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Deltek Pulse: Health and human services month in review, April 2015

In April 2015, Deltek saw a slight decrease in the number of health care and social services solicitations compared to March

Notable RFP releases

In legislative news, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on April 14 to permanently extend 90/10 funding and update the Medicaid Management Information System (MMIS) Standards and Conditions, including a new modular certification process for MMIS components. For an analysis of how this proposed regulation will impact vendors, please click here to access the GovWin IQ blog.

You can learn more about current procurement opportunities in the GovWin IQ State and Local Opportunities database. Not a Deltek subscriber? Click here to learn more about Deltek's GovWin IQ service and gain access to a free trial.

 

90/10 funding made permanent: CMS updating Medicaid procurement standards

In October 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that 90/10 enhanced federal funding would be permanently available for states making upgrades to their Medicaid eligibility and enrollment systems. This funding encourages states to retire defunct Medicaid systems, modify existing eligibility and enrollment (E&E) systems, and integrate Medicaid systems with other human services systems.

On April 14, 2015, CMS issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to codify the 90/10 permanent extension and proposed changes to the Medicaid Management Information System (MMIS) standards and conditions, including a new modular certification process for MMIS. The agency is also soliciting feedback on how to encourage the sharing of Medicaid software and reduce duplicative costs. Public comments are due June 15, 2015.

Key takeaways

1) CMS getting more involved in Medicaid procurement process - CMS is proposing a new contract review process and will help states develop acquisition roadmaps for future procurement. States will look for solutions that already comply with the Seven Standards and Conditions issued by CMS.

2) CMS proposing modular approach to certification - CMS recognizes that most monolithic contracts go over budget and over schedule when states get locked into one vendor, such as those in Maryland, Montana, Nebraska and North Carolina. The agency is offering to certify MMIS systems on a modular basis. We can see many states are already following this approach, such as Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina.

3) Preference for shared software and COTS solutions - CMS is trying to encourage states to adopt commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions to save money and reduce duplicative implementation efforts. The NPRM proposes a 90 percent matching rate for COTS software, and vendors including HP, Molina, EngagePoint and Accenture are increasingly offering COTS solutions that are flexible and adaptable for states. 

Analyst’s Take

While making 90/10 funding permanent, CMS is also using this opportunity to update certification procedures to keep pace with the MMIS modular procurement strategy most states are adopting. In 2015, Deltek is expecting MMIS rebids in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Vendors will have a leg up on the competition if their solutions are in line with CMS standards for COTS products and align with the desire to use modular components and incremental delivery strategies. The benefits are greater with these approaches by reducing risks and lowering costs of complete replacements. Still, as strategy moves away from single fiscal agent contracts and big-bang implementations, states have challenges managing multi-procurements and relationships with several vendors. For more information on Medicaid procurements across the country, please see the GovWin MMIS Vertical Page.

 

First quarter indicates strong year ahead for AEC market

The first quarter of 2015 was quite busy for the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) sector, with approximately 19,500 solicitations released. The number of bids grew steadily throughout the quarter, with 5,725 issued in January, 6,139 in February, and 7,636 in March. This growth indicates that governments will continue to increase their procurements as the warmer months roll in.

Nearly 30 percent of the solicitations released in Q1 had a general government requirement, while 28 percent had a transportation requirement. Education was a close third at 21 percent. Not surprisingly, most bids were released out of transportation departments, even beating out purchasing and procurement departments, which came in second in the number of bid issuances.

According to the bids captured in the GovWin IQ database, the top five states with the most solicitations released were Texas, California, Virginia, New York, and Ohio. Bids coming out of these five states accounted for just more than 32 percent of total bids released in Q1, and would be excellent locations for AEC vendors looking to expand to new markets.

On a more local note, the top five cities and counties releasing bids in Q1 were New York City (NY), Los Angeles County (CA), the city of Columbus (OH), the city and county of San Francisco (CA), and the city and county of Honolulu (HI).

The rising number of solicitations released in Q1 is a strong indicator that the AEC sector is in recovery mode after the 2007 recession and that not only states, but local governments, which often lag in the recovery process, are finally at a point where they feel comfortable spending again. Vendors should expect the number of AEC solicitations released to be on par with Q1 for the remainder of 2015. For additional details about what state governors have in store for AEC, take a look at Deltek’s state infrastructure priorities blog.

You can learn more about current procurement opportunities in the GovWin IQ State and Local Opportunities database. 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 month in review, March 2015

In March, Deltek saw the release of 1,831 solicitations from the health and human services vertical – a 31 percent increase from February.

Notable RFP releases

  • The Alabama Department of Human Resources released a request for proposals (RFP) for electronic benefits and funds transfer (EBT/EFT) services on March 5. The incumbent contract with Xerox is set to expire in June 2017. Proposals are due on June 25, 2015.
  • The Pennsylvania Department of Health released an RFP for WIC EBT implementation and claims processing services on March 13. Proposals are due on June 11.
  • The National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA), with its subsidiary Information Technology Support Center (ITSC), released an RFP for independent verification and validation (IV&V) services for the Mississippi, Rhode Island and Maine (MRM) Consortium for the joint UI modernization project on March 23. TCS was selected as the prime developer for the modernization project and is currently refactoring MDES UI system’s architecture to accommodate the implementation of a largely common set of functionalities among the MRM states. Proposals are due on May 1.
  • On March 25, the Virginia Department of Treasury released an RFP for electronic payment card services. Current users of electronic payment services include the Department of Accounts (DOA) for payroll, the Department of Social Services (DSS) for child support and TANF benefits, the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) for unemployment benefits, and the Department of Taxation (TAX). Proposals are due on April 27.

You can learn more about current procurement opportunities in the GovWin IQ State and Local Opportunities database. Not a Deltek subscriber? Click here to learn more about Deltek's GovWin IQ service and gain access to a free trial.

 

 

 

The pains of prolonged procurements

Every state and local government agency is distinct, with its own rules related to procurement. Some have strict guidelines for vendors submitting a proposal, while others require state registration prior to even bidding. Regardless of the rules, one commonality routinely causes problems: drawn out procurement processes.

What constitutes a long procurement process? It depends on who you ask and also the technology being purchased. A simple request for quotes (RFQ) for 100 radios likely constitutes a straightforward procurement, while a customized jail management system for a statewide agency is more complex. For example, Connecticut issued a request for proposals (RFP) in September 2009 for an offender management system that still hasn’t been awarded. Details on the contract delay are sparse.

While the Connecticut procurement may be an outlier, it is not uncommon for bidding processes to take several months for multimillion dollar projects, which then lead to even longer timelines to award and negotiate a contract. Understandably, agencies want to ensure they select the best possible product for the best possible price, but at some point, this can be a detriment to both the vendor and the agency.

How the vendor loses

  • Anticipated revenue following a win takes a hit during lengthy contract negotiations
  • Hefty legal costs associated with negotiations
  • Travel and other expenses related to contract meetings

How the agency loses

  • Costly man hours spent reviewing bids and negotiating contract terms
  • Technology advancements made during procurement timelines often result in negotiating a solution that could be antiquated
  • Agency budgets, needs and wants can change drastically over the course of a long procurement

No single solution

Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet for long contracting and procurement processes. Agencies must be fully aware of what is required when reviewing a large, complex bid. They must also ensure budgets are secured prior to bidding to avoid dragging out awards due to limited funds. Vendors, on the other hand, must be patient and understand agencies may require more time for costly technology. Well-established timelines, budgets and game plans on both parts are required to achieve a swift and seamless procurement. 

 

Deltek Pulse: Health and human services month in review, February 2015

In February 2015, Deltek saw the release of nearly 1,400 solicitations from the health and human services vertical, on par with the 1,340 solicitations released in January.

Notable RFP releases:

  • The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation (DLLR) released an RFP for the Vermont, Maryland and West Virginia (VMW) consortium's unemployment insurance (UI) information technology modernization projectThe new system will consist of core UI benefit, tax, and appeals software common to all VMW states, while allowing each state to continue to address their own specific goals. Proposals are due by March 26. 
  • The Louisiana Division of Administration Office of Technology Services issued an RFP for the Medicaid enrollment and eligibility system. The Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) is seeking to implement an automated solution that will support Medicaid eligibility and enrollment processes using modern and lasting technologies. Proposals are due by April 3.
  • The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) released an RFP for HIE/HIT technology consultancy services to support OHA’s efforts to plan, define, develop, implement, and operate a state-level health information technology/health information exchange (HIT/HIE) infrastructure. Proposals are due by March 16.
  • The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services released an RFP for Medicaid redesign and expansion technical assistance services. DHSS is interested in developing a larger strategy for meaningful Medicaid reform that will improve care and health outcomes for eligible Alaskans, streamline requirements of providers, and create a financially sustainable service delivery system.

You can learn more about current procurement opportunities in the GovWin IQ State and Local Opportunities database. Not a Deltek subscriber? Click here to learn more about Deltek's GovWin IQ service and gain access to a free trial.

 

Solicitation breakdown: Better understanding means better business

Vendors are often confused by the various terms used for solicitations, which isn’t surprising since they often differ per state or locality. However, an important first step in responding to solicitations is to understand the difference between them. Whether a request for proposals (RFP), a request for qualifications (RFQ), an invitation to bid (ITB), or one of the many others, each type of solicitation indicates a different level of engagement by the vendor and expectation by the issuing government. Here’s a rundown of key solicitation types and their subtle differences.

Request for Information

A request for information (RFI) is an inquiry made by a government entity to the vendor community in order to gather information and better understand a product or capability. An RFI is typically released when the government is unsure of which path to pursue and seeks input from vendors about the business environment, best practices, and current solutions. An RFI is often followed by a formal solicitation, but rarely results in a direct contract award.

Request for Expression of Interest

Similar to an RFI, a request for expression of interest (RFEI) is an optional stage that is carried out before a formal solicitation is released. It may be issued in place of an RFI or after an RFI to gauge vendor interest on a potential solicitation. An RFEI can also be used to gather information about a project and possible solutions, similar to an RFI. In some cases, governments may use an RFEI to short-list vendors for a subsequent solicitation. As a result, it is important to clarify with the government what the purpose of the RFEI is to avoid being excluded from participating in the future procurement process.

Request for Proposals

A request for proposals (RFP) typically occurs when a government needs to implement a service or solution, but is unsure of the best way to do so. Through the RFP process, vendors propose their recommended solution and pricing through a detailed proposal. With RFPs, price is not the only consideration for awarding a contract; the government also considers a vendor’s solution, qualifications, previous experience, and any other distinguishing skills. It is important for proposals to be thorough and well defined, as the RFP process allows vendors to set themselves apart from their competition. Negotiations with selected vendors often take place after the proposal deadline, and a contract is ultimately awarded. Governments may also call these types of solicitations requests for offers (RFO) or requests for responses (RFR), but RFPs, RFOs, and RFRs all have the same basic format and are used to meet a business need an entity has.

Invitation to Bid/Invitation for Bid/Request for Bids

Invitations to bid (ITBs), invitations for bids (IFBs), and requests for bids (RFBs) are released when a government entity knows exactly what it wants to procure. This can also be called a request for quotations (RFQ). All of these solicitations include specifications of the government’s desired service or solution – including type and quantity – and an award is typically made based on price. As a result, no discussions or negotiations take place with ITB, IFB, or RFBs; therefore, the procurement cycle from solicitation to contract award is typically much shorter than with RFPs.

Request for Qualifications

Requests for qualifications (RFQ) are often carried out as a pre-qualification process in order to identify qualified vendors for a subsequent solicitation. These pre-qualified vendors are placed on a shortlist that the government then uses for future projects. The government sometimes uses these lists for multiple projects and will reopen the RFQ list to new vendors over a period of several years.

In some cases, governments issue draft versions of solicitations prior to releasing the final solicitation. This is done in order to obtain feedback from the vendor community on requirements, technical components, and scope of the solicitation. It is important for vendors to participate in this stage of the process in order to begin building relationships with the government’s project and the procurement staff, which can be beneficial when the formal solicitation is released and the vendor selection process begins.

You can learn more about current procurement opportunities in the GovWin IQ State and Local Opportunities database. Not a Deltek subscriber? Click here to learn more about Deltek's GovWin IQ service and gain access to a free trial.

 

Spotlight cast on child care in wake of block grant reauthorization

Congress brought new life to the federal child care subsidy program when it reauthorized the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) late last year. States rely on CCDBG funding to help low-income families afford child care and improve statewide child care operations. On top of this long-awaited reauthorization, President Obama highlighted child care in his 2015 State of the Union address, calling for an increased child care tax credit and investments in the Child Care and Development Fund.

The CCDBG reauthorization has refocused national attention on child care and will prompt states to review their child care programs and invest in new technologies as well as quality improvement strategies to meet new requirements. This storm of activity will surely create new business opportunities for IT vendors.

Where will states invest?

1) Quality improvement - The CCDBG reauthorization calls for an increased investment in quality improvement and adherence to new health and safety requirements. States will be looking for vendors to provide child care licensing and other credentialing services, quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS), as well as provider training and education services. In 2014, Colorado awarded a contract to Berry, Dunn, McNeil and Parker for a next generation quality rating improvement system (Opp ID 79106) to improve the quality rating system and expand the availability and affordability of the QRIS. Other states may also seek to improve their systems in the coming year.

2) Improve core processes - States may seek more integrated technologies to improve intake, payment processing, case management, and time and attendance tracking in order to achieve operational efficiencies. For example, Virginia released an RFI in August 2014 for child care business application solutions, including an attendance tracking system that could interface with existing systems and banking networks, and create a provider Web portal (Opp ID 117252). Expect states to issue similar RFIs exploring how to best improve their child care administration processes.  

3) Coordination with other social services programs - The law requires child care providers to coordinate with early education and care programs. States may pursue efforts to exchange data and share information with programs like TANF, Head Start, and SNAP in order to aggregate data and improve child health and wellness programs. One such effort is being planned in Iowa, where the Early Childhood Office is pursuing an early childhood data system to house information about the operation, participation and outcomes of Iowa’s early childhood system, which includes early learning, family support, health/nutrition/mental health and early intervention for children with special needs (Opp ID 89854).

4) Increased consumer education and assistance - States will be required to provide electronic child care resources where parents can view provider inspection results, the number of injuries/deaths at each facility, licensing and monitoring requirements, and detailed information about the background check process. States may look for child care resource and referral systems to help match resources with individual family needs. In July 2014, Arizona awarded a contract for child care resource and referral services to the Association for Supportive Child Care (Opp ID 118194). 

Analyst’s Take

Quality improvement, business processes, integration and consumer assistance are just some of the areas states will target for investment over the next few years. State applications and plans are due to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in June 2015. States may solicit vendors to assist with the planning process and conduct needs assessments. States are not expected to comply with new regulations until FY 2016, but vendors can get a head start in preparing how to market their solutions to states. Vendors who can demonstrate solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing technologies and improve program efficiencies will be attractive to state governments.

 

Deltek Pulse: Health and human services month in review, January 2015

Deltek saw the release of 1,340 solicitations from the health care and human services vertical in January – a 13 percent increase from December.

Notable RFP releases in January include:

  • The commonwealth of Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), Department for Medicaid Services (DMS), has a requirement for a vendor to provide a configurable Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution for the Kentucky MEMS claims processing and fiscal agent (FA) services, as well as a custom-built encounter processing solution and a decision-support system/data warehouse (DSS/DW) solution. Proposals are due April 6.
  • The Arkansas Department of Human Services released an RFP for information systems support. The incumbent contract with Northrop Grumman expires on June 30, 2015, and the department is seeking maintenance, support and modifications of its various mainframe and client-server computer applications, as well as maintenance, support and development of new Web-based applications. Proposals are due on April 21.
  • The Mississippi Division of Medicaid has a requirement for independent verification and validation Services (IV&V) for the eligibility modernization project to replace current legacy systems – the Medicaid eligibility determination system (MEDS) and Medicaid eligibility determination system expansion (MEDSX) systems. Proposals are due February 27.
  • The Texas HHSC Office of Social Services (OSS) Division would like to procure services to implement HHSC-established business process redesign (BPR) principles and procedures currently operating in a select number of HHSC pilot offices to all remaining offices, statewide. Proposals are due February 23. 

You can learn more about current procurement opportunities in the GovWin IQ State and Local Opportunities database. 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 month in review, December 2014

In December 2014, Deltek saw the release of 1,181 solicitations from the health and human services vertical – a 5 percent decrease from November.

Notable request for proposals (RFP) releases in December November include:

You can learn more about current procurement opportunities in the GovWin IQ State and Local Opportunities database. Not a Deltek subscriber? Click here to learn more about Deltek's GovWin IQ service and gain access to a free trial.

 

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