PSC Calls for a Pause on CIO-SP4 

Arlington, Va. (July 22, 2021) The Professional Services Council (PSC) called on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to urge the National Institutes of Health Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC) to: (1) pause the Governmentwide Acquisition Contract vehicle Chief Information Officer-Solutions and Partners 4 (CIO-SP4) Request for Proposals (RFP), as amended; (2) reassess its needs and its approach to this effort with the proper coverage for the business relationships and small business regulations; and (3) issue a final, clean amendment that allows for at least 30 days until proposals are due to ensure that interested offerors have sufficient, uninterrupted time to respond.

In a July 22, 2021, letter to HHS and NIH acquisition leadership, PSC noted that the CIO-SP4 RFP timeline and process created many burdens and unanswered questions for potential offerors. The July 19, 2021, Amendment #007 to the Final RFP for CIO-SP4 likely now requires offerors to abandon or greatly alter existing partnerships / teaming structures. These changes entail a significant administrative burden for contractors. The additional two weeks provided by the Amendment for bid submission (extending the due date from July 23 to August 3) is insufficient.

“The latest amendment has frustrated many companies of all sizes. Given ever-changing proposal requirements and shifting timelines, PSC recommends a pause of the entire CIO-SP4 RFP,” said Stephanie Kostro, PSC’s Executive Vice President for Policy. “Over the last 18 months, PSC has provided feedback to NITAAC on numerous occasions on needed clarifications of the CIO-SP4 RFP and the importance of adequate timelines for proposal submissions. The seven amendments published since late May have served to further compound industry concerns and have forced potential offerors to consider alternative strategies or decide not to bid on the CIO-SP4 opportunity at all. The additional two weeks provided by the most recent amendment for bid submission is insufficient for major overhauls of teaming arrangements. Such a brief extension reflects NITAAC’s disregard for or misunderstanding of how industry prepares teams and solutions in today’s government technology and professional services marketplace.”

In a June 28, 2021, letter to NITAAC leadership, PSC requested NITAAC review several decisions reflected in the final RFP as amended with consideration to applicable laws and regulations and to share promptly the rationale for those decisions with industry through procurement documentation.

“PSC encourages acquisition leadership from the Department of Health & Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, NITAAC, and the Small Business Administration to speak with one voice regarding what the CIO-SP4 GWAC will be, how offers will be evaluated, and how the contract will be executed,” continued Kostro. “We stand ready to support these agencies in this effort.” 

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Pheniece Jones
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