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Deltek Pulse: Health and Human Services December in Review

As Deltek’s health and human services team wrapped up 2013, December proved to be a productive month with the release of new health and human services opportunities on par with previous months. With that backdrop, December was both a month of reflection and anticipation. Indeed, 2013 was one of the most energetic years to be involved in the health and human services market. From enrollment in health insurance exchanges to farm-bill-related food stamp drama, our vertical has experienced innovation, excitement and continued investment.

Opportunity Overview 

In December, the health and human services team saw the release of a little more than 600 solicitations with either health care or social services as a primary vertical. The word cloud below represents the frequency of terms in those solicitations. 

As one can see from the below map, California, New York and Colorado saw the largest number of health and human services-related solicitations, while 15 states had no related activity.

Notable Opportunities

Analyst’s Take 

As we look forward to 2014, there is no doubt that 2013 was merely an appetizer for the more exciting main course yet to be served in the health and human services market.

As we begin the year, our team is looking forward to the following events that could impact the health and human services vertical:

  • Continued ACA Implementation; specifically, the success or failure of health insurance exchanges
  • Extension of long-term unemployment benefits, coupled with the upcoming debt ceiling increase battle
  • The 2014 midterm elections, in which 36 states will hold gubernatorial elections. Currently, Republicans hold 29 governor mansions, while Democrats have 21. A shift in political leadership will have a significant impact on many health and human services programs

As we can see, the coming year will have plenty of political drama to keep us all entertained. However, our team continues to look forward to many new innovative projects, in the ilk of the above highlighted, coming out of states. All told, there can be no doubt that 2014 will be a stimulating year for health and human services. 

You can read more about the highlighted projects in the above links. Not a Deltek subscriber? Click here to learn more about Deltek's GovWin IQ service and gain access to a free trial.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ironies abound: Procurement for New York/New Jersey transparency website shrouded in secrecy

Last year I wrote about the New York/New Jersey Port Authority’s request for information for a comprehensive transparency website to provide the public with better insight into Port Authority operations and practices. At the time, the semi-independent organization was facing a tremendous amount of heat from both politicians and the public for its secretive and opaque approach to a myriad of hot-button issues, including toll and fare hikes, public meetings, and bonuses paid to top-level authority officials. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was hammering the organization and threatening to use his veto pen to inflict pain on the Port Authority without major changes to transparency policies. All of this posturing set the stage for the August 2012 RFI and what was supposed to be a new day of open government and transparency. 

Well, it turns out that the whole process may have been an exercise in misdirection by the agency, and my experience following up on the RFI is indicative of how the authority’s definition of “transparency” can be a little different than yours or mine. 

In December 2012, the Port Authority’s 2013 operating budget included funding for the establishment of a new Transparency Office charged with overseeing and managing “the unimpeded flow of agency information to the public.” It also established a new contracts page that did a better job of keeping the public up to date on award and contract information. 

In February 2013, the Board of Commissions officially approved a resolution adopting a new set of key operating principles for all future Port Authority operations. The very first key principle states that “The Port Authority shall proactively communicate, be transparent in its decision making, and set clear expectations upon which to measure the results of its actions.” 

In April 2013, the designated point of contact in the contracting office declined to answer any and all questions related to this RFI, including whether an open procurement had taken place or whether an award had been made. In May 2013, the Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution honoring outgoing Port Authority commissioner James P. Rubin

for, among other things, pushing “various initiatives to build on the agency’s commitment to the highest standards of accountability and transparency to the public and to promote transparent, efficient and ethical corporate governance practices and to adopt measures to adhere to the highest government accountability standards of the states of New York and New Jersey.  

Shortly after that conversation, Deltek filed its first FOIA, requesting all documents related to the establishment of a transparency website. The agency’s FOIA office sent a letter in response on May 10, 2013, informing Deltek that these documents were exempt from disclosure under Clause 2A of the Port Authority’s Freedom of Information Code. Clause 2A of the organization’s code reads that documents can be exempt from FOIA disclosure in cases where "if disclosed, would impair or give a competitive advantage in connection with, present or imminent awards or negotiation of collective bargaining agreements, leases, permits, contracts or other agreements, open procurement matters, contracts not yet awarded, unexecuted leases or permits and portions of scoring or evaluation documents not constituting a part of a final agency action document."

Careful readers of the clause will note it is worded broadly enough to encompass future bids, contract negotiations for released bids, contracts currently under negotiation, and contracts established outside the competitive bidding process. Essentially, the Port Authority doesn’t need to comment on or release documents for procurement at any stage of the procurement process except after it has been awarded. 

Setting aside the obvious irony of an organization doing everything it can to avoid being transparent about the procurement of a website specifically designed to increase transparency, what is most amazing here is that the agency has carved out an exception from FOIA disclosure so large that it can encompass virtually any procurement or contract it handles until the point where it is far too late for vendors who are shut out of the process to do anything about it. 

In the interests of absolute fairness, I called the authority’s procurement office again before sitting down to write this piece in the hopes of gaining some kind of insight into what had happened with this project. This time, the office confirmed that an award had been for the requirements set forth in the RFI, but then categorically declined to provide any information about the award. Instead, the contracts officer claimed that the procurement office was not the “proper channel” for ANY questions regarding award or contract information, and that only the FOIA office was empowered to do so. I’ll repeat that because it bears repeating: The procurement office for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is “not empowered” to discuss procurements or awards made through procurements. 

Of course, it is not just procurement matters where the Port Authority has taken heat for a lack of openness. A quick Google search using the terms “Port Authority of New York and New Jersey” and “transparency” shows that this is more or less how Port Authority officials approach most issues regarding transparency and disclosure, whether the inquiries come from private citizens, businesses and even lawmakers tasked with oversight of the organization. 

Analyst’s Take

So let’s review here. We have an RFI for increased transparency that the purchasing office was instructed not to comment on; an entity that, to this day, operates in a manner so secretive that state political officials charged with oversight cannot get answers on matters that directly affect their constituent; a procurement office that explicitly rejects any claim that it is empowered to discuss procurements or award information, and insists that only the FOIA office can answer award questions; and, finally, a FOIA office that exempts contract and award information from disclosure.

Earlier this week, the chairman of the New Jersey State Assembly Transportation Committee released the following statement regarding his attempts to induce Port Authority officials to release information regarding lane closures in September:

“Despite a budget that exceeds that of more than half of the states in this country, the Port Authority has become an agency that operates with little accountability and no transparency. It has lost sight of what it means to serve the public and I intend to continue my pursuit of the truth about this matter as well as the long list of other issues that have raised questions and concerns about the agency’s operations and management.”

Deltek has re-filed a FOIA for contract and award information for this project since the justifications given under Clause 2A of the Port Authority’s FOI code should theoretically no longer apply, unless the office can make an argument that releasing awarded contract information would in some way impair or give a competitive advantage to vendors. The results of that FOIA request will be published on theTracked Opportunity page that was created to follow the initial RFI. 

In the meantime, vendors should take this information in context when doing future business with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. There is no substitute for being the first in the door with these contracts, as it can give you the ability to shape and restrict others from that business or knowledge. Of course, a far better alternative would be a Port Authority that takes its own statements and objectives regarding transparency seriously. Failing that, unless you are the selected vendor, chances are you will be more or less in the dark before, during and after the procurement process takes place. 

 

Deltek pulse: Justice/public safety and homeland security November review

The most common terms appearing in justice/public safety and homeland security solicitations during November were camera/surveillance, fire alarm and radio. The below word cloud provides a visual interpretation of key-term frequency.

  • Number of public safety bids: 1,383
  • Top three states (by number of solicitations released): California (130), Pennsylvania (118) and Texas (81)
  • Keywords: camera/surveillance, fire alarm and radio

Frequency of terms

  • Surveillance: 32 (seven state; 25 local)
  • Radio: 15 (four state; 11 local)
  • 911: 6 (three state; three local)

Number of opportunities by location 

  • State: 573
  • County: 387
  • City: 305
  • University: 22
  • Other: 96

Trends

  • Public safety software suites continued to trend in November with several localities releasing solicitations for these technology systems, including Forsyth County, Ga., and College Station, Texas
  • A lack of funding continues to hamper projects across agencies and technological requirements. Unfortunately, many localities do not believe the situation will improve much in the next year
  • Radio projects continue to move forward in many locations with solicitations planned for release in 2014. The majority of these projects will be P25-compliant

Notable projects

Analyst’s Take

November saw a sharp rise in the number of solicitations released compared to October.  In total, 306 more justice and public safety solicitations were released. Despite the holiday, many of these solicitations were released toward the end of the month; however, many of them also have longer-than-usual timeframes for response, with many proposals not due until well into January. This trend occurred across all JPS procurements, particularly for radio-based technologies.

Many localities and states that were among the first wave to upgrade their radio systems when the narrowbanding requirement was released nearly 10 years ago are now in need of system and equipment upgrades. This has led to solicitations being released for system and equipment upgrades – a trend that is likely to continue in 2014.

November also saw an increase in solicitations for systems used by correctional facilities. This is indicative of a larger trend that shows corrections departments increasing their reliance on technology and moving forward with technology projects such as electronic monitoring, inmate phone systems and larger jail/case management systems.

Vendors should keep in mind that, in many cases, it is no longer sufficient to simply fulfill police departments’ technological needs. It is also essential to provide fully integrated solutions capable of tracking the full chain of custody from arrest through sentencing and incarceration. Vendors who are not in a position to provide fully-integrated solutions should begin building teaming relationships with other vendors to ensure their proposals are as strong as possible.

Deltek Pulse: Health and Human Services November in Review

November brought continued scrutiny on the federal health insurance exchange implemented by CGI. The rollout of the online portals has been rather rocky for many states that gave facilitation to the feds. During the first month’s launch, only 106,000 Americans were able to successfully enroll in health insurance plans utilizing the federal exchange. This awfully low number is forcing the Obama administration to lower its original goal of 800,000 enrollees in the first two months.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) along with CGI and other IT vendors used November to make extensive fixes to the system in hopes of a more streamlined, less frustrating experience for users by December 1. So far, enrollment has been notably better than October, and more changes to the portal will undoubtedly be made in the months to come.

Opportunity Overview

In November, the health and human services team saw the release of more than 1,000 solicitations with either health care or social services as a primary vertical. The word cloud below represents the frequency of terms in those solicitations. 

As you can see below, California, Texas, New York and Pennsylvania are among the states with the highest number of health and human services-related solicitations, while Wyoming, Indiana, and Arkansas had little to none.

Notable Opportunities

Kentucky canceled its request for proposals (RFP) to procure a Medicaid enterprise management system (MEMS) and fiscal agent, but plans to re-release the RFP in the future. The current contract with HP Enterprises is set to expire in November 2014.

Vermont awarded a contract for its Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) management information system (MIS), electronic benefit transfer (EBT) project to Ciber, Inc. The contract is valued at $2.5 million.

Connecticut awarded 21st Century Technologies Inc. for fraud detection and prevention services. The contract has a 26-month base and is set to expire in November 2016.

California released a request for information (RFI) for health care price transparency services. The state will be utilizing funding under the “Grants to States to Support Health Insurance Rate Review and Increase Transparency in Health Care Pricing, Cycle III” to secure services that will collect and analyze health care cost and quality information.

Colorado released an RFI for recovery audit contractor medical services. RFI responses are due on December 6, 2013. The selected contractor will analyze and review Medicaid and Colorado Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) claims, and provide post-payment review services to help identify fraud, waste and abuse.

Analyst’s Take

Despite the holidays, November and December are typically filled with a significant amount of activity in the state and local government contracting arena. Most states’ top priority is to get their health insurance marketplaces running successfully, especially since the final day of open enrollment (March 31, 2014) is not too far away. This will certainly be the case for the feds as well. 

In the coming months, vendors can expect to see more requests for information and services relating to not only fixes or enhancements to insurance exchange systems, but also for upgrading or implementing existing health-related IT systems that must interface with state-based or federal portals. For that, contractors should continue to pay attention to enrollment numbers across the states, in addition to issues arising with the exchange launch. Showcasing desirable solutions for states to adopt will be critical in securing business.

Deltek's Health Care and Social Services Team will be releasing a report in January to provide an update on statewide implementation efforts for exchanges. In the meantime, be sure to check out Deltek’s Health Insurance Exchange Vertical Profile Application to learn more about the ACA's initiative. Not a Deltek subscriber? Click here to learn more about Deltek's GovWin IQ service and gain access to a free trial.  

 

Deltek Pulse: Health and Human Services, October Review

Anyone involved with the health care industry, or even mildly interested in it, knows what occurred in October: The launch, and arguable failure, of healthcare.gov. Though the federal exchange website has been on the front of everyone’s mind, the states saw a range of implementations with individual health insurance exchanges (HIXs). Some launched with success, others with small glitches, and others are still struggling to get a system up and running for citizens. Deltek blogged about the luck CGI had in state HIXs in late October. While the federal government states that the healthcare.gov website should be fixed by the end of November, it will take time to see if the technological failures of the exchange launch will overshadow possible success in the reduction of millions of people in the United States living without health insurance.

 

Opportunity Overview

 

On the procurement side, October saw more than 700 solicitations released across the United States. The word cloud below represents the frequency of terms in those solicitations.

 

 

 

As one can see from the below map, New York, California, and Texas (respectively) saw the largest number of health and human services-related solicitations, while Wyoming had no related activity in October.

 

 

 

Notable Opportunities

 

·         The North Dakota Department of Human Services released a request for proposals (RFP) for a Medicaid call center on October 23, 2013. This will help cover the 20,000 individuals that will now be eligibile for the Medicaid program.

·         The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services released an RFP for the transfer of the Mountain Plains State Consortium (MPSC) Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) management information system (MIS). Proposals are due in December.

·         The Alabama Medicaid Agency was busy in October, releasing RFPs for both an advanced fraud detection and case management system, and its fiscal agent service RFP for its Medicaid enterprise solution.

Analyst Take

 

While the Obamacare launch will surely continue to dominate headlines until the website is fixed, the actual success of reducing the number of uninsured Americans lies in both state and federal exchange data. Many states have reported large traffic volume on exchange websites, with several user accounts created and insurance plans purchased. Time will also be needed to tell if more insured Americans will lead to decreased health care costs. Look for an upcoming report by Deltek on all-payer claims databases (APCDs) and an update to our health insurance exchange (HIX) report.

 

Not a Deltek subscriber? Click here to learn more about Deltek's GovWin IQ service and gain access to a free trial.

Deltek pulse: Justice/public safety and homeland security October review

The most common terms appearing in justice/public safety and homeland security solicitations during October were fire alarm, camera/surveillance and radio. The below word cloud provides a visual interpretation of key-term frequency.

  • Number of public safety bids: 1,077
  • Top three states (by number of solicitations released): California (118), Virginia (79) and Texas (63)
  • Keywords: fire alarm, camera/surveillance and radio

Frequency of terms:

  • Surveillance: 31 (five state; 26 local)
  • Radio: 12 (three state; nine local)
  • 911 : 4 (one state; three local) 

The below graph provides information on the break-down of the entities purchasing justice and public safety technologies.

Trends

  • October was a slow month compared to the fervor of September, with far fewer projects released for state and local entities across all regions of the country, and the majority of RFPs released came out toward the end of the month
  • Numerous projects released in September closed throughout October and are now under review to determine the most suitable vendor(s)
  • Several local governments confirmed large radio and 911 projects are moving forward with solicitations planned in the near future

Notable projects

  • Los Angeles, Calif., released a request for proposals (RFP) for a CAD-to-CAD consultant to draft an RFP for vendors to construct and implement a system for connecting four separate fire departments’ CAD systems
  • Massachusetts released an RFP for next generation 911 products and services to hire a contractor to design, install, operate, monitor and maintain a turnkey NG911 system throughout the commonwealth
  • Travis County, Texas, released a solicitation for an electronic monitoring system with the ability to determine a person’s specific location as well as verify their compliance with any curfew restrictions
  • Maine is currently working on its court case management system project and intends to spend the next year securing funding and developing project specifications

Analyst’s Take

The number of canceled opportunities sharply increased in October, though the reasons and ways in which the projects were canceled varied significantly. Numerous entities simply chose to cancel projects due to budgetary constraints or priority shifts. Lafayette, La., canceled its next generation 911 system for these reasons; while South Carolina canceled its long-planned incident-based reporting system (SCIBRS) website project, as it no longer requires these services. Further entities chose to sole source projects, such as Effingham County, Ill., which determined that only its existing vendor, Motorola, could provide a suitable replacement for its aging radio system. 

 The cancelation of so many projects, particularly ones that had been in the planning stages for several years, indicates that many purchasing offices are working to clean up their files and prioritize for the rest of the year. Given the large number of projects that have begun moving forward in recent months, it is not surprising that many entities found projects they are no longer interested in pursuing during this review. 

 

 

Sebelius testifies on federal health insurance exchange ‘debacle’

In a much-anticipated Capitol Hill hearing on Wednesday, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on the failures of the federal health insurance exchange website.
 
The hearing, which veered far from the infrastructure of the website to the larger structural failures of the Affordable Care Act, took on a predictable tenor with incredulous Republicans grilling the defensive former governor of Kansas, as her fellow Democrats on the committee took a more conciliatory tone. For anyone who has been following the Obamacare saga, the secretary’s testimony offered limited new information. Here is a synopsis of what we learned at yesterday’s hearing:
  • The buck stops with Sebelius, as she advised both Congress and the American public to hold her responsible.
  • The secretary found the entire website experience a “miserably frustrating … debacle,” for which she apologized to the populace while advising them that no delay in enrollment is necessary as the website is fixable.
  • Sebelius believes that when it is judged “by any fair measure,” the Affordable Care Act is working.
  •  Privacy and security concerns are legitimate and are being addressed by the fix currently underway for the website. 
  • HHS spent $118 million on the contracts to develop the Healthcare.gov website, with another $56 million in IT spending to support the website.
  • HHS has a total obligated contract in the amount of $197 million with CGI through March 2014.
Aside from those above, one more revelation seemed to expose the root of the website’s problem. The secretary reported that QSSI was brought in as the systems integrator after the website launched. Sebelius reported that the company had done excellent work with the Federal Data Hub and she believed it would repeat that performance in fixing the structural problems plaguing the system. This begged the question: Who was the system integrator in charge of the project during the run-up to the exchange launch?
 
Sebelius revealed, after intense questioning from a Republican congresswoman, that a team from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) operated as the system integrator at the time of launch. The team, headed by CMS Chief Operating Officer Michelle Snyder, was quite obviously deficient in this role and was rightfully replaced by a proven contractor.
 
Analyst’s Take
 
Politics runs rampant in any discussion of the Affordable Care Act. As one of the most sweeping and contentious pieces of legislation in modern history, this comes as no shock. In the nearly five years since insurance reform became a topic of conversation, not a single elected Republican on the national level has expressed support for the ACA. Some provisions have gained Republican approval in the states, but the thrust of one-half of the political system has clearly been to scrap the law and start over.
 
Enter October 1, 2013. The website launch was a bust. Millions of individuals with insurance on the individual market realized, as the Fact Checker Column in the Washington Post points out, that they could not in fact keep their plans. With that as the backdrop, it is no wonder that many lawmakers are out for blood. Still, through all this noise emerge concrete lessons for governments and vendors alike.
  • The alignment of system implementation deadlines around a political calendar often hinders success. Since the passage of the law, the vendor community knew the deadline for exchange implementation on the state and federal level was unrealistic. Yet, absent a more plausible explanation, it seems politics dictated a steadfast deadline of October 1, 2013, for the exchanges to be operational. 
  • The micromanagement of the website launch by the CMS team, ostensibly unqualified for such an involved task, was a poor move with such tight deadlines. Though needing more time for an excellent product delivery, the private sector could have grudgingly met the stringent deadline with, at the very minimum, a functioning website. 
  • The criticism of the cost of the contracts to implement the website has gained traction only because it doesn’t work. Had the website worked on day one, those who criticize the amount paid to vendors for the build would have been neutered by the success of a signature feature of the ACA. The large amount of taxpayer dollars required to build such a complex infrastructure is understandable only if the infrastructure is a success. Absent that success, greater spending scrutiny occurs from politicians and journalists to accentuate tales of failure. 
Finally, it is clear the website will be fixed, eventually. The question becomes: To what end does all this bad press prevent the overall success of the ACA? From the perspective of state government, it seems clear that this debacle is not going far to convince the reticent majority of governors who rejected a state-run exchange. As time goes on, we will see if those leaders will use the federal experience as a warning shot of the perils inherent in implementing a flawed system, or as inspiration for how not to proceed as they take up the exchange mantle.

 

Deltek Pulse: Health and Human Services September in Review

The month of September could accurately be classified as the calm before the storm that has engulfed our nation. With a government shutdown, debt ceiling extension and the launch of health insurance exchanges upon us, September seems rather uneventful in hindsight – not so for Deltek’s Health and Human Services Team. 
 
September saw Deltek analysts attend some of the biggest industry events of the year. Senior Analyst Kate Tussey traveled to South Carolina for the annual Medicaid Enterprise Systems Conference (MESC). This much-lauded event carried a simple, yet poignant theme: “Enabling Healthcare Innovation.” Indeed, Tussey saw many tangible, innovative examples of current projects that were only pipe dreams at past events. For the full rundown of this year’s conference and excellent analyst insight, check out our Analyst Recap.
 
Another of Deltek’s analysts, Aila Altman, headed south in September for the National Women, Infants and Children Association (NWA) WIC Technology Program Integrity Conference. At this biennial event, Aila Altman experienced rich content from across the states, linked by the theme, “Empowering Minds for a Better Future.” The focus was on implementing WIC electronic benefits transfer (EBT) systems, enhancing management information systems (MIS) and many other innovative and beneficial topics. For the full rundown of the WIC conference, check out the Analyst Recap.
 
Opportunity Overview
 
In September, the health and human services team saw the release of nearly 700 solicitations with either health care or social services as a primary vertical. The word cloud below represents the frequency of terms in those solicitations.

As one can see from the below map; Pennsylvania, Virginia, Texas and California saw the largest number of health and human services-related solicitations, while Wyoming, North Dakota and Tennessee had no related activity. 
 
Notable Opportunities
  • Wisconsin released an RFP for an online WIC EBT system. Proposals are due by December 3, 2013.
  • Alabama released an RFP for a state disbursement unit (SDU) for the state’s child support program. Proposals are due by November 14, 2013.
  • Iowa released an RFP for the state’s Medicaid Enterprise System Services, the state’s Medicaid management information system (MMIS). Proposals are due by November 27, 2013.
Analyst Take
 
On the federal level, September did indeed prove to be the calm before the storm; however, in the state and local health and human services space, it saw the release of many important solicitations and the gathering of many key policymakers and vendors at prominent industry events. As we look forward to the months ahead, it is clear that the limited time afforded to state governments to create the infrastructure necessary for health insurance exchanges has had an unfortunate impact on the launch of a central component of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The tight deadlines prescribed in the ACA have been decried as too limiting by states and vendors alike for the past couple of years, and it seems their fears and prognostications have been proven accurate. The questions for policymakers and the market alike: Will the rocky start play into a larger public perception of the complex law? Will it create or enhance the political will necessary to delay key portions of the law, or prevent more states from establishing their own exchanges?
Deltek's Health Care and Social Services Team will release a report later this year to provide an update on statewide implementation efforts for exchanges. For now, be sure to check out Deltek’s Health Insurance Exchange Vertical Profile Application to learn more about the ACA's initiative. Not a Deltek subscriber? Click here to learn more about Deltek's GovWin IQ service and gain access to a free trial.

Deltek pulse: Justice/public safety and homeland security September review

The most common terms appearing in justice/public safety and homeland security solicitations during September were fire alarm, camera/surveillance and radio. The below word cloud provides a visual interpretation of key-term frequency.

  • Number of public safety bids: 1,130
  • Top three states (by number of solicitations released): California (136), Texas (63), New York (61)
  • Keywords: fire alarm, camera/surveillance and radio

Frequency of terms:

  • Surveillance: 22 (six state; 16 local)
  • Radio: 14 (three state; 11 local)

Trends       

  • Entities have begun to focus on more all-encompassing projects in the JPS sphere, such as projects for public safety software systems including computer-aided dispatch (CAD), records management systems (RMS), jail management systems, and other technologies in a single suite
  • September saw a trend of canceled opportunities, many of which entities decided could be completed in house without the need to hire a vendor or go out to bid
  • Several solicitations were released for CAD/RMS projects in larger cities

Notable projects

  • The Washington Department of Enterprise Services released a request for information on behalf of the Western States Contracting Alliance (WSCA) for public safety communications equipment. The below map indicates the states that participate in the current contract

  • Vermont’s Department of Building and General Services released an RFP for a statewide automatic vehicle location system to be used by the Vermont Department of Public Safety
  • The Nevada Department of Administration awarded the fire protection services project it was handling on behalf of WSCA. The contract was awarded to five vendors and will run for four years with a two-year renewal option

Analyst’s Take

While September fell in line with August with regard to the number of solicitations released, many entities seem poised to release solicitations throughout the fall season. Solicitations placed on hold are beginning to move forward with release dates scheduled in the coming months. This does not necessarily mean these solicitations will actually be released in autumn; however, it shows that many localities are making an effort to push projects through before year’s end. While these efforts are often delayed due to the length of time it can take to finalize a solicitation and get it approved, it is a good sign for vendors that many projects now have tentative timelines.

 

NWA’s WIC Technology Conference wraps up

The biannual WIC Technology and Program Integrity Conference wrapped up last week and among sessions on the latest WIC vendor management studies, the future of state agency models (SAMs), and the development of the National UPC (NUPC) database, was an insightful session on Oregon’s RFP development process for its WIC EBT system.

Sarah Rosenberg, operations manager for the Oregon WIC Program, emphasized the value of using a quality control vendor to assist in the WIC EBT RFP development process. MAXIMUS provided the Oregon WIC office with guidance on what was feasible and reasonable to include in the RFP and helped create a solid statement of work (SOW). In reference to the SOW, Rosenberg advised states to “get it right the first time” and said it was a huge learning experience to have MAXIMUS working side by side. State officials quickly realized they did not know or understand nearly as much as they thought.

Oregon ultimately awarded a $10 million, five-year contract to JP Morgan Chase, which includes one, five-year renewal option. The session also provided an overview of FNS’ upcoming model RFP document for WIC EBT, presented by two Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) regional officers.

A general session led by the FNS Office of Policy Support highlighted the soon-to-be-released WIC Vendor Management Study and revealed the WIC program has a high level of integrity and a very low improper payment rate. The study is conducted every five years and will be available on the FNS website.

If you are looking for a comprehensive, in-depth recap of the WIC Technology and Program Integrity Conference, please stay tuned! Deltek will post one here in the very near future.

 

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