R – VECTOR (Veteran Enterprise Contracting for Transformation and Operational Readiness)

  |  December 23, 2016

Peter Adam

$25B with many awards makes VECTOR by far the most promising SDVOSB program of the year.  For SDVOSBs with visions of VA system management contract sugar plums dancing in their heads, Christmas came early this year.

On Dec. 19, the VA issued a draft RFP for its $25 Billion — yes, BILLION — Professional Services IDIQ, R – VECTOR (Veteran Enterprise Contracting for Transformation and Operational Readiness) contract. Now, contractors who plan to make it to this bid’s winner’s circle can start preparing submissions in earnest. Finishing ahead of the pack could mean a lot of work in the years ahead.

R- VECTOR is a 5-year base, 1 x 5-year option, FFP, VA Department-wide behemoth that covers a broad range of general management and business support services and solutions. Despite the big top-line number, the minimum dollar guarantee for the single awardee is a far more modest $20k. Bidders have to meet a $15 million size standard. And the VA will employ a multi-tier evaluation process using trade-off, best value criteria for choosing an anticipated ten awardees for each of the following six contract service areas:

Management, Oversight and Improvement

• Program and Project Management
• Strategic Planning
• Performance Measurement
• Business Process Reengineering
• Change Management and Transition
• Quality Measurement
• Data Governance

Analyses

• Studies/Surveys
• Statistical and Actuarial Analysis
• Management Analysis
• Records Information Management
• Financial and Business Performance Auditing

Training

• Training Development
• Training Delivery

Outreach

• Advertising and Media Buying Services
• Public Relations Services/Outreach
• Conference, Events, and Tradeshow Planning Services
• Promotional Materials, Video/Film Production and Graphics Design

Supply Chain

• Supply Chain Analysis and Management
• Supply Chain Planning and Optimization
• Inventory Management and Operation

Human Resources and Staffing

• Performance Development Planning
• Human Resources Operations
• Manpower Surveys
• Collective Bargaining Analysis and Assessments

The VA is requiring each contractor to recertify their SB status annually – and also to submit proposals for at least 50% of the TOPRs for which they are eligible. If they don’t, they’ll be “off-ramped” and someone else “on ramped”.

Additionally, this is a one-to-a-customer bid. Contractors may bid on as many, or few, service areas as they want. But for each area, bidders must limit themselves to inclusion in one and one bid only, as prime or sub; no – repeat: no multiple submissions. All JVs must, of course, be VetBiz verified.

And the VA has been kind enough to provide formatted templates for the purpose of streamlining the proposal and evaluation process. So……Do Not Alter Them!

Bidders beware. No easily-assembled-in-minutes/hours-of-fun-for-the-whole-family offerings here. The VA system is one TOUGH MANAGEMENT CHALLENGE, with complex, system-wide changes – conversion from a hospital to a health care delivery system– very much still a work in progress. And the outlook is for a very competitive bid field.

The enormity of the VA enterprise can be seen in the following figures: Enrollees — 9.1 Million. Patients Treated — 6.6 Million. Outpatient Visits — 92.4 Million.
Outpatient Surgeries — 312,000. Inpatient Admissions — 707,400. Lab Tests — 272.7 Million. Prescriptions Dispensed — 271.4 Million. Prosthetics Services Performed — 17.6 Million. (FY 2014 Figures)

And the VISN (Veterans Integrated Service Network) system, now being implemented, is comprised of the following:

• 167 Medical Centers
• 1,018 Outpatient Services Sites:
• 186 Multi-Specialty Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs)
• 562 Primary Care CBOCs
• 256 Other Outpatient Services Sites
• 300 Vet Centers
• 70 Mobile Vet Centers
• 114 Mental Health RRTP Programs
• 134 Community Living Center Programs

(Source: VA Healthcare Overview Presentation August 2015)
In view of the monumental size of the R-VECTOR contract, the complexities involved, the high profile visibility of the VAH system — and especially the public’s awareness and political sensitives involved — bidders would be well served to review as much as they can of the information out there pertaining to the areas they plan to bid on.

And there is a lot that’s readily available – it’s detailed and EXTREMELY applicable to all six contract areas.

For Example:
VA IG Reports to Congress ( http://www.va.gov/oig/publications/statements.asp) Recent reports include:
• “Investigating How VA Improperly Paid Millions To Incarcerated Veterans” September 27, 2016
• “Investigating VA’s Management Of Veterans’ Paper Records” June 15, 2016
• “A Continued Assessment of Delays In Veterans’ Access To Health Care” April 19, 2016
(And the site contains dozens and dozens more!)
• Commission on Care, Final Report June 30, 1016 — submission to the President, through the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, performed in accordance with the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (VACAA).

The Commission on Care Report’s recommendations included:

• Development of a national delivery system strategy, including criteria and standards for creating the VHA Care System, comprising high‐performing, integrated, community‐based health care networks.
• Development of Integrated, community‐based health care networks with local VHA leadership input and knowledge to ensure their composition is reflective of local needs and veterans’ preferences.

• Inclusion of existing VHA special‐emphasis resources (e.g., spinal cord injury (SCI), blind rehabilitation, mental health, prosthetics, etc.) in integrated, community-based health care networks…. ETC., ETC.

This independent assessment includes an examination of the hospital care, medical services, and other health care provided in VA medical facilities, and provides in-depth information concerning the following 12 specific areas:

• Demographics
• Health Care Capabilities
• Care Authorities
• Access Standards
• Workflow–Scheduling
• Workflow–Clinical
• Staffing/Productivity
• Health Information Technology
• Business Processes
• Supplies
• Facilities
• Leadership

(For a complete list of recommendations, go to pp 23 & 24 of the report, and the evaluations of the aforementioned and remedies are discussed in detail throughout the 308-page document -(http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2016/images/07/05/commission-on-care_final-report_063016_1815-3-1.pdf)

• VA Healthcare Overview – VHA August, 2015 – Particularly: Veterans Healthcare Crisis – Slide 34 (There is a wealth of relevant material in this presentation.) (https://commissiononcare.sites.usa.gov/files/2016/01/20150921 02F_VA_Health_Care_Overview_Presentation_AUG15.pdf)

Incorporating information concerning the acknowledged deficiencies and suggested remedies of the VA system, and ongoing improvement and transformational efforts, as detailed in these aforementioned, and other readily available, documents, reports and websites, etc. will help bidders submit prime time-ready proposals.
What the winners will need:

1. To build a good team
2. Pricing to win (PTW) workup
3. Application of proper risk management processes and procedures
4. Ensuring past performance write ups are properly prepared

A WIN/WIN: R-VECTOR provides SDVOSBs with a chance to make some money. It also allows them help our vets who have given so much in service to our country. This is an opportunity that’s truly unique and deserving of the best bidding efforts. Time to get started….for a Happy (and Prosperous) New Year!

OCI would be happy to address any questions you may have. Please do not hesitate to ask.

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