Expert Tips for Adopting Transparent Federal Contracts

Scott Honiberg and Jeffrey Weinstein, for HealthLeaders Media, October 4, 2010

In this age of increased transparency with federal business in general, and healthcare in particular, it is somewhat surprising that so much about healthcare procurement still remains unknown. Since July of this year, federal agencies have released an estimated 70 Requests for Proposal (RFPs) for a broad range of hospital, medical and related services. Many of these RFPs call for services that local providers are well-qualified to deliver, still most will go unnoticed by the local providers community.

Healthcare professionals responsible for finance, strategic planning, marketing and business development would be well-served by familiarizing themselves with the window into federal procurement. This site is the “official” Government-wide Point of Entry for virtually all of the federal governments’ contract opportunities, including those for healthcare services.

Among the hospitals and provider groups that should routinely pay particular attention to federal healthcare contracts include those that are physically close to a government installation, such as hospitals and clinics operated by the Department of Defense, the Veterans Health Administration, the Indian Health Service, or the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

These agencies typically have ongoing requirements to supplement the services they can provide “in-house”, e.g., with their own providers and in their own facilities. They frequently issue RFPs for a range of clinical services throughout their service areas that can often be performed by local providers. The scope of opportunities put up for competitive bid can range from a relatively narrow scope of services, such as, say, obstetrical services to a contract calling for a comprehensive range of hospital inpatient, outpatient and ancillary services.

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