PSC Calls for Extending SAMHSA Contract Timelines 
Extension Would Help Surge Critical Private Sector Support to SAMHSA Amidst Pandemic

Arlington, Va. (March 31, 2021) In a letter sent on March 22, 2021, to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Acting Assistant Secretary Tom Coderre, the Professional Services Council (PSC) calls on the agency to implement a three-year extension of the existing SAMHSA Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract vehicle, currently set to expire in 2022. An extension would allow the agency to deploy previously vetted, skilled government contractors to help it respond to growing demands in addressing substance abuse and fostering mental health. 

“There is no shortage of work needed to combat America’s substance abuse and mental health crises, which have been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. The SAMHSA IDIQ is an essential, yet underutilized, tool in SAMHSA’s toolbox for helping people and ultimately saving lives,” said PSC President and CEO David Berteau. “Extending and increasing the use of this IDIQ would free up significant government time and resources and give SAMHSA rapid, timely access to private sector partners. America needs an all hands-on deck approach.” 

Competed in 2017, when the opioid crisis was first declared a national public health emergency, the five-year SAMHSA IDIQ was awarded to 180 large and small companies who could then respond to the agency’s quick turnaround task order requirements across six different domains.  These awards have a total contract ceiling value of $1.2 billion over the IDIQ’s five-year term.  Previous IDIQ vehicles proved to have been important tools for supporting the agency’s critical ongoing and emergent program implementation and evaluation initiatives. However, the current contract vehicle has been largely inactive, with only 12 task orders totaling $204 million having been placed since inception. 
Even that limited use has been curtailed. In 2018, SAMHSA contractors received stop-work orders on current contracts and notices of intent that future contract option years would not be exercised. Some grants expressly prohibited SAMHSA IDIQ companies from even competing at all. Prior to those actions, contracts had supported standardization across SAMHSA grantee recipients. In addition, several national assessments and reports that evaluation contractors performed in the past were months or years overdue, and as far as is known, never publicly released.

“PSC believes that better use of implementing partners through an extended SAMHSA IDIQ would increase response capability. PSC looks forward to working with SAMHSA to identify needed measures to strengthen the current contract structure,” said Berteau. “As the Biden administration rebuilds and re-focuses the federal workforce with an emphasis on scientific integrity, evidence-based policymaking, and diverse small business engagement, the ready resources of current IDIQ contractors are and can continue to be part of SAMHSA’s solutions and successes.”

A PDF of the release can be found here

Media Contact:
Pheniece Jones
Director, Media Relations