GSA’s Big Changes in 2020, Part 3: With GSA’s Schedule Consolidation, What Is Changing and What Is Not

Merle M. DeLancey Jr.

This is the third in a series of posts regarding the General Services Administration’s (“GSA”) consolidation of its federal supply schedules into one schedule contract. Our prior posts addressed GSA’s consolidation process in general and its use of Category Management in constructing the consolidated schedule. Here, we answer common industry questions regarding what is and is not changing as a result of schedule consolidation. Continue reading “GSA’s Big Changes in 2020, Part 3: With GSA’s Schedule Consolidation, What Is Changing and What Is Not”

GSA’s Big Changes in 2020, Part 2: Category Management and the New Consolidated Schedule

Merle M. DeLancey Jr.

This is the second in a series of blogs regarding the General Services Administration’s (“GSA”) Multiple Award Schedule consolidation. Previously, we addressed GSA’s three phases of consolidation. In this post, we focus on certain fundamental, structural changes to the consolidated schedule made during Phase I.

Category Management Comes to the GSA Federal Supply Schedule Program

Generally speaking, GSA’s restructuring can be labeled Category Management. Over the last year, the GSA Category Management Leadership Council and the Office of Management and Budget developed a government-wide category structure to support category management implementation across the federal government.

For years, there has been an increase in Special Item Numbers (“SINs”) under the 24 schedules. Schedules and SINs often overlapped. GSA preferred the overlap as opposed to having gaps in product and services offerings. The overlap, however, led to agency and Federal Supply Schedule (“FSS”) contract-holder confusion. And, as a result, contractors made sure to have their products and services listed under all potentially applicable schedules and SINs. This caused increased administrative work for all involved and less efficient agency purchasing as contracting officers sought to make sure contracting opportunities captured all potential vendors. Continue reading “GSA’s Big Changes in 2020, Part 2: Category Management and the New Consolidated Schedule”

GSA’s Big Changes in 2020, Part 1: Federal Supply Schedules Consolidation

Merle M. DeLancey Jr.

2020 may prove to be one of the most active years for federal contractors holding General Services Administration (“GSA”) Federal Supply Schedule (“FSS”) contracts and certain federal contractor registration requirements managed by GSA. This post is the first of a series on GSA’s changes and addresses GSA’s most publicized action—the consolidation of its federal supply schedules into one schedule.

As promised, in October 2019, GSA released a solicitation that consolidated the solicitations for its 24 federal supply schedules into one solicitation to obtain an FSS contract. GSA’s consolidation involves three Phases. Continue reading “GSA’s Big Changes in 2020, Part 1: Federal Supply Schedules Consolidation”

Real Estate Financing in the Healthcare Space: Keep Your Eye on the Ball

Merle M. DeLancey Jr. and Ryan C. Craig*

Over the past couple of months, there have been two important developments that could affect a lender’s decision whether to finance real estate transactions involving entities and individuals in the healthcare field.

Advisory Opinion No. 19-05 (Purchasing Real Estate from an Excluded Party)

In September 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (“HHS OIG” or “OIG”) issued an advisory opinion regarding the proposed purchase of real estate from a company owned and managed, in part, by an excluded individual. The Proposed Arrangement involved a community health center that receives Federal grant funding and owns and operates community health centers enrolled in the Medicare program (“Health Center”). The Health Center sought to purchase the real estate on which one of its community health centers is located. The Company from which the Health Center sought to purchase the property is owned and managed, in part, by an individual who was excluded from participation in all Federal healthcare programs by HHS OIG (“Excluded Person”). Continue reading “Real Estate Financing in the Healthcare Space: Keep Your Eye on the Ball”

Defense Health Agency and Defense Logistics Agency Memorandum of Agreement: A Good First Step, but What about Coordination with the Department of Veterans Affairs?

Merle M. DeLancey Jr.

On August 15, 2019, the Defense Health Agency (“DHA”) and Defense Logistics Agency (“DLA”) agreed upon a joint approach to healthcare logistics. Under the Memorandum of Agreement (“MOA”), DLA will be responsible for materiel acquisitions, while DHA will take the lead on medical services acquisitions. The MOA clarifies the agencies’ complementary roles and responsibilities and avoids duplication of effort. The MOA covers all aspects of medical logistics support provided by DLA to DHA, and DHA’s consideration for that support in performance areas including pharmaceuticals, medical-surgical supplies, healthcare technology equipment, cataloging, and Class VIII surge and sustainment materiel required by the services to meet the demands of the national military support strategy.

The uninformed might question the need for DHA and DLA to formally enter into a MOA. After all, DHA and DLA are both under the Department of Defense (‘DoD”) umbrella. Why is an agreement required to coordinate the two agencies’ efforts? Why wasn’t such coordination and avoidance of duplication of effort simply ordered by DoD senior command? Good questions perhaps, but the MOA was necessary to ensure the agencies stay in their respective lanes. Continue reading “Defense Health Agency and Defense Logistics Agency Memorandum of Agreement: A Good First Step, but What about Coordination with the Department of Veterans Affairs?”

Will HHS’s Safe Importation Action Plan Affect How the Federal Government Purchases Drugs?

Merle M. DeLancey Jr.

On July 31, the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) and the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) announced their latest plan to reduce the prices Americans pay for prescription drugs. The Safe Importation Action Plan identifies two pathways for the importation of drugs.

Pathway 1 allows states, wholesalers, and pharmacists to submit plans to HHS for demonstration projects, which test and measure the effect of potential program changes, that allow for the importation of certain drugs from Canada. Importing drugs from Canada is not a new concept. In 2003, Congress gave the Secretary of HHS the authority to permit drug importation from Canada. To implement a drug importation plan, however, the Secretary was required to certify to Congress that the importation program poses “no additional risk to public health and safety” and the program will result in a “significant” reduction in costs of products to American consumers. No HHS Secretary has ever made such a certification to Congress. Implementation of importation plans under Pathway 1 will most likely take considerable time. HHS intends to implement Pathway 1 through a formal Rulemaking process with Notice and Comment. Then, importation plans will need HHS approval before going “live.” Continue reading “Will HHS’s Safe Importation Action Plan Affect How the Federal Government Purchases Drugs?”

Agency Protests: An Emerging Tool and Potential Threat for Contractors

Merle M. DeLancey Jr. and Michael Joseph Montalbano

In May 2018, the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) implemented a $350 filing fee for bid protests. There are differences of opinion regarding why GAO implemented the fee. GAO publicly states that the fee was implemented to cover the costs of its new Electronic Protest Docket System (“EPDS”). Many, however, believe the fee was implemented to deter the filing of frivolous protests. Regardless, there “may” be an unintended consequence of the protest filing fee—an increase in agency-level protests. Recently, several agency contracting officers have stated that they are handling more agency protests, and, in their opinion, it is a direct result of GAO’s protest filing fee. As a result, contractors should understand and be prepared to mitigate the risk of agency protests to protect their contracts and position themselves for new ones.

Pros and Cons of Agency Protests Continue reading “Agency Protests: An Emerging Tool and Potential Threat for Contractors”