metrics reports, quarterly Financial Status Reports (SF-269s), and an annual programmatic report. Applications for both the state and local Byrne/JAG solicitations are due June 30, 2010.

Manitowoc County Awards Radio Communication System Contract

On March 31, 2010 Manitowoc County, Wisconsin awarded a Radio Communication System Contract to Motorola for $6,382,487. The contract comes almost 7 months after the state originally released the solicitation in September of 2009. The vendors that had expressed interest in this project by attending the pre-proposal conference included Alcatel-Lucent, Bay Electronics, Baycom, Inc, EADS, Federal Engineering Inc, Franks Radio, Grain Communications, Harris Corporation, Harris Stratex Networks, Leonard J. Koehnen & Assc Inc, Motorola, Nielson Communication, and Tait Radio Communications. Cost was a large concern for this project, but more importantly, many of the proposals the County received couldn't meet the County's specifications.

Motorola will be tasked with engineering, furnishing, installing, and commissioning a primary P25 700/800 MHz trunked communications network; VHF overlay network, an interoperability network, control stations, and subscriber equipment.

For more information on this project, please see GovWin's opportunity report . For more information on other radio communications projects, please see GovWin's Public Safety Communications Vertical Profile.

MA RMV releases RFR for program manager for their four driver license initiatives

On April 15th, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles got serious about their commercial driver license program, going as far as releasing a Request for Response (RFR # CDLPI-2010-01) for a program manager to assist the state in completing the four driver license initiatives they are working on. These initiatives include the Performance and Registration Information System Management (PRISM), Commercial Driver's License Information System (CDLIS), Electronic Commercial Driver Licensing (E-CDL), and Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Networks (CVISN) projects.

The scope of work for the Project Manager includes:

  • Information gathering and research
  • Program planning
  • Project management
  • Writing services
  • Problem identification, analysis, and resolution
  • Training program development
  • Program development

The RFR for the program manager was released on April 15th. Questions are due April 22nd. Proposals are due April 29th. Having said that, it is very likely that the response due date will be pushed back given the complexity of this project and the short window of time for vendors to respond. The contract value could range anywhere from $25-$100/hour.

$3 million in federal funds dedicated to the Connecticut Criminal Justice Information Sharing System

On April 17th, Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell announced that the state will dedicate $3 million in federal funds for the Criminal Justice Information Sharing Solution (CISS). The funding is a mix of federal grants and stimulus funds. The system will allow prosecutors and other law enforcement agencies to quickly share the most up-to-date information through a network of records systems.

During the next 3 years, the Division of Criminal Justice will build a modern information technology system that will allow public safety officials to manage their cases electronically and pass information through a network of criminal justice databases. The funds will be used to purchase computer hardware for the entire Division, purchase software for a case management system, training for all users, and consultant services to design the framework of the new system and develop inter-connectivity with existing systems.

This project began over two years ago when the state hired Executive Director, Sean Thakker, to help drive this project in the right direction. Soon after Thakker was hired, the state contracted with MTG Management for consulting work associated with the development of the CISS. On March 31, 2009, the state released a request for information to gather information from vendors on the solutions available. Since the RFI, no formal solicitation has been released. However, GovWin estimates that a formal solicitation could be issued in the near future as the state was waiting on funding before any subsequent steps could be taken. GovWin has been tracking this opportunity since April 2008 HERE.

Harris Corporation protests Radio Project in Nashville/Davidson County

Last month, the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County issued an RFP for a new 800 MHz Trunked Simulcast Public Safety Radio System. After just three weeks of the RFP being on the street, Harris Corporation lodged a formal protest to the Metropolitan Government. Harris Corp. cited that while the RFP intends to solicit a system that is not proprietary or restricted to a single manufacturer, the terms of the RFP make it impossible for Harris Corp (or other manufacturers) to submit a bid for the public safety system. Harris requested a change in the RFP language or a cancelation of the solicitation.

The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County acknowledged the protest and while they did review the complaint, there has not been any amendments issued to cite changed in the RFP document. What makes this situation interesting is the idea that there may be numerous RFPs issued across the country that are intended as to solicit vendor competition, while at the same time, requesting specifications that single out a particular vendor.

Each city, county and state has different regulations for their solicitation process, often allowing for a single sole sourced purchase, which may be in the best interest of that locality. In other cases however, localities may be benefited by reviewing bids from various vendors who may offer different products that could be a potential fit.

Most vendors would argue that fully open and competitive solicitations give them the best opportunity to showcase their products quality and cost effectiveness. However, I think that vendors would obviously rather see themselves picked as the sole source vendor. For purchasing offices, it is a difficult line to walk, in the interest of their locality, their citizens and the vendor community.

Massachusetts awards NG911 Consulting Contract

On March 20th, the State of Massachusetts awarded a contract to RCC Consultants for the state's Next Generation 911 (NG-911) Consulting contract. The contract comes nearly 7 months after the state originally released the solicitation in September. 10 vendor companies expressed their interest in this project. They include: TKC Consulting Group LLC, The Williams Agency, Alley424 Communications, CeylonSoft Inc, ATI Telemangement, BrickLogix, Mission Critical Partners Inc, RCC Consultants, COMCARE Emergency Response Technology Group, and Comtronics Corporation.

RCC Consultants will be charged with the planning and requirements analysis for a statewide NG-911 system. The state had originally estimated that a solicitation would be released in the first quarter of 2010, but GovWin estimates this could be pushed out until the end of the second quarter or into the third quarter. The NG-911 system will be made available to all Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) across the state and will be funded by a state surcharge.

For more information on this project, please see GovWin's opportunity report. For more information on other statewide NG-911 projects, please see GovWin's 911 Vertical Profile. For information on the type of grant programs that could be used to fund NG-911 projects, please attend GovWin's presentation at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Law Enforcement Information Management (LEIM) conference, May 26th.

A Look at Massachusetts’ Health Insurance Exchange

While the exact features of Massachusetts' Connector might not be applicable nationwide, it can serve as a model for other states working to implement an insurance exchange by the 2014 deadline.

Central to the Commonwealth's 2006 reforms was the establishment of the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority, referred to as Connector. Connector is an independent, quasi-governmental agency created by the state legislature and is governed by a ten member board consisting of both private and public representatives appointed by the governor or attorney general. Connector is essentially a marketplace for managed competition that facilitates the purchase of affordable, quality health insurance for individuals and small businesses without access to employer sponsored coverage. The overarching goal was to restructure how private insurance is purchased, sold, administered and delivered. Currently, Connector manages Commonwealth Care and Commonwealth Choice, two programs developed to expand state coverage options. Revenue sources are a mixture of state funding and profits generated from operations; however, to jumpstart the entity there was an initial infusion of $25 million in state appropriations. However, as the cost of health care continues to increase so does the cost of insurance which challenges the sustainability of these types of programs. For additional information on Connector's structure please see The Commonwealth Fund's Issue Brief.

Other states, including Rhode Island have previously considered implementing a similar reform. The federal government will create and maintain exchanges for any states that don't meet the deadline, as well as, develop rules and regulations for states to follow. It is important to note that state insurance exchanges are prohibited from setting premiums, but they can ask insurers to justify rate hikes. The Commonwealth has rejected 235 rate hikes to date.

What role do vendors play in Connector? Similar to state Medicaid programs, the agency contracts with "subconnectors" for administrative functions, including customer support services, eligibility and enrollment, and premium billing, collection and remittance services. Eligibility determinations consist of data-matching to ensure an applicant is not enrolled in an alternative commercial insurance or has access to employer sponsored insurance. In addition, the Commonwealth contracted with CSC to design, develop and launch a website for consumers to shop for coverage.

GovWin's Take:

Over the next several months the federal government will address state lawsuits brought against the health care reform bill. As those reservations are addressed states' plans for the exchange will begin to take shape. Cash strapped states may look to implement a scaled down version of the Commonwealth's Connector. Depending on how states elect to structure their exchanges, there will likely be a steady flow of business opportunities for consulting services and operations assistance.

Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA RICS) RFP Released Part 2

Given the fact that the LA RICS project will be the largest State and Local public safety communications project of the year, and likely the next few, it is worth taking a more in depth look than my previous blog which announced the RFP release. Those working on the bid teams for the competing vendors have no doubt already devoured the RFP and the hundreds of pages of associated documents, but this blog will provide those who are interested in following this project, but will not be bidding on it, an idea of key point in the RFP, without wasting enough paper to destroy a small forest or spending all day staring at PDF files.

Some highlights of the RFP Document

  • "The Authority has used its best efforts to develop the specifications in this RFP based on the needs of its members. Other than adopting the P-25 Standard, it is not the intent of the Authority to mandate a particular solution or System design. "(pg 73)
  • Proposed contract has provisions for extensions for up to a total of 15 years (pg 13)
  • System will be utilized by the City of Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Unified School District and 80 other member municipalities and agencies. (pg 2)
  • List of products or services that might be subcontracted include: Systems Integration, Voice Infrastructure equipment, Data Infrastructure Equipment, Console Infrastructure equipment, Voice User Equipment, Data User Equipment, Software, Site Development, Equipment Installation, Training, Maintenance, Removal of Obsolete Infrastructure and Equipment and Other tasks/services. (pg 37)
  • Categorized cost summary chart for comprehensive solution infrastructure and 15 year estimation: Voice System Infrastructure Equipment including Time Synchronization, Commercial Carrier Integration, Site Interconnect Equipment, Site Development, Inventory and Maintenance Tracking System, Recommended Test Equipment, Recommended Spare Parts and Equipment, Training, FCC Licensing, System Engineering, Administrative Management, Installation, Performance Security, Other Costs, Discounts or Incentives. (pg. 53-55)
  • Recovery Act Grant Requirements: "By America" Provision Wage rate requirements Separate tracking and reporting of funds and outcomes (pg 191)

The RFP gives vendors a large degree of freedom in systems design so it will be interesting to find out the differences between the proposed systems of each vendor. GovWin members that are interested in gaining an understanding of the types of systems that vendors have created in the past should take a moment to search the GovWin Justice and Public Safety Communications Database for contracts awarded to large industry players such as Harris, Raytheon and Motorola or the many others who might submit bids for LA RICS.

An Opportunity for Vendors to Participate in MA HIE Workgroups

The Massachusetts e-Health Institute (MeHI), a Division of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, is the designated entity spearheading health information technology (HIT) initiatives within the Commonwealth. MeHI released a draft Health IT plan in January and accepted public comments though February which are now under evaluation. Further, the state was awarded $10,559,719 in Health Information Exchange (HIE) Cooperative Agreement Program (CAP) grant funding under the stimulus package. More recently, the Institute in conjunction with the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) set-up ad hoc workgroups to engage stakeholders in the planning process for HIE development and maintenance. The workgroups will serve as a primary source for recommendations and guidance. For example, the HIE Workgroup will assist with the development of the HIE operation plan which is due in August 2010, as well as, evaluate vendors and existing capabilities. Upcoming public meetings held in Boston include:

  • Clinical Quality and Public Health Workgroup- April 8, 2010
  • Health Information Exchange Workgroup- April 13, 2010
  • Consumer Education Workgroup- April 14, 2010
  • Privacy and Security Workgroup- April 16, 2010

For further information on the Commonwealth's HIE project please see GovWin Opportunity #59998.

GovWin's Take:

Vendors need to get involved with ground-level discussions and participate in HIT workgroups to strengthen relationship with states and better understand their needs. In addition, participating in workgroups could potentially impact decision making.

Calling all HIE Vendors!

Arkansas is the latest state to release a Request for Information (RFI) for the creation and implementation of their health information exchange (HIE) named SHARE (State Health Alliance for Records Exchange). A Notice of Intent is due by April 15, 2010, and Questions are due by April 20. Responses are due by May 7, 2010. If a Request for Proposal (RFP) is released in the future, it will not be before September. GovWin is tracking SHARE under Opportunity ID #61781.

SHARE will be designed to permit participants to incrementally migrate from a basic exchange to full integration as associated health information technologies evolve. Arkansas will be looking to utilize existing community, private, and public HIEs to build SHARE and wants to coordinate with the National Health Information Network (NHIN) to interact with local Veterans Administration, Indian Health Services, public health, and Department of Defense military health systems. SHARE will utilize a hybrid federated architecture of decentralized databases that are connected across the exchange to share and exchange information. The Department of Finance and Administration is the state-designated entity for the HIE. More information on SHARE can be found here.

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